Date of Award
Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
New York City is one of the oldest and largest cities in North America, and it is a center for global trade and shipping. As such, it has also been the site of introduction for some of North America’s most damaging invasive pests, from chestnut blight to the Asian long-horned beetle. Despite these cautionary examples, there has been no formal research on a newly introduced ant species that was tentatively identified as a European ant species, Lasius cf. emarginatus. Since its discovery in 2011, L. cf. emarginatus has become among the most common urban ant species in New York City and has begun to spread outside the city. While the initial discovery of a new ant in New York City made national headlines and produced the memorable nickname the “ManhattAnt,” it was never formally identified and there was little follow up research on its ecological impacts or expansion. In Chapter 1, I confirm the identity of the ManhattAnt using genetic and morphological evidence, determine their colony structure, and map their expansion. In Chapter 2, I characterize the nutritional niche of L. emarginatus and determine whether they are exploiting human food resources in highly urban habitats.