Research questions

We do experimental natural history: we design manipulations to solve puzzles about how animals live in nature.

In one project, we are trying to understand how and why thieving ants steal from one another so darn much. In other, we are working to understand why gypsy ants keep empty nests in their territory and keep moving back and forth among them. We also want to know how bullet ants rule the rainforest canopy, and how minuscule differences in the structure of leaf litter affect which ants and how the rainforest works as a whole, particularly as things get hotter and less predictable.

We have started to work on the ecology of insects in our cities, for a window into the climate of the near future and also because cities may preserve animals that are losing their homes to habitat conversion and climate change.

It’s a complex world and we only understand small fragments of it. Rob Dunn put it best: “mystery still lurks around ordinary corners.”

Current collaborators
Christie Bahlai (Kent State University)
Brian Brown and the BIOSCAN team (Natural History Museum of LA County)
Walter Carson (University of Pittsburgh)
Dan Charbonneau (University of Pennsylvania)
Ben Hoffmann (CSIRO)
Jennifer Jandt (University of Otago)
Emily Meinecke (Harvard Herbarium)
James Waters (Providence College)
UA-3161643-1