PROJECT: Managing invasive ants effectively in Galapagos
PARTNER: Dr. Charlotte Causton, CDF adjunct scientist
STATUS: Funded in 2011 and currently being implemented
Invasive ants are considered serious threats to the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands. They can also affect agricultural activities, domestic animals, and can produce allergic reactions in humans.
The Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) with the support of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and AGROCALIDAD-Galapagos are currently running 12 programs to control or eradicate four species of invasive ants: the little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata), the tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminata), the Singapore ant (Monomorim destructor), and the big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala). These programs are costly in terms of resources and effort and it is calculated that local organizations, principally GNPS, spend at least $225,000 annually on invasive ant control.
Only two of the programs have had some kind of evaluation. Invasive species management programs need to be evaluated on a regular basis in order to build on knowledge obtained at the target site, thus tailoring management to that site. This project will provide a much needed adaptive management approach considering management objectives, ecological principles and processes, and contemporary assessment techniques to develop and prioritize strategies for these programs. Specifically, the project will develop a five-year strategy for reducing the impacts of invasive ants in the Galapagos Islands.
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