Characterization of black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus) population genetics in Indiana

Monday, November 17, 2014: 10:48 AM
B110-112 (Oregon Convention Center)
Adam Salyer , Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Carpenter ants (genus Camponotus) are among the top pests of the United States and contribute to reduced structural integrity, agricultural crop yield, tree health, and facilitate homopteran pest spread.  Despite destructive infestations that can surpass termite damage, little is known about carpenter ant ecology, physiology, and phylogeny.  Minimal research has investigated the sociogenetic structure of the most abundant and widespread Camponotus species in the United States, the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus).  To better understand potential range expansion, dispersal, and response to climate change, this study will examine the genetic social structure and gene flow of Camponotus pennsylvanicus populations throughout Indiana.  Relatedness and colony proximity are predicted to be positively correlated.  Although this study will focus on the West Lafayette area, several thousand ants were surveyed from campuses across Indiana.  Genetic analysis will include the use of DNA microsatellite markers and mitochondrial DNA primers. Preliminary results will be presented along with additional study aims.