Maya Saar, PhD
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Personal website: www.saarmaya.weebly.com | Follow: @SaarMaya
I am a myrmecologist. I use different ant species to answer questions that fascinate me. I have interest in classic behavioral ecology of ants, I have touched aspects of their systematics, and currently I aim to study invasion history & develop novel genetic tools for the management of pest ants.
I am a TAU President postdoctoral fellow (2021-2023), and a formally BARD postdoctoral fellow (2020-2022).
My current project: The little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) is an environmental and agricultural invasive pest on a global scale. This species was first documented in Florida and in the USA in 1924, and despite its long-established invasion, its population structure and invasion history have been poorly studied. Invasive populations of W. auropunctata are mainly supercolonial. It is not clear if Florida populations represent closely-related expansions of a single or of multiple supercolonies. Therefore, we are collecting W. auropunctata colonies throughout Florida, conducting behavioral essays and corresponding molecular analysis to better understand the distribution, social structure, and history of W. auropunctata, and to plan for its likely spread throughout the South-eastern USA. Understanding the history and status of W. auropunctata now, may also aid in preventing future introductions into USA.