by Jovel Queirolo, ’14
Every great scientist in history and the Pogonomyrmex Barbatus species of ant, often referred to in my lab as Pogos, have two things in common. They have always relied heavily on their peers in their respective fields – whether that is a field of science or a field of desert grass and mesquite.
This summer, I watched and participated in collection of data about the Pogos. Every morning I woke up sometime between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. (depending on the day’s assignment) to eat a small breakfast of yogurt, granola, and coffee usually while blinking awake with my fellow field researchers. We then drove from our mountain research station about 30 minutes to watch the sunrise and arrive at the research site.
The first ants to leave the nest mound are the patrollers who tuck their abdomens down and drowsily mark paths with their colony scent. How and which way they decide to go is a mystery. Continue reading