AntWatch Project Overview

AntWatch Hawai`i is an educational, long-term effort to monitor the Hawaiian Islands for resident alien ant species and provide an early-warning network for newly introduced species. AntWatch relies on participating schools, teachers and students to collect geographic information on these introduced ant species. This information is transmitted to and analyzed by specialists in research management agencies. This project began soon after a dreaded pest, the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) was discovered for the first time on the Big Island in 1999. 

The EECB GK-12 fellowship program at the University of Hawai`i sets up a learning partnership between graduate students and K-12 teachers. Fellows in the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (EECB) graduate specialization act as partners and mentors and incorporate their own research, emphasizing perspectives of evolutionary and conservation biology, into school curricula to assist in teaching standards-based biology. This program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation through the Center for Conservation Research and Training (CCRT). The Hawai`i Department of Education and the UH Curriculum Research and Development Group (CRDG) are active partners in the project.

The ant collection and identification activities you will see on this site are the ongoing products of one fellow's GK-12 project. Daniel S. Gruner, a graduate student in the Department of Zoology, has developed this project in active collaboration with the Hawaii Ant Group: an organization dedicated to better understanding of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and their impacts in Hawai`i. Geographical data is submitted to biologists at the Hawai`i Natural Heritage Program through the Pacific Basin Information Node. High school and intermediate students and teachers, working with Dan on the Big Island of Hawai`i, discovered two species never before recorded from the Hawaiian Islands (download publication in pdf format). In addition, a student at Waiakea High School located an unknown population of the dreaded little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata. This new scientific information is a valuable contribution to the conservation of our island home.

Although this site is still under development, you and your school can get involved. You can use the latest is Geographical Positioning Systems technology, learn about the biology and identification of ants in Hawai`i, work on a field project with unknown and eagerly anticipated results, and contribute to the preservation of species and ecosystems in the islands