School of Ants

School of Ants

We have GRADUATED from the School of Ants! After 10 years, this amazing project has come to a close and we want to send a warm and heartfelt thank you to all of the many, many people who have been involved over the years. There are too many of you to thank everyone by name here, but it has been our privilege to work with Lauren Nichols, Neil McCoy, Ari Lit, Holly Menninger, Amy Savage, and a diverse array of educators, students, science communicators, and enthusiasts of all stripes. Thousands of you collected ants at home and at school and around museums and in all sorts of unexpected places. All of these specimens have and continue to help us better understand where the ants of the USA live and what they are doing. In the process of collaborating with us, many of you have leapt into the world of scientific research. We are glad you could join us.

WHAT CAME OUT OF THIS ADVENTURE? We learned that ants are more diverse in cities than we ever imagined, and that invasive ants are on the move as they expand their ranges right under our feet. We saw that to a great extent, ants reflect our activities, and that changing land use, from rural to urban, from forest to fields, means a changing antscape. We heard from participants that they loved watching ants and that one of the most exciting parts was getting to know the diverse array of diverse young scientists who helped us reach out to public participants. In more concrete terms, three peer reviewed publications, several field guides, a giant collection of ant specimens, and a unique dataset were the products of our work (see below).

WHAT NEXT? We learned a lot from the School of Ants, and not just about ants! We are now taking the lessons we have learned about wildlife, public science, and education to new and exciting projects. Stay tuned for more… we can’t wait to collaborate with you!

With gratitude,
Andrea Lucky and Rob Dunn


Zhang, Y.M., Vitone, T., Storer, C., Payton, A.C., Dunn, R.R., Hulcr, J., McDaniel, S.F., Lucky, A. 2019. From pavement to population genomics: characterizing a long-established non-native ant in North America through citizen science and ddRADseq. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Vitone, T., Stofer, K., Steininger, M.S., Dunn, R.R., Hulcr, J., Lucky, A. 2016. School of Ants goes to college: Integrating citizen science into the general education classroom increases engagement with science. Journal of Science Communication (Citizen Science Special Issue) 15(01), A03: 1-24.

Lucky, A., Savage, A.M., Nichols, L.M, Castracani, C., Shell, L., Grasso, D., Mori, A., Dunn, R.R. 2014. Assessing backyard biodiversity across broad spatial scales: The School of Ants Citizen Science Project. Ecosphere 5:1-23.

Shik, J.Z., Nichols, L.M., Lucky, A, Hoefnagels, M.H. 2013. Ants as model organisms to study species coexistence. Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching 34: 233-239.


This project was supported by the National Science Foundation, the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and North Carolina State University.

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