PELINI ANT RESEARCH PROVIDES LONG-TERM LOOK AT EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
The world of forest ants may provide a macrocosm of the complex reactions and interactions among species affected by global climate change, according to a research project involving BGSU biologist Dr. Shannon Pelini.
As escalating amounts of carbon dioxide are introduced into the atmosphere, a chain reaction is induced, leading to increasingly warmer temperatures, Pelini said. This is taking place at an alarming rate, making it more important than ever that we understand how climate change will affect our natural world.
Ant chambers at the Harvard Forest
Many scientists have attempted to tackle this issue by determining the thermal tolerance of various species, then predicting what will happen to them as our world warms. However, this approach as a way to understand nature has its drawbacks because one species never acts alone. Individuals are constantly interacting with other species and the environment in which they live, so comprehending how global change impacts these interactions is crucial to a holistic understanding.
Pelini and her colleagues have made significant progress in this direction with their new study, “Climatic Warming Destabilizes Forest Ant Communities,” which looks at complex interactions of ant communities and their responses to warming. The study was published in the Oct. 26 edition of the journal Science Advances, and has received wide attention in other publications, including Harvard Forest, Phys/Org and Science News.