Black tyrant ants on a hakea branch. Photo: Glenda Wardle
Original Published Date: 
Friday, August 9, 2019

Full article issued by The University of Sydney.

A long-term ARC-supported study led by The University of Sydney’s Desert Ecology Research Group (DERG), and in collaboration with La Trobe University, has found that changes in climate in the Simpson Desert, such as increased rainfall, may have led to an increased number of ants and increased activity in ant communities.

The researchers say that their study is one of the world's longest-running to look at desert invertebrates, and describes for the first time the dynamics and astonishing diversity of the 106 ant species in the remote study area.

“Ants may be small, but the way they respond to resource pulses in arid Australia tells a big story,” says Professor Glenda Wardle, an ARC grant recipient and Professor of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Sydney.

Over the 22-year period of the study, ant communities showed changes in composition, but did not suffer the devastating declines in numbers that are occurring with insects in many other parts of the world. Long-term ecological studies are crucial to tracking the health of ecosystems.  A short video about the research has been uploaded to YouTube.

Video credit: The University of Sydney

Photo credit: 

Black tyrant ants on a hakea branch. Photo: Glenda Wardle.