Student NameAlexandra Nielsen
Faculty Mentor NameAndrea Lucky
CollegeCollege of Agricultural and Life Sciences
MajorEnvironmental Science
MinorWildlife Ecology and Conservation
Research InterestsInvasive species and ecology
Academic AwardsCALS Dean's List
OrganizationsOutdoor Adventure Recreation
Hobbies and InterestsHiking, weightlifting, reading, and rock climbing

Research Project

Are native or invasive ant species repopulating in areas where they had been displaced by Wasmannia auropunctata?

The invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata was first observed in the Field and Fork Garden in Summer 2018. Targeted eradication of this population of W. auropunctata began in Fall 2018. The aim of the project is to survey treated areas in the garden to determine how the composition of the ant community has changed after the W. auropunctata eradication efforts. Prior to eradication attempts, data was collected in the garden by performing leaf litter sampling and baiting; this data will be used to compare community composition before and after eradication. Additionally other sites on UF’s campus will be surveyed in order to elucidate similarities between the post eradication community composition and the composition of less disturbed sites with more intact native communities. Determining whether native ants can repopulate an area after eradication of an invasive is important in order to predict if the area will be re-invaded, as more intact communities are more resilient to invasion.