Traits underlying the capacity of ant colonies to adapt to disturbance and stress regimes

Timothy A. Linksvayer, Marcus Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


How do groups of social agents organize themselves to cope with stress and disturbances? We address this question by looking at ant colonies. We review the suites of traits that allow ant species to adapt to different disturbance and stress regimes, and changes in these regimes. Low temperatures and low nest site and food resource availability are important stresses that affect ant abundance and distribution. Large-scale habitat disturbances, such as fire, grazing and mining, and small-scale disturbances that more directly affect individual colonies, such as predation, parasitism and disease, also affect ant abundance and distribution. We use functional groups to study the social and individual traits underlying different responses to temperature stress, large-scale habitat disturbance and competition from other ants. Specific individual and colony traits, such as colony size, queen number and worker specialization, seem to underlie adaptation to various stress and disturbance regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-329
Number of pages15
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • Adaptive capacity
  • Ants
  • Disturbance
  • Functional groups
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Traits underlying the capacity of ant colonies to adapt to disturbance and stress regimes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this