Somerville Garden Club

Meeting – July 10

Please Note. This presentation has been postponed. Instead, we will be watching some video highlights from British horticulturist Monty Don at the July 10 Meeting.

Ants in the City: The role of ants in urban landscapes

Insects are a fundamental part of ecosystems, making up the base of food chains and providing a wide range of ecosystem services. Recent research from around the globe suggests we may be losing our insect populations at a disturbing rate. However there is also reason to believe urban green spaces could play an important role in insect conservation, if managed correctly. Ants play a wide variety of roles in ecosystems, from aerating soil to dispersing seeds to decomposing waste and controlling pest populations. How can we manage our urban green spaces to protect these important insects? We will discuss recent work on ant diversity and habitat structure in green spaces in the Boston area and what this work can teach us about conserving our local ant fauna.

Amy Mertl, has long been fascinated by the underlying patterns structuring the evolution and ecology of diverse insect groups. Currently she teaches Biology, Animal Behavior, Botany, and Ecology and Natural History at Lesley University where she is an Assistant Professor of Biology. Her present research involves investigating the diversity, ecology and structure of ant and termite communities in New England forests. This project engages Lesley students and community members in citizen science projects. Amy also has a background in using film and video as educational tools. She has co-produced several short documentaries, including “Ants”, an award-winning short film on her favorite tiny subjects. Amy holds a BS from the University of Minnesota and a PhD from Boston University.

All Somerville Garden Club meetings are free and open to the public. 7-9pm. Meetings are held the at the Tufts Administration Building, (TAB), 167 Holland Street, second floor, wheelchair accessible. Parking is available, and the building is a ten-minute walk from the Davis Square MBTA stop.

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