This summer, REU student Jill Gall put together a large collection of ants from prairie remnants in Minnesota. Yesterday, Stuart and I headed over to Lakeforest College to seek the advice of resident ant ecologist Sean Menke. Jill left us with two boxes of ants, which she pinned and identified to genus and separated into morphotypes:
Sean was impressed with her identification skills: she was correct in nearly every identification to genus and many of her morphotypes were consistent. He gave us some tips on what traits to look for when identifying ants. Now we have a plan for going through the rest of the collection. This will allow us to compare the species diversity of ants among prairie remnants, and hopefully pave the way for future ant research in the lab.