Event Title

The Effects of Light on Ant-Aphid Mutualisms

Presenter Information

Annika Nelson, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, A155

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-24-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 2:30 PM

Abstract

Ants frequently form mutualisms with herbivorous insects, protecting them from predators in exchange for food. The occurrence of ant mutualisms depends upon a variety of biotic and abiotic factors. The mechanisms driving the context-dependency of ant mutualisms are largely unknown, however. At the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in summer 2014, I investigated why an ant-aphid mutualism occurred in the sun but not in the shade. I determined that aphids likely produce fewer resources to attract ants in the shade, although light does not directly affect ant foraging. Future research should continue to evaluate why ant mutualisms are context-dependent as well as how they impact broader communities.

Notes

Session 1, Panel 2 - Cellular Expression: Studies in Mutation, Digestion, and Mutualism
Moderator: Taylor Allen, Associate Professor of Biology

Major

Biology

Advisor(s)

Mary Garvin, Biology

Project Mentor(s)

Kailen Mooney, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Irvine

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Apr 24th, 1:30 PM Apr 24th, 2:30 PM

The Effects of Light on Ant-Aphid Mutualisms

Science Center, A155

Ants frequently form mutualisms with herbivorous insects, protecting them from predators in exchange for food. The occurrence of ant mutualisms depends upon a variety of biotic and abiotic factors. The mechanisms driving the context-dependency of ant mutualisms are largely unknown, however. At the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in summer 2014, I investigated why an ant-aphid mutualism occurred in the sun but not in the shade. I determined that aphids likely produce fewer resources to attract ants in the shade, although light does not directly affect ant foraging. Future research should continue to evaluate why ant mutualisms are context-dependent as well as how they impact broader communities.