Class of 2024
- "Ant Biomass and biodiversity in environments with native plants and invasive plants" with mentor Erich (Working project)
Ant Biomass and biodiversity in environments with native plants and invasive plants
Started July 12, 2023
Abstract or project description
Native biodiversity and interactions between species promote ecosystem resilience. Ants are a prime example of an organism that has many of these interspecies interactions, including seed dispersal, pollination, and plant protection. This makes ants integral to the reproduction strategy of many different plants, including many native species. Thus, ants are a keystone species and are important to study so we can understand how they support different ecosystems. Invasive plants lack interspecies interactions with ants, so in order to find if interspecies interactions (and not just plants) are what attracts ants, we utilized pitfall traps to collect ants in environments with native and invasive plants. I predict that ant population will be concentrated in locations with high native plant diversity, as opposed to high invasive plant diversity. If this is correct, then we can conclude that the interspecies interactions between native plants and ants is what attracts ants. So, interspecies interactions increase ant biomass and biodiversity.