In their third week, the Warm Ants Triumvirate has dived into both the long term “Warm Ants” project and individual projects with a burning desire to elucidate the effects of climate change on ants. Each member is responsible for helping with the long term “Warm Ants” experiment which involves a monthly 24 hour baiting study and monthly pitfall trapping. In addition, each is responsible for his or her individual project involving ant nests, mutualism, and thermal tolerance.
Daily tasks have varied from spending time in the lab identifying ants, sorting pitfall collections from previous months, and collecting ants in the field.
Margaurete’s work on mutualism between ants and other insects is just getting started. From collecting butterflies in the field to clipping cottonwoods for scale insects, each project has its own challenges and rewards. As for her individual project, Margaurete says, “I hope to see how the temperature change will affect the stress on plants and in turn the relationship of the scale insects and the ants. This project is still new, so I’m working on creating a good design. Overall, I’m excited to see where the project will lead this summer!”
Adam is studying the communities of ant species that live in the test plots in the
Erik has discovered the maximum temperature tolerance for five of the most common ant species in the Harvard Forest. He hopes to test many more species throughout the summer. “I believe my work will demonstrate the differing heat tolerances for ant species and sizes of ants. This will help us understand how certain ant species might respond if temperatures increase.”
Fun fact: The Warm Ants Triumvirate favors the Lady Gaga radio and Eurotrash radio stations on Pandora during epic microscope sessions in the Torrey Lab.