If you follow Compound Eye, you are probably aware that we have been extremely boring since early May. So boring were we, in fact, that we haven't actually posted anything.
We apologize for the dearth. Our absence was for good cause, though!
Mrs. Myrmecos and I have been travelling through southern Brazil with only sporadic internet access. The aim of our travels was Mrs. Myrmecos's doctoral research. She is documenting the evolution of social structure in a genus of ants, Linepithema, whose colony organization and reproductive biology may have predisposed some species to become globally invasive pests. Why are some ants pesty while others are not? Addressing this question meant a lot of measuring the distance between and aggression among ant nests.
Basically, we watched ants fight. For science.
Even more importantly, we were hoping to connect with a few of Brazil's ant researchers. Brazil is an emerging science powerhouse, and as the region is diverse in Linepithema we were laying a foundation for future collaborations with our Brazilian colleagues. In this regard, we did well. Better than planned, even. With any luck, we'll return within the year to pursue a enlarged version of the project!
In any case, Compound Eye is back online. Here are a few photographs from our Brazilian expedition.