Jeremy J. Boeing

Lake Forest Biology Senior Thesis w/ distinction 2012-2015


Title: Ant diversity in the urban mosaic


Abstract: As our urban environment of Chicago expands, we alter the native environment of the organisms around us. However, due to train right-of-ways, small strips of land emanating from Chicago's center have remained relatively untouched. The land following alongside Metra rails has remained free of development and has maintained some characteristics of the natural environment. These Metra rail "corridors" may serve a variety of organisms as sources of dispersal throughout the city. Using ants as a representative species, we hope to determine the range and effectiveness of Metra rail corridors in Chicago for the movement of native species. Gabe Trujillo and I will sample the Metra stops and surrounding residential areas for ant diversity. Some samples will be sent to the "School of Ants" citizen science project to assist in mapping ant diversity across the nation. These corridors may positively affect species by helping populations maintain genetic diversity. This connectivity may be similar to corridors used by other organisms like endangered species and this unique opportunity in Chicago may help expand our understanding of corridors.