martes, 15 de octubre de 2013

The global community of myrmecologists

Like ants, myrmecologists (and of course any other worker) use to interact among them. Obviously, I am referring to those with whom you can establish work collaborations or just make and listen suggestions and advices to improve the research you are performing. The help you give and receive saves time and effort and sometimes shapes friendship relations not only work relations. In the meantime, some collaborative works become papers or big projects, others are just mentioned as acknowledgments or forgotten (Yes! there are ungrateful people anywhere).

At you can find a worldwide list of myrmecologist. It´s made me happy had had the great opportunity to talk with a few of them and to work with a couple of them. I hope to interact with some others. 

Here is a good example of collaborative work. We (Priscila and I) collaborate with Chad Tillberg and Andrew Suarez, in a project about the ecological position of the tiger ant, as local people call Dinoponera australis at the National Park of Iguazú, Argentina. Now, Priscila is formely a PhD student under the direction of Andy and I was invited to visit his laboratory.

 I had a great experience visiting Dr Andrew Suarez laboratory at Champaign-Urbana University last year. The ant collection of A. Suarez and Alexander Wild gather specimens for the five continents. So, in two weeks I have made my own “Journey to the ants”, all around the world.  It was amazing having in my hands the dinosaur ant Nothomyrmecia macrops. As I brought my own material I could compare the specimens and learnt the details to identify some ant species. Additionally, I was trained to take photographs as those ones of the ant web.

 These are some of the photos I made at Andy’s lab. It is a queen of the invasive ant specie Linepithema humile still with wings. It is not common to find them with the wings as the queens do not fly, only the males. I found this one checking daily the nests I have in the laboratory, at home.

Not all is about work. Enjoying mundane things, such as sharing a snack at a park in sunny day with friends, connect our lives with those simple events that remind us how less we need sometimes to be happy. I agree this sound like a cliché but this is what I fell.

Friday afternoon, after pinning, identifying and photographing nothing better than a dark beer at the Big Grove Tavern with Alex and Jo-Anne. I found high quality and variety of taste of darks beers at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Sunday morning, having breakfast with A Suarez and a friend at Dinner, (this is one of my favorite photos)

Just a final though. I know that Linkelyn, Facebook, Twiter, etc are useful tools to know each other and keep connected. But, I prefer to met people in person, to know how their voices sound, how they look at you meanwhile you are speaking to them, how they express their passions, dislikes, jokes, embarrasments, anger, etc. So, thank you to all those people who keep in touch with me (in alphabetic order: Alex Wild, Andy Suarez, Members of Ecodes group, Luis Calcaterra, Mireia Buitrago Diaz, Phill Ward, Silvia Abril, Xavier Espadaler)