Confirmation Of Candidature
Ants as little things that run the world: ecological responses to removal of a dominant faunal group in an Australian tropical savanna
You are invited to join us this Monday 2 November at 11.00am for an enthralling Confirmation of Candidature.
Candidate: Sarah Bonney
- Alan Andersen (CSIRO),
- Ben Hoffmann (CSIRO)
- Keith McGuiness (CDU))
Although ants are widely regarded as playing crucial roles in ecosystems, there have been few experimental studies that have documented the depth and breadth of their influence on ecosystem processes. This includes an understanding of any compensatory responses from other taxa that might occur. Ant communities are typically comprised of a small number of highly abundant species that dominate ant biomass, and therefore can be expected to perform most of the ant-mediated ecosystem functions. Ant communities also include variable numbers of behaviourally submissive species, and it is unclear if these have the capacity to compensate for the loss of dominant species. This issue is most effectively addressed through the experimental removal of numerically dominant ants.
Combining her love of research and ants, Sarah's honours project looked at the effects of an invasive grass, Cenchrus ciliaris, on ant communities in Alice springs. This Sarah to Darwin and the CSIRO ant lab, where she worked as a technician on a number of exciting research projects.