Prior to Dr. Ješovnik, the last description of Sericomyrmex, or “silky ant”, genus dates back to 1938. Traveling to Central and South America to find Sericomyrmex, Ana spent many days tracking ants and digging up their underground nests. She hopes to explore differences in nest biology and architecture amongst different species. While digging, she also took samples of farmed fungi to construct a fungal phylogeny and see the relationship between ants and their preferred fungal cultivars. This revealed diffuse coevolution, where single ant species and fungal species were not exclusive to each other.
About the Author
Jonathan Wang is a 3rd year PhD student studying insect immunity with Professor Raymond St. Leger.