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The Ant Room

Kari Teruya Ryder Wilkie (GRS’08) identifies ants in Ecuador.

Kari Teruya Ryder Wilkie (GRS’08), a doctoral student in biology, hosts a blog that tracks her daily progress in the identification of the ant fauna of Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador.

“Ants are among the most abundant, diverse, and ecologically dominant groups of animals in the world,” Wilkie writes, “yet they have rarely been the focus of intensive biotic inventories. Because of their significance in community dynamics and ecosystem processes, a better understanding of their diversity would greatly enhance our grasp of the biogeography, organization, and dynamics of tropical communities.”

Wilkie has been blogging for more than a year and has collected more than 100,000 individual ants, which she is in the process of identifying. Her collection methods include pitfall traps, baiting, hand-collecting, subterranean probes, and canopy fogging. Her goal is to complete the first systematic survey of the ant fauna of Amazonian Ecuador, including ants occupying traditionally sampled habitats such as forest canopy and litter, as well as the previously ignored subsurface strata.

To read more, visit the Ant Room site at www.theantroom.blogspot.com.

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