This class is a golden opportunity because Arizona is a fantastic place to study ants, largely due to the unique and diverse habitats found here. In addition honeypot ants like the one in the photograph, we have more than 350 different species.
What does the course cover? Among other things, students will be given the opportunity to study behavior and communication in ants, learn how to keep ant colonies in the laboratory, make an ant reference collection, and learn some photography techniques.
Cost: Tuition is $1206 (includes room and board).
If you are interested, you will need to fill out the application form at the course websiteby July 1, 2017.
Note: Another ant class, the California Academy of Sciences Ant Course, is not being held this year.
Have you taken this course? Leave us a comment to let us know about your experiences.
You can get a taste of what you missed with three videos in a playlist. The first video gives an overview of the course and the site, the second shows some cool interactions between army ants and their prey, and the third shows field researchers a mark-recapture method for estimating numbers of foragers in a given colony.
Next year the Ant Course is off to Mozambique (more about that in an upcoming post). Hopefully it will be back in Arizona soon.
In case you were wondering, Portal is in southeastern Arizona on the east side of the gorgeous Chiricahua Mountains. Although it may seem like a hot, barren desert, Arizona is actually a fantastic place to study ants, with some 350+ species found here. We have honeypots, harvesters, leafcutters, and army ants, as well as bigheaded ants. etc.
Sponsored by California Academy of Sciences and Museum of Comparative Zoology (with funding from National Science Foundation), the Ant Course is intended to help individuals learn about ant field collection techniques and identification (they promise to genus).
To get you in the mood, here's what happened when the course was offered in Arizona in 2011:
(Scary, isn't it?)
Although the course is open to everyone, enrollment is limited to 30 people and priority will be given to students doing research. Check the Ant Course website for details and costs, as well as links to the application.
Deadline for applications: April 1, 2015
This just might be my year to give it a try. What about you?