Current research projects Omid Paknia

Community structure and species richness of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along an ecological gradient from Hyrcanian to Khalijo-Ommanian biomes in Iran

Ants play important roles in terrestrial ecosystems. They act as predators, scavengers, herbivores, detritivores, and granivores and interact in various ways with plants and other insects. In this project, we want to obtain a detailed perspective of the ants from Iran. The identification of the ant fauna of Iran and the determination of species richness and composition of ants in three main biomes of Iran, Hyrcanian forests, Irano-Touranian semi deserts and deserts, and Khalijo-Ommanian, are the most important aims of this project that will be conducted along an ecological gradient, over a transect of about 2000 km from north to south of Iran. Twenty-two sites in 11 different climate zones will be studied (Fig.1). Ants will be collected with pitfall traps and at baits and will be preserved in alcohol. The analysis of the field work and taxonomical studies will be conducted in the Department of Experimental Ecology, University of Ulm, Germany. Results will help to future plans of conservation biology and wildlife management and the collected specimens will entail in a comprehensive collection of the Iranian ant fauna, with voucher specimens that will be deposited at the Zoological Museum of Gorgan University in Gorgan.

Fig. 1 Climate map of Iran; red points represent the study sites within the 11 sampling regions that are indicated by different colors.
Fig 2. Collecting ants in a forest site, Iran. Omid Paknia, Unbiversity of Ulm


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