jueves, 21 de agosto de 2014

Following the shadow of Kusnezov

Some people left a long shadow of knowledge which inspires others. This is the case of Nicolai Kusnezov (1868-1963). He was one of most prolific Argentinian myrmecologist. Kusnezov followed previous steps of others great myrmecologists: Angel Gallardo, Carlos Bruch and Jean Brethes. He traveled across Argentina, collecting ants, observing their behavior and wrote in a very pictorial way, in my opinion. Even nowadays, the keys for Argentinian ant species he wrote are material of reference, but they need an urgent update.

One of my hopes is to add another sand grain to the growth of myrmecology in every province of Argentina.  In my opinion, the best way to develop or change something is to get involved in it in some way. So, I decided to share my knowledge and my passion by ants through a postgraduate course about ant ecology, systematic and behavior. This idea, to follow the shadow of Kusnesov as I called it, began to grow in my mind after being involved in the Ant course at Tucson (2009). Fortunately, I didn't need to insist much to convince the fellows of my laboratory to join me in this unpredictable project. Up to know, we have done two successful editions, on 2011 and 2013 at the Department of Ecology, Genetic and Evolution of the Faculty of Natural Science of the University of Buenos Aires https://sites.google.com/site/cursohormigas/curso-2013

A collage of people, places, ants and fun

Now, we move forward. Where? To the land of wonderful ants, i.e. to Misiones province. Next year, we will give a workshop of three days at the Argentine Congress of Entomology, CAE2015, http://cae2015.unam.edu.ar/. This workshop will include the same main topics as the previous editions: collecting, pinning and identifying ants, understanding why they are so important for terrestrial ecosystems and discussing the use of ants as bioindicators. This last topic promises to be the hot one of the workshop as it will trigger the most controversial points of view among participants and even among professors.