Invasive fire ants get a helping hand from little sugary friends

19 October 2012

Presented by Dr Shawn Wilder, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Sydney

Mutualisms strongly influence the structure and function of ecosystems. Recent evidence also suggests that mutualisms may contribute to the success of introduced species. In a series of laboratory and field experiments spanning two continents, I tested the role of mutualist-provided carbohydrates for the success of introduced populations of red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, in the USA. My results show that fire ants have greater access to mutualisms in their introduced range, that mutualist-provided carbohydrates are valuable resources for colony growth, and that monopolization of mutualisms by fire ants may have negative effects on native ants.

Time: 1-2pm

Location: DT Anderson Lecture Theatre, A08