Anna Pinkerton ’24
Seed Preferences, Predation, and Dispersal in Kenya by Messor Harvester Ants
Certificate(s): Environmental Studies, French Language and Culture
I worked with the Harvester Ant Project to examine the nest location and diet of the harvester ant Messor cephalotes. Our primary objectives were to determine whether Messor cephalotes show any preference for nest building in the three known soil types at Mpala Research Centre, to assess whether there is any relationship between nest longevity and soil type, and to observe the diet constituent of Messor cephalotes as a function of food availability. I collected GPS data of dozens of nests across Mpala’s diverse landscape, took measurements of the physical characteristics of the nests, and observed the collection behaviors of the ants. Through this experience, I have gained valuable insight into fieldwork and research. I learned how to collect, organize, and subsequently analyze data, as well as make maps using GPS coordinates. My time working on the Harvester Ant Project has taught me how to conduct fieldwork, which will be relevant to my geosciences concentration, as well as any future work in environmental science.
Biodiversity and Conservation
Mpala Research Centre - Nanyuki, Kenya
Dino Martins, Chief Executive Officer, Turkana Basin Institute; Ivy Ng’iru, Project Manager and Scientific Researcher, Mpala Research Centre