Because ants are everywhere, University of New England’s Dr Kirsti Abbott and her colleagues are taking the School of Ants on the road! They want Australians everywhere to know more about ants and have the opportunity to help scientists collect information on their diversity, distribution and diet.
The School of Ants will be visiting 14 schools across Australia and inviting students, teachers and their families to participate in real research. Starting in western NSW, the School of Ants will then move on to the Fraser Island coast before heading up to Longreach, Cairns & Cape York, crossing over through Mt Isa to Alice Springs, north to Darwin, west around Western Australia, then across the bottom through Port Augusta and schools in regional Victoria.
Among those the School of Ants will visit in the coming months are Indigenous communities in Central Australia, Far North Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Western Australian outback.
The School of Ants aims to share knowledge about ants so that more people appreciate their important role in our ecosystems, culture and society. During the national School of Ants tour, Kirsti and her team will also collect data for their current research project as they do some great science with community members who will have the chance to peer down microscopes, make ant t-shirts and play at being ants in some challenging games based around the social structure and altruism of ants.
All are welcome to join the national School of Ants effort by registering to conduct monthly and/or one-off ant collections. Find out more at the School of Ants website.