Plant-animal interactions have become a focus of ecological research, with the processes of herbivory being of special interest. This volume examines the interactions of leaf-cutting ants with the rainforest vegetation on Barro Colorado Islands in Central America. It is the synthesis of field research on multiple scales extending over a period of several years. This work can serve as a model study summarizing and extending knowledge about herbivorous insect-plant relationships, and the resulting consequences on structural and functional features of tropical ecosystems. The text is an invaluable reference for researchers and land managers working in the fields of plant-animal interactions, herbivory, community ecology and biodiversity.
About this Book.- The Natural History of Leaf-Cutting Ants.- The Study Area - Barro Colorado Island.- Species Composition of the Forest.- Forest Light Regimes.- Canopy Structure of the Forest.- Colony Dynamics.- Harvest Dynamics.- The Trail System.- Host Plant Selection.- Herbivory Rates.- Herbivory and Light.- Seed Dispersal by Leaf-Cutting Ants.- Nutrient Cycling and Water Relations.- Conclusions: Ecosystem Perspectives.- References.- Subject Index.