Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.



Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Ants are ecologically important, environmentally sensitive, widespread, and abundant, yet ant assemblages of many habitats remain poorly understood. Ants in inland barrens of New York State (NY) barely have been studied, but the limited data suggest such habitats are likely to support uncommon ant species and high species density for the region. To increase knowledge of these assemblages, I systematically collected ants from three inland barrens systems in NY, to create species lists and measure species density. I also investigated how hiking trails — a common man-made disturbance — may be impacting ant assemblages in these early-successional, disturbance-dependent ecosystems. My data strongly indicate uncommonly high densities of ant species in NY pine barrens, including the most northern known occurrences of some species, and show that ant assemblage composition and species density are altered on hiking trails relative to managed barrens habitat bordering the trails. I conclude that monitoring ants on hiking trails could provide valuable information, particularly on disturbance-tolerant species, and an opportunity for visitor participation and citizen science programs that could detect additional rare species.


First Advisor

Aaron M Ellison

Second Advisor

Paul R Sievert