Summer is upon us and I am really exciting about the research that I will be doing in just a few short weeks. One of my goals, really wishes, when I was applying for graduate school was to try and understand where and why ant species are distributed across different habitats. Last year, I got my first taste of that type of work when I helped out a NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) funded project that is resampling a number of sites across North America that my adviser, Dr. Michael Kaspari, surveyed 20 years prior. We are taking on the eastern part of the United States this year and in addition to looking at temporal changes in diversity, we will be measuring a variety of traits like thermal tolerance and isotope values to see how species differ. I will try to update this website with some pictures of our adventures every week or so while I am gone.
To finish off the summer, we will be headed to Portland, Oregon for the Annual Ecological Society of America meeting in August. There, I will be presenting my second dissertation chapter about trait variation and competition between native and invasive ant species from the University of Oklahoma Biological Station. Until then, back to editing manuscripts and writing grants!
*Photo by Alex Wild. Check out his website for awesome photos of ants and many other cool critters!