10/7/2008 Edmonds researches invasive ants in Oregon parks
McMINNVILLE – Ben Edmonds of Philomath is among four Linfield College students who participated in a summer research program studying the impact of invasive species on the biodiversity of Oregon.
Edmonds, a junior biology major with a double minor in chemistry and Spanish, is a 2007 graduate of Philomath High School. He is the son of Doug and Lillian Edmonds of Philomath.
Edmonds worked with students and Chad Tillberg, assistant professor of biology at Linfield, in a number of Oregon state parks to study how invasive ants affect the communities they invade. The students did surveys to determine if the non-native ant species were present, and whether they were outcompeting native Oregon species. They collected the ant species and worked in a lab to prepare the specimens for identification and preservation in addition to conducting a dietary analysis. Tillberg has spent more than 10 years studying ants and their ecology. In the program students worked to further the understanding of how invasive species might lead to biodiversity decline.
“I have learned how to do field research and setup and run experiments in areas where not everything can be controlled, such as a state park,” Edmonds said.
Edmonds said he has gained a new appreciation for the outdoors and the beauty in Oregon’s state parks. He is interested in the study of invasive species, such as ants, and the diversity of the animals in an area.