Community

Higgins researches at Harvard

TRU professor Rob Higgins worked at Harvard this summer. - Photo submitted
TRU professor Rob Higgins worked at Harvard this summer.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Thompson Rivers University Assistant Professor Rob Higgins visited Harvard University this past summer to pursue his research on developing a better understanding of one particular group of ants in British Columbia (genus Myrmica).

The best collection of ant specimen is housed at Harvard University in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Higgins was welcomed by Stefan Cover, curator of ants, and was given full access to the collection and connected with researchers from around the world.

“Ants in this genus are extremely difficult to identify to species, a problem that created real world issues when the European fire ant (Myrmica rubra) turned up in British Columbia. There is a desperate need to clean up the species clutter,” Higgins says.

The best collection of ants in Canada is at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. André Francoeur, a retired taxonomist opened up his collection to Higgins.

He was able to spend a week there going over Myrmica specimens.

Through research, Higgins has discovered another species of Myrmica, new to science, from the Houston/Smithers area of BC.

Higgins also came across a new species of European invasive ant that has spread across Vancouver and Victoria (Myrmica specioides).

The Canadian National Collection in Ottawa has just asked for specimens for their collection, as well as the Royal BC Museum.

Thompson Rivers University is equipped with state of the art science laboratories. Research on the myrmica species continues to be conducted.

Jacquie Johnston is the marketing and recruitment co-ordinator for TRU in Williams Lake.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Community Events, April 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Apr 18 edition online now. Browse the archives.