New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Ants in a drought

Team: 36

School: Jackson Middle School

Area of Science: Biology


Interim: Team number: 36
School name: Jackson Middle School
Area of science: Biology
Project title: Ants in a drought

Problem definition:

Biology in the ants’ area is quite complicated. We have researched this area of science and have found about one-third of the information we expected to get so far. Using Netlogo, we will change parameters to affect size, color, and shape.
The goal of this project is to figure out how ants can be affected by drought and food issues. The information we have recorded is incredible beyond what we thought capable of ants. In 1993, Deborah M. Gordon, Stanford University assistant professor of biological sciences says, “I’m interested in the kind of system where simple units together do behave in complicated ways.” She wanted to find exactly how ant brains work, as do we.

Problem Solution:

We will research on exactly how smart ants are, and how ants can survive such extreme conditions. The ants must be intelligent, so that we can test how they work in a complicated way. We are going to change the different food and size effects in the Ants Program, in the Netlogo library so that we can figure out how well ants can respond to different challenges. The ants will have to face food issues, and sizes, and how much water is actually around.

Progress to date:

There are around 34 different species of honey pot ants. They all share the ability to store large amounts of nutritious liquid in the larger workers ‘repletes’. During the rainy seasons the repletes are fed so much that they swell up and become living underground refrigerators, some can become so large that it’s impossible to leave their nest. The food is stored for the whole colony and is used during the dry seasons when food is not so plentiful. These ants hold so many nutrients and energy that they have become a favored food for many other animals including humans.
Some Myrmecocystus species have been known to attack other colonies of the same species, kill their queen and take the workers as their slaves!
A few honey pot ant species are known to change colors such as green, orange, red, blue and yellow. These fantastic ants can be seen in zoos around the world.
The color on the ants has been changed and how they change when they get the food. The food code has been changed and started changing to water. Part of the investigation is the numbers and what will happen if ants are bigger or smaller. If the food density is thicker, it takes the ants longer to get the food.

Expected results:

After programming, testing, and refining of the ants program, expect to have results that show that honeypot ants have a brain capacity is of pigs, which are not too far behind humans. Will expect that ants have passed the tests on water and food against them. We are expecting that the ants have not fallen behind on the expectations we set.

Team Members: Victoria May, Reyanna Fromme

Sponsoring teacher: Karen Glennon

Mentor: Neale Pickett


References: http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/media/honey-ant-adaptations/?ar_a=1
http://news.stanford.edu/pr/93/931115Arc3062.html
http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Honey_Pot_Ants.php
http://antark.net/ant-species/honey-pot-ant-myrmecocystus-mexicanus/



Team Members:

  Victoria May
  reyanna fromme

Sponsoring Teacher: Karen Glennon

Mail the entire Team

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