Re ECF Project: ECF 2015-32

Project Title: Distribution and ecological impacts of invasive ant species on arthropod communities in Hong Kong

Applicant: Dr Benoit Guénard, The University of Hong Kong

Total Approved Grant: $500,000

Duration: 1/5/2016 to 30/4/2018

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

Biological invasions represent a major threat to biodiversity and human activities. However, in Hong Kong, as for most of Asia, biological invasions are often under-considered and understudied. Invasive ants in particular are identified as some of the most environmentally and economically damaging invaders. In Hong Kong, several exotic and invasive ant species have been reported but their actual number and ecological impacts are unknown. This project proposes to carry out a survey to establish distribution maps of non-native species in Hong Kong around and within several Country Parks. Secondly, based on previous results, the ecological impacts of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) and the Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) on native ant communities will be studied. Finally, the project will propose an experiment to evaluate the ecological impacts of S. invicta on decomposition processes and on the decomposer guild of arthropods. This project will provide a better understanding of the threats on the native fauna in Hong Kong from non-native ant species introduction and will help for the management of their populations.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
To be available upon completion of the project