The Effects of Burning on Ants in the Francis Marion National Forest
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In Francis Marion National Forest, fire regimes combat the invasion of loblolly pine and preserve the longleaf pine ecosystem. However, this treatment affects other organisms in the forest. Ants range in their ability to withstand hot, xeric conditions; therefore, forest fire management may influence which species can survive. Samples were taken at four different soil types in corresponding maintained and unmaintained plots of the forest. The arthropods collected were sorted to morphospecies and the ants identified to genus or species. The predominant species in both treatments was Nylanderia parvula. ANOVAs comparing the number of ants sampled or diversity indices between treatments showed no significant differences. However, collections were made using Winkler funnels for extraction and recent research has indicated that pitfall traps may be a more appropriate sampling technique in temperate areas. Further experimentation using this method may illustrate how fire adapted genera like Solenopsis are affected by fire maintenance.