Ants in restored grasslands

Bill D Wills
Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
Bill Wills is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Michigan State University in the Entomology Department. His research explores the ecology of ants within natural and agricultural landscapes. He is currently exploring the role of ants as predators and ecosystem engineers. This research is conducted as a part of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Doug Landis Department of Entomology, Michigan State University

Changes in land-use can directly and indirectly alter an ecosystems services by impacting insect abundance and diversity. Ants are an often overlooked insect group despite being among the most diverse and successful organisms in terrestrial ecosystems. Their abundance, diversity, and biomass make them important consumers and ecosystems engineers. They can modify, maintain, or create habitats for other organisms and alter the availability of resources through changes in soil conditions. To improve our understanding of how ant communities impact ecosystem services, we sampled ant communities across 20 restoration sites in southwestern Michigan. With these sites we can being to address how land-use history, management history, soil quality, and plant diversity impact ant communities and how these changes impact biocontrol within grasslands. Given increasing changes in land-use and management of grasslands for both conservation and biomass production, improving our understanding of the role of ants in temperate grasslands is critical.

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