Science Café: Ants of Big Thicket National Preserve

Published 8:41 am Monday, November 9, 2015

Big Thicket National Preserve and the Big Thicket Association Science Café program series continues in November with a presentation from Rice University researcher Dr. Scott Solomon on Thursday, November 19th at 6 pm at the Logon Café, Beaumont.

Dr. Solomon’s presentation will focus on his research on ants in southeast Texas, including Big Thicket National Preserve. Ants are among the most diverse and important members of ecological communities, from tropical rainforests to deserts and even urban environments. Recent research on ants and the species they interact with provides new insight into the complexity of their societies, their deep evolutionary histories, and the critical roles they play in their environments. Non-native ant species can have particularly large impacts on native species and on people, including red imported fire ants and tawny crazy ants in southeast Texas.

Dr. Scott Solomon teaches ecology and evolutionary biology as a Professor in Practice in BioSciences at Rice University. He received a doctorate in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin where he examined the evolutionary basis of biological diversity in the Amazon Basin. Prior to joining the faculty at Rice he did postdoctoral research with the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Entomology, based in São Paulo, Brazil and Washington, DC. His current research includes an investigation of the spread and impact of non-native ant species in the Big Thicket region of southeast Texas.

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As part of the All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) effort to identify and learn about all living organisms in the Big Thicket area, Dr. Solomon’s research lends new insight into ant ecology throughout this region. Information gathered from these studies will help the National Park Service and other land management agencies make informed decisions about the lands and waters where we live, work, and recreate in, while helping to protect these areas for future generations. To learn more about this on-going All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, visit .

The Science Café is free and open to the public. This program will be held at Logon Café, 3805 Calder St, in Beaumont at 6 pm on Thursday, November 19th. For more information, contact Park Ranger Mary Kay Manning at409-951-6720.

For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700. Visit us on Facebook,, and Instagram