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Ant Ecology$
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Lori Lach, Catherine Parr, and Kirsti Abbott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199544639

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544639.001.0001

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Synthesis and Perspectives

Synthesis and Perspectives

(p.305) Synthesis and Perspectives
Ant Ecology

Lori Lach

Catherine L. Parr

Kirsti L. Abbott

Oxford University Press

With their diverse morphological specializations, extensive behavioural repertoire, and ability to inhabit a variety of environments, ants are model organisms for testing ecological theory and studying evolutionary processes. Their study has contributed and will continue to contribute to our understanding of ecology more broadly. Future research on bottom‐up and top‐down forces affecting ant assemblages, trade‐offs in life history strategies, and the underpinnings of colony structure will undoubtedly advance our understanding of the ecological success of ants. Research on ants will further be facilitated by the resolution of taxonomic uncertainty, integration of taxonomy with robust phylogenies, more attention on hypogaeic, arboreal, and otherwise cryptic species, sharing of information, development of new tools, and discovery of new applications and their communication to the broader society. Climate change, biological invasions, and the landscape changes associated with increased human populations present new challenges and opportunities for understanding ants and their ecology.

Keywords:   model organism, ants, ecology, ecological success, bottom‐up, top‐down, trade‐offs, taxonomy, climate change, biological invasions

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