Ants vs. Rats in NYC

Last year I got to take my first trip to New York City and spent most of my time in the medians of Broadway setting up field experiments with Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt and Dr. Amy Savage. Fast forward to this week when the paper resulting from their research is published:

Youngsteadt, E., Henderson, R. C., Savage, A. M., Ernst, A. F., Dunn, R. R. and Frank, S. D. (2014), Habitat and species identity, not diversity, predict the extent of refuse consumption by urban arthropods. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12791

Over at the EcoIPM blog, Elsa gives you the lowdown on the role arthropods, particularly ants, play in removing urban food waste (read: hot dogs, cookies, potato chips). Below, check out the brief video Amy produced explaining why urban food waste is such a big deal in the first place:

Read more about the study in this press round-up:

And we note that this week’s new paper comes on the heels of another recently published research paper by Amy, Elsa and colleagues about ant biodiversity in Manhattan:

Savage, A. M., Hackett, B., Guénard, B., Youngsteadt, E. K., Dunn, R. R. (2014), Fine-scale heterogeneity across Manhattan’s urban habitat mosaic is associated with variation in ant composition and richness. Insect Conservation and Diversity. doi: 10.1111/icad.12098

They report — based on field collections of ants from the street medians and parks of Manhattan over a two year period (2011-2012) — that at least 42 species of ants call the Big Apple home. Read more about the finding of this study:


By |2016-11-22T13:46:53-05:00December 3rd, 2014|

About the Author:

Lea Shell is an entomologist and educator who devotes her time convincing others just how wonderfully important insects and microbes are to our lives. She enjoys playing with slime mold, ants, GPS units, climate loggers and interviewing scientists about their middle school experiences.

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