Harvard Forest Data Archive

HF147

Ant Distribution and Abundance in New England since 1990

Related Publications

Data

Overview

  • Lead: Aaron Ellison, Nicholas Gotelli
  • Investigators: Gary Alpert, Katherine Bennett, Robert Buchsbaum, Stefan Cover, Israel Del Toro, Robert Dunn, Dave Lubertazzi, Mark Mello, Scott Smyers, Michael Weiser
  • Contact: Aaron Ellison
  • Start date: 1990-06-01
  • End date: 2014-08-26
  • Status: ongoing
  • Location: New England
  • Latitude: +40.5 to +47.5
  • Longitude: -74.3 to -66.9
  • Elevation: 0 to 1900 meter
  • Taxa: Amblyoponinae, Dolichoderinae, Formicidae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae, Ponerinae
  • Release date: 2009
  • Revisions: data updated 2015-04-13
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.147.20
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • Related links:
  • Study type: long-term measurement
  • Research topic: biodiversity studies; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions; regional studies
  • LTER core area: populations
  • Keywords: ants, biodiversity, biogeography, region
  • Abstract:

    The Ants of New England project is a multi-investigator, multi-year effort to document the occurrence, distribution, and relative abundance of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the six New England states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine). The project was initiated in 1999 as a more narrowly-focused effort aimed at determining ant species diversity in bogs and surrounding forests in Massachusetts and Vermont using standard methods (pitfall trapping, timed baiting, litter collection, and visual searching; Gotelli and Ellison 2002, Ellison et al. 2002). Subsequent detailed analysis of collection methods revealed that reliable estimates of ant species occurrences, distribution, and abundance in this geographic region could be obtained using only visual searching and litter collection (Ellison et al. 2007). Following this analysis, we carried out an initial survey of ant occurrences, distribution, and abundances in Massachusetts in 2007. The 2007 survey was focused on ants living in natural community types as defined by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (Swain and Kearsley 2001) and located in properties of high conservation and education value owned by Massachusetts Audubon Society and The Trustees of Reservations.

    The primary goals for the 2007 survey were: (1) To describe and quantify patterns of distribution and abundance of ants across Massachusetts and to determine the regional "species pool" of ants that could ground local studies on ants (for example, the Warm Ants project at Harvard Forest). (2) To provide a baseline from which to assess long-term effects of climate change on species distributions. (3) To develop a set of indicator species to be used to determine efficacy of ongoing and proposed management strategies and to reveal effects of future disturbances and habitat degradation. (4) To compare with ongoing or planned quantitative surveys of birds and plants at sites owned by conservation partners (e.g., MAS, TTOR, NCF). (5) To lay the groundwork and develop capacity within partnering organizations for future sampling of additional sites and of the same sites in future years.

    As the Ant of Massachusetts project became more widely known, additional specimens were contributed by individuals working throughout the region. A longitudinal series (2004 - present) of collections of ants from pitfall traps on Nantucket Island was added to the database by Scott Smyers and Mark Mello. Volunteers with Friends of Mount Wachusett and the Massachusetts Audubon Society regularly contribute additional specimens. Additional specimens have accrued through regional BioBlitzes and through a Research Experience for Teachers collaboration with the J. R. Briggs Elementary School in Ashburnham, Massachusetts.

    In 2009, the PIs decided to expand the scope of the project to the six New England states. This expansion coincided with a regional effort to document ant diversity in bogs throughout New England (supported by an NSF award to the PIs) and the digitization of geographical records of 50 common New England ant species in the collection of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) by Dave Lubertazzi. Work is now underway to digitize records of the remaining New England ant species housed in the MCZ collections; to identify and digitize records of New England ant species housed in other major museums (American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution); to make field collections in parts of New England that are poorly represented in museum collections. Data collected through the end of 2011 (datafile hf147-12) were used to create collection maps for A Field Guide to the Ants of New England, written by Aaron M. Ellison, Nicholas J. Gotelli, Elizabeth J. Farnsworth, and Gary D. Alpert, and published by Yale University Press. New ant species records for New England, the Mid-Atlantic States, and the Maritime Provinces of Canada accumulated since publication of A Field Guide to the Ants of New England are recorded in hf147-18.

  • Methods:

    Field collecting methods have varied through time, but all include visual searching and manually separating ants from forest-floor litter samples, as detailed in Ellison et al. 2007. Additional collection methods include 15-minute and 1-hour baits using oil-packed tunafish or Keebler Pecan Sandies, and 48-hour or 2-week pitfall traps (Gotelli and Ellison 2002). Summer 2009 collection methods also included 2-hour baits using olive oil, 20% sucrose solution, 20% glutamine solution, a mix of 20% sucrose + 20% glutamine, 1% salt, and distilled water.

    Identification of specimens is done first at Harvard Forest by undergraduate and graduate students. Specimens from difficult-to-identify groups are pinned and checked or identified by PI Aaron Ellison. Samples of all species have been vouchered at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), and identifications checked by curatorial assistant Stefan Cover.

  • Use:

    This dataset is released to the public and may be freely downloaded. Please keep the designated Contact person informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation or collaboration with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset must include proper acknowledgement. For more information on LTER Network data access and use policies, please see: http://www.lternet.edu/data/netpolicy.html.

  • Citation:

    Ellison A, Gotelli N. 2009. Ant Distribution and Abundance in New England since 1990. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF147.

Detailed Metadata

hf147-01: species codes

  1. subfamily: subfamily of ant
  2. genus: genus of ant
  3. species: species name
  4. authority: taxonomic authority and date of description
  5. code: six or seven character species code (= first 3 letters of genus + first 3 letters of species + number when the previous six characters are not unique).
  6. distribution: native or exotic

hf147-02: bog ants 1999

  1. date: date
  2. doy: day of year (unit: nominalDay)
  3. state: state
    • CT: Connecticut
    • MA: Massachusetts
    • VT: Vermont
  4. sitename: name of site
  5. sitecode: 2-4 character abbreviation for site, used in publication tables
  6. latitude: in decimal degrees (converted from GPS deg-min-sec) (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  7. longitude: in decimal degrees (converted from GPS deg-min-sec) (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  8. habitat: bog or forest
  9. traptype: method used to collect ants
    • pitfall: pitfall traps
    • tuna: bait
  10. trapnumber: from 1 to 25 (traps were arrayed in a 5 x 5 grid with 2-m spacing)
  11. ant.genus: genus; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  12. ant.species: species; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  13. species.code: 6-7 character abbreviation for species; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  14. num.ants: number of ants of each taxon collected in traps (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf147-03: bog vegetation 1999

  1. habitat: bog or forest
  2. sitecode: 2-4 character abbreviation for site, used in publication tables; matches SiteCode as in hf147-02-bog-ants-1999.csv
  3. trapnumber: to 25; matches TrapNumber in hf147-02-bog-ants-1999.csv
  4. species.code: 6-7 character abbreviation for plant species
  5. veg.species: genus and species of plant
  6. stem.count: stem counts of each plant species found in a 0.5 x 0.5 m square quadrat centered on each TrapNumber in the 5 x 5 sampling grid (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf147-04: bog trees 1999

  1. site: 2-4 character abbreviation for site, used in publication tables; matches SiteCode in hf147-02-bog-ants-1999.csv.
  2. habitat: bog or forest
  3. tree.species: name of tree (genus and species)
  4. dbh: diameter at breast height (1.3-m above the ground), to nearest 1 mm (unit: centimeter / missing value: NA)

hf147-05: islands ants 2000

  1. date: date
  2. doy: day of year (unit: nominalDay)
  3. state: state
    • MA: Massachusetts
  4. island: island
    • MV: Martha's Vineyard
    • ACK: Nantucket
  5. site.name: name of site
  6. site.code: 2-4 character abbreviation for site, used in publication tables
  7. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (converted from GPS deg-min-sec) (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  8. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (converted from GPS deg-min-sec) (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  9. habitat: bog or upland
  10. traptype: method used to collect ants
    • tuna: bait
    • pitfall: pitfall trap
  11. trap.no: trap number from 1 to 25 (traps were arrayed in a 5 x 5 grid with 2-m spacing)
  12. ant.genus: genus; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  13. ant.species: species; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  14. ant.code: 6-7 character abbreviation for species; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  15. num.ants: number of ants of each taxon collected in traps (unit: number / missing value: NA)

hf147-06: islands vegetation 2000

  1. habitat: bog or upland
  2. site.code: 2-4 character abbreviation for site, used in publication tables; matches SiteCode as in hf147-05-islands-ants-2000.csv
  3. trap.no: 1 to 25; matches TrapNumber in hf147-05-islands-ants-2000.csv
  4. species.code: 6-7 character abbreviation for plant species
  5. species: genus and species of plant
  6. value: stem counts or percent cover of each plant species found in a 0.5 x 0.5 m square quadrat centered on each TrapNumber in the 5 x 5 sampling grid. See count.cover for unit used.
  7. count.cover: whether stem count or percent cover was used

hf147-07: ant sites 1999-2000

  1. site.name: name of site
  2. site.code: 2-4 character abbreviation for site, used in publication tables
  3. state: state
    • CT: Connecticut
    • MA: Massachusetts
    • VT: Vermont
  4. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (converted from GPS deg-min-sec) (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  5. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (converted from GPS deg-min-sec) (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  6. bog.perim: perimeter of bog mat, as digitized from aerial photos using ArcView 3.2 software (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  7. bog.area: area of bog mat, as digitized from aerial photos using ArcView 3.2 software (unit: squareMeter / missing value: NA)
  8. masl: elevation of bog in meters above sea level (determined from GPS) (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  9. dsf: Direct Site Factor in the surrounding forest. Equals the proportion of direct solar radiation relative to totally open sky (range 0 – 1). Calculated from hemispherical canopy photographs taken 1 m above ground level with a Nikon F-3 camera and Nikon 8mm fish-eye lens, analyzed with HemiView 2.1 software. (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  10. gsf: Global Site Factor in the surrounding forest. Equals the proportion of direct + indirect solar radiation relative to totally open sky (range 0 – 1). Calculated from hemispherical canopy photographs taken 1 m above ground level with a Nikon F-3 camera and Nikon 8mm fish-eye lens, analyzed with HemiView 2.1 software. (unit: dimensionless / missing value: NA)
  11. lai: estimated leaf area index (the surface area of leaves per unit ground area). Units of lai are m2 per m2. Calculated from hemispherical canopy photographs taken 1 m above ground level with a Nikon F-3 camera and Nikon 8mm fish-eye lens, analyzed with HemiView 2.1 software. (unit: meterSquaredPerMeterSquared / missing value: NA)

hf147-08: nantucket ants 2004-09

  1. year: year
  2. month: month
  3. day: last day that 2-week pitfall trap was open for collecting
  4. site: pitfall location. See hf147-09-nantucket-sites-2004-09.csv for coordinates
  5. community.type: Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (MA-NHESP) community classification. See Swain & Kearsley 2001 for detailed description.
  6. management: One of “None”, “Mowed” (annually or regularly), or “Burned” (periodically); see hf147-09-nantucket-sites-2004-09.csv for additional details.
  7. pitfalltrap: location within site
  8. ant.genus: ant genus; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  9. ant.species: ant species; see also hf147-01-species-codes.csv
  10. code: six or seven character species code (= first 3 letters of genus + first 3 letters of species + number when the previous six characters are not unique). See hf147-01-species-codes.csv for additional information.
  11. qty: number of ants in the pitfall-location-date combination (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  12. caste: caste
    • W: Worker
    • Q: Queen
    • M: Male
  13. good.date: good date
    • 1: all Year, month, and date are known
    • 0: otherwise (all in 2004, when some sample labels are obscure)

hf147-09: nantucket sites 2004-09

  1. site: pitfall location; matches Site in hf147-08-nantucket-ants-2004-09.csv.
  2. habitat: prose description of habitat. Longer version of CommunityType in hf147-08-nantucket-ants-2004-09.csv.
  3. treatment: detailed description of Management of hf147-08-nantucket-ants-2004-09.csv
  4. pitfalltrap: location within Site; matches pitfalltrap of hf147-08-nantucket-ants-2004-09.csv
  5. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  6. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  7. utm.lon: longitude in Universal Transverse Mercator (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  8. utm.lat: latitude in Universal Transverse Mercator (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  9. masl: elevation in meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)

hf147-10: massachusetts ants 2007

  1. id: specimen identification number
  2. date: date
  3. state: state
    • MA: Massachusetts
  4. county: Massachusetts county
  5. town: Massachusetts city or town
  6. site: Name of property. See hf147-11-mass-sites-2007.csv for additional details.
  7. community.type: Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (MA-NHESP) community classification. See Swain & Kearsley 2001 for detailed description.
  8. community.detail: additional detail about the habitat
  9. coll.meth: collection method
    • Litter: litter sample
    • Hand: hand collected
  10. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  11. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  12. masl: elevation in meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  13. ant.genus: genus of specimen
  14. ant.species: species of specimen
  15. code: six or seven character species code (= first 3 letters of genus + first 3 letters of species + number when the previous six characters are not unique). See hf147-01-species-codes.csv for additional information.
  16. caste: caste
    • W: Worker
    • M: Male
    • Q: Queen
    • WQ: Worker-Queen intermediate

hf147-11: massachusetts sites 2007

  1. date: date
  2. site: name of property. Matches Site in hf147-10-mass-ants-2007.csv.
  3. community.type: Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (MA-NHESP) community classification. See Swain & Kearsley 2001 for detailed description.
  4. lat: latitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  5. long: longitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  6. elevation: elevation in meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  7. plot.size: area sampled (unit: squareMeter / missing value: NA)
  8. sampling.effort: time spent sampling the plot, in person-hours (unit: hour / missing value: NA)
  9. weather: terse notes on weather during sampling

hf147-12: ants of New England 1864-2011

  1. date: date
  2. state: state
  3. county: county
  4. locality: town or more specific
  5. habitat: as specific as possible
  6. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  7. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  8. masl: elevation in meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  9. subfamily: subfamily of specimen
  10. ant.genus: genus of specimen
  11. ant.species: species of specimen
  12. code: six or seven character species code (= first 3 letters of genus + first 3 letters of species + number when the previous six characters are not unique). See hf147-01-species-codes.csv for additional information
  13. collection: where specimen is located; follows “Abbreviations for Insect and Spider Collections of the world (http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/codens/codens-inst.html) and the Institutional Acronyms and Collections Codes of the Registry of Biological Repositories (http://www.biorepositories.org/)
  14. collector: who collected the specimen, if known

hf147-13: ant data for R, snapped to climate

  1. spcode: species code, see hf147-01
  2. x: longitude (decimal degrees) of centroid of 30-arc-second (~ 1 km × 1 km) cell (raster) in which species (spcode) occurs. (unit: degree)
  3. y: latitude (decimal degrees) of centroid of 30-arc-second (~ 1 km × 1 km) cell (raster) in which species (spcode) occurs. (unit: degree)

hf147-14: ants of Baxter State Park, Maine since 1900

  1. date: date
  2. state: state, Maine
  3. county: county, Piscataquis
  4. locality: locality, Mt. Katahdin or Baxter State Park
  5. habitat: as specific as possible
  6. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  7. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  8. masl: elevation in meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  9. subfamily: subfamily of specimen
  10. ant.genus: genus of specimen
  11. ant.species: species of specimen
  12. code: six or seven character species code (= first 3 letters of genus + first 3 letters of species + number when the previous six characters are not unique). See hf147-01-species-codes.csv for additional information
  13. nworkers: number of workers (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  14. nqueens: number of queens (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  15. nmales: number of males (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  16. collection: where specimen is located; follows “Abbreviations for Insect and Spider Collections of the world (http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/codens/codens-inst.html) and the Institutional Acronyms and Collections Codes of the Registry of Biological Repositories (http://www.biorepositories.org/). As of November 2013, all specimens collected after 2010 are at the Maine State Entomology Collection in Augusta, Maine (ELMF).
  17. collector: who collected the specimen, if known

hf147-15: ants of New England 1864-2011

  1. date: date
  2. state: state
  3. county: county
  4. locality: town or more specific
  5. habitat: as specific as possible
  6. latitude: latitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  7. longitude: longitude in decimal degrees (unit: degree / missing value: NA)
  8. masl: elevation in meters above sea level (unit: meter / missing value: NA)
  9. subfamily: subfamily of specimen
  10. ant.genus: genus of specimen
  11. ant.species: species of specimen
  12. code: six or seven character species code (= first 3 letters of genus + first 3 letters of species + number when the previous six characters are not unique). See hf147-01-species-codes.csv for additional information
  13. collection: where specimen is located; follows “Abbreviations for Insect and Spider Collections of the world (http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/codens/codens-inst.html) and the Institutional Acronyms and Collections Codes of the Registry of Biological Repositories (http://www.biorepositories.org/)
  14. collector: who collected the specimen, if known

hf147-16: header (definition) file for neClim.gri

  • Compression: none
  • Format: R grd file
  • Type: R grd file

hf147-17: climate and elevation variables for New England, rasterized

  • Compression: none
  • Format: R gri file
  • Type: R gri file

hf147-18: model code for comparisons of MaxEnt and MaxLike species distribution models

  • Compression: none
  • Format: R
  • Type: R file