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Sonoran Desert Ant Diversity

Ants are among the most abundant and diverse animal groups in the Sonoran Desert. One reason for this high diversity is that the Sonoran Desert Region holds a great variety of habitats, from some of the hottest, driest places on the continent that receive fewer than three inches of rain annually, to the cool, moist coniferous forests atop the isolated mountain ranges known as Sky Islands that speckle the region. Ants are ecologically important members of these habitats, driving key ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling and seed dispersal. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum scientists are working to document, describe and understand the current distribution of ant diversity in our region and how climate change may alter this distribution in the future. This work forms part of the broader Arizona Sky Island Arthropod Project (ASAP), which is a new multi-disciplinary research program at the University of Arizona that combines systematics, biogeography, ecology, and population genetics to study origins and patterns of arthropod diversity along elevation gradients and among mountain ranges in the Sky Island Region.

Contact: Kim Franklin
Additional resources: Moore Lab at University of Arizona