U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Ag Data Commons migration begins October 18, 2023

The Ag Data Commons is migrating to a new platform – an institutional portal on Figshare. Starting October 18 the current system will be available for search and download only. Submissions will resume after the launch of our portal on Figshare in November. Stay tuned for details!

Other Access

The information on this page (the dataset metadata) is also available in these formats:


via the DKAN API

Data Extent

Data from: Effects of solar energy development on ants in the Mojave Desert

Data files for manuscript titled "Effects of solar energy development on ants in the Mojave Desert".

Excel file with 4 tabs: Metadata; Abundance, Richness, Shannon; Community Composition; and Functional Traits. Metadata is contained within Excel file that describes all variables for each tab.

Abstract from paper:
Land-use change from solar energy development may affect desert ecosystems and the soils, plants, and animals therein, yet our understanding of these interactions is nascent. With their ubiquity, criticality as ecosystem constituents, and sensitivity to environmental variation, ants may be useful study organisms for elucidating ecological effects of solar energy development in deserts. Our objectives were to disentangle the response of a desert ant community to solar energy development decisions and test the efficacy of ants as bioindicators at Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS, 392 MW) in the Mojave Desert, USA. We used pitfall traps to collect ants in treatments representing different solar energy development decisions, including variably intense site preparation practices: blading (i.e., bulldozing) and mowing, and establishment of undeveloped patches in solar fields replicated across three power blocks comprising ISEGS and in undeveloped control sites surrounding ISEGS. We determined that ant abundance, species richness, Shannon Diversity Index, and functional richness was lower in bladed treatments than in all other treatments and controls. For most taxonomic and functional ant responses, we detected no difference between non-bladed treatments and controls; these results suggest that less intensive site preparation and increased spatial heterogeneity (i.e., undeveloped patches in solar fields) reduce negative effects of solar energy development on desert ants. However, our results suggest that ants may serve as useful bioindicators of the severity of anthropogenic disturbance from solar energy development in deserts, and indicator analysis signifies that solar energy infrastructure may negatively affect some species with high ecological value (e.g., harvester ants). Negative effects of solar energy development on ants can have significant implications for desert ecosystem function and integrity, but conservation-minded solar facility design and construction may lead to avoidance of “bottom-up” ecological ramifications of increased solar production during the renewable energy transition.

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POINT (-115.470714 35.55653)
Ag Data Commons
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Ivanpah Solar Power Facility
Temporal Coverage
April 5, 2018 to May 5, 2018
Contact Name
Roeder, Karl
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:040 - Department of Agriculture - National Research
Bureau Code
005:18 - Agricultural Research Service