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?
Shh! We have a little secret in Arizona, which is we have more than 300 different species of ants. When you realize there are roughly 1000 species in North America, that becomes pretty impressive. Want to find out more about them? Check out the Ants of the Southwest class to be held this summer at the Southwestern Research Station in Portal, Arizona.
Course description (from the announcement):
“Although we will cover basic taxonomy and systematics, the major focus of this course will be on the ecology and behavior of ants. Specifically…:
Assessing ant biodiversity, including collection and data analysis
Field ecology of southwestern ants
Methods for keeping and studying ant colonies in the lab
Collective behavior and communication in ants
Taxonomy and systematics, with the creation of a collection by each student
Techniques for photographing ants and other small subjects”
When: July 27 to August 5, 2014
Cost: You cover your own transportation costs. Tuition is $ 1300 (includes room and board).
If you are interested, you will need to fill out the application form at the course websiteby May 26, 2014. If accepted, a letter will be sent out within two weeks of application. Fees are due by June 16, 2014.
If you chose to, leave a comment if you decide to go.