Taxonomy of the ants of the Galapagos
At present more than 90% of the ant collection of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF, Galapagos Islands) is stored in alcohol, and approximately 10% is poorly mounted. None of this material has been taxonomically analyzed or classified. Due to the present state of the collection, new introduced species of ants might be present in the storage containers without the staff knowing about it. Mr. Herrera’s interest during the GTI training is therefore in learning techniques and methods for the management of a Formicidae collection. He also wants to enrich his knowledge on the taxonomy of neotropic ants. In addition to using morphological data, molecular techniques will be applied (especially during the second GTI training (2011) focusing on the DNA study of the endemic ant Camponotus planus).
The knowledge acquired will allow to build for the first time a scientific reference collection, which will serve as a base for the knowledge of the ants of the Galapagos and of continental Ecuador. It will also enable the elaboration of a checklist of the Galapagos ants, the detection of possible new species of introduced and/or invasive ants from the neotropics or elsewhere, and the development of the first taxonomic key of the subfamilies, genus and species of the Galapagos ants. Finally the cured material will be used to get images in Automontage to be put online on AntWeb.
This knowledge will allow to make recommendations to the Ecuadorian government on monitoring programs for conservation.
Mr. Herrera successfully defended his PhD thesis in 2016 at Ghent University, Belgium: “Faunistic, taxonomic and ecological research of ants from the Galápagos Islands with emphasis on invasive species”.