February: Tropical rainforest ants and their followers
Join us February 15 when the February meeting of the Oklahoma City Audubon Society will feature Jelena Bujan, an “anthusiast.”
Ants are one of the most ecologically important insect groups. Compared to most solitary insects, ant colonies are long-lived and relatively sessile. This is why they are a perfect taxon for exploring the effect of long term environmental changes on consumers. Jelena studies ants at one of their biodiversity hotspots – the tropical rainforest of Panama. In particular, she is interested in how different nutrients affect this diverse ant community. The strong influence of soil nutrients on these ubiquitous insects is not only important for ant communities but also for the effect it might have on entire food webs. “I believe ants can serve as a marker to identify how anthropogenic disturbance impacts nutrient cycling and other arthropods,” says Jelena.
Also, she will address the effect of fertilization on the activity of nomadic tropical ants – the army ants, with implications for your favorite ant following taxon – the ant birds.
Jelena Bujan is a PhD candidate at the University of Oklahoma where she is finishing her dissertation under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Kaspari. Most of Jelena’s PhD work was done in Panama, at Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s research station on Barro Colorado Island. Jelena is originally from Rijeka, Croatia. After graduating from the University of Zagreb with an MSc degree in biology and chemistry, and spending a year teaching in a Croatian middle school, she joined the Kaspari lab. She was one of the founders of the Croatian Myrmecological Society, an NGO which studies ants and educates the general public about their importance, which still continues to gather young “anthusiasts” in Croatia.
Our meetings are held September through June on the third Monday of each month (with the exception of January, when the meeting is held on the fourth Monday). They begin at 7 p.m. at the Will Rogers Garden Center, I-44 and NW 36th Street. Visitors are always welcome.
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Adopt-A-Park at Prairie Dog Point
The members of the Oklahoma City Audubon Society have adopted Prairie Dog Point at Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner by participating in Oklahoma City Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Park program. Our commitment to the program is for assistance in litter management. The Parks department has responded to our request to have additional trash cans placed around the area to help keep the area clean.
Prairie Dog Point is located at the southwest corner of Lake Hefner. It attracts diverse species of birds throughout the seasons and is especially popular with birders during the spring and fall shorebird migrations. In addition to contributing to the beautification of our community, our participation in the program allows us to promote the area as a location of interest to birders, perhaps helping to avoid further habitat loss. Everyone is invited to participate in our Adopt-A-Park project by picking up litter during birding trips to the Point.
2014 Christmas Bird Count numbers
During the Oklahoma City Christmas Bird Count for 2014, a total of 116 species were observed on count day. Click here to view the list.
The Oklahoma City Audubon Society is neither a chapter of, nor affiliated with, the National Audubon Society.