If we want to know the biodiversity of any ecosystem we need to find, eventually capture, and identify the different species we found. The ants are present in all terrestrial ecosystems and are considered as ecosystem engineers. To know the ecosystem biodiversity requires the identification of all present species in the ecosystem. In this workshop, the ants will be the focus of the observations and activities.
It is an interactive workshop in which the student manipulates with the appropriate tools small arthropods to make dry samples and their identification.
First, the different techniques of catching small terrestrial arthropods are considered. Then, we will try to catch some individuals of the ant species that are typically found at the university campus. We will also offer to the student individuals already captured and fixed in alcohol.
The student will have two worker ants of two different species and of different size. It is explained how to prepare the dry samples of these individuals with the help of soft forceps, entomological needles, minutiae of cardboard, arabic gum and stereoscopic microscope.
Once the dry sample is ready, the student identifies the species with the help of a specific key of the most common ant species of the city of Girona and the Montilivi campus. They detect and identify the anatomical characters of these insects to advance along the key. Upon identification, the student makes the catch and identification tags that will be added to the samples.
Those developed by the Research Group on Ecological Disturbances and Terrestrial Animal Communities (GR-PECAT):
Study of the impact of various disturbances (climate change, land use change, wildfires, biological invasions, …) in terrestrial ecosystems focusing the observations on ants and birds.