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Open Access Thesis
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.
Aaron M Ellison
Paul R Sievert
Barber, Grace W., "Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Assemblages in Three New York Pine Barrens and the Impacts of Hiking Trails" (2015). Masters Theses. 137.