2007-2008 Meetings

October 2007

13 November 2007

Amy Mertl, PhD candidate at Boston University, spoke on the impact of disturbances on ant species richness.

Amy's main research interest is in understanding the structure of ecological communities in terms of biodiversity and species interactions. Currently she is studying the ecology, behavior, and social organization of neo-tropical ants in the genus Pheidole in Amazonian Ecuador. These ants live in the leaf litter of tropical forests that periodically flood. Her study examines the impact of disturbances on ant species richness. Floodplain forest habitats may have significant conservation value as a refuge for rare species.

More information on Amy's work and a taxonomic key to the Pheidole of Amazonian Ecuador, is available here.


Twenty five or so chemical elements, from Boron to Zinc, are required to build an organism. The abundance of both elements and organisms vary in interesting ways as you move from place to place across the planet. In this talk, I suggest that the answer to the question, "How and why does the abundance of organisms vary from tundra to tropical rainforest?" may lie in the mismatch between what the organisms need and what the ecosystem can provide. Our focus will be on the common soil invertebrates--ants, springtails, mites, and millipedes--some of the little things that run the world.

meetings   2006-07

Jonathan A Rees