Myrmecology
Ecology
Evolution

Dr. Daniel S. Kjar

Associate Professor of Biology
Elmira College
Kolker 105
Elmira, New York

607-735-1826
dkjar@elmira.edu

Ph.D. Georgetown University
Washington, DC

M.S. Georgetown University
Washington, DC

B.S. Northern State University
Aberdeen, SD

Research focus: Studies on ants, alien and native plants, and sampling methods.

The Ecology Research Lab in Carnegie Hall (The Ant Lab)

Webpages produced:

Courses taught at Elmira College:
  • Advanced Ecology (Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, Bahamas) (BIO4500)
  • Biological Concepts II (BIO1020)
  • Developmental Biology (BIO3500)
  • Ecology (BIO3120)
  • Environmental Seminar (BIO4590)
  • Evolutionary Biology (BIO4605)
  • Field Biology (BIO1902)
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies (ENV1010)
  • Invertebrate Zoology (BIO3011)
  • Junior Seminar (BIO4590)
  • Marine and Island Ecology (Gerace Research Center, San Salvador, Bahamas) (BIO3930)
  • When Worlds Collide (Freshman Core) (FRS1010)

Service:
  • Educational Standards Committee (2006-2013)
  • Core curriculum redesign subcomittee (2007-2008)
  • Chair, General Education Committee (2009-2014)
  • Assessment, Budget, and Planning Committee (2011-2014)
Research:

My research is focused on the ecology of ants and sampling methods. In particular, I am interested in how environmental changes affect ant populations, distribution, and diversity. Ants are important ecosystem engineers and changes to the abundance or species composition may have far reaching implications for many arthropod and plant communities.


Searching for Vollenhovia emeryi on the Potomac River.

Along with my research at Elmira College and the Bahamas, I also collaborate with John Pickering at the University of Georgia and others on www.discoverlife.org, and Ted Schultz and the ant lab at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. We have completed an image database of all Smithsonian ant type specimens and we are now working on verifying the identity of each specimen. Recently some of the ant images have been added as 3d.

This is an example of my work at the Smithsonian. This is a Camponotus cerberulus. Click on a thumbnail to enlarge.



You can view more of the Smithsonian ants I have photographed here

The Discoverlife IdNatureguide is a matrix based key and will make a major advance in biodiversity studies, allowing people without extensive training in ant taxonomy or access to revisions and books, that are long out of print, to identify and report ant species. This key is a preliminary key to the ants of Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve. All ants resolve quickly and you should have an ID with as few as three characters. To use the key just select a character, click 'identify', then above the list to the left click on 'simplify' to rebuild the key, now just keep repeating until you have identified your ant.

Field work:
Currently I am working on an inventory of upstate NY ant species, sequencing select genes from several species of ants and improving sampling methods. I have worked with undergraduate research students on random sampling of two local forests. We tested two novel pitfall trap designs: one arboreal, and another for forests with difficult soils. We conducted behavioral experiments on ant recognition and antagonism among transplanted mound ants. My lab is currently examining seed predation in an introduced plant on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. We have presented and submitted our first stufy for publication and we are working on an island wide survey of parasitoids and predators on Jimbay found on San Salvador.

Lab work:
My undergraduate research students and I have been working on perfecting the isolation and sequencing of cytochrome oxidase in Formica exsectoides during the fall and winter of 2008-2009. We have also been working on the methods and sensitivity of atomic absorption and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to detect the presence of heavy metal contamination using ants. During the summer of 2009-2010 we worked on these two projects.

I have recently completed identifying the ants from a large study on the impacts of till, no till, and organic farming on arthropod communities in agricultural fields. We counted and identified 9023 ants from this study. The data from this work was presented as a poster at the 2010 IUSSI meeting in Copenhagen Denmark.

A recently completed project was a literature search of all recorded insect species from the Bahamian Islands. This project was begun in 2009 and published this year. We have also created an online searchable database that is continuing to grow as we find new literature.

A new project we are working on is a phylogeny of cuticular hydrocarbons within formicidae. This project has just begun and we are now determining the most appropriate methods for our gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer. We recently acquired a liquid chromatograph and mass spectrometer and plan on testing that as well.

We are also databasing our entire ant collection and will produce a searchable online database of ant specimens in our collection.


Myself, Marcia Metcalf, Lynn Gillie, and some of our 2009 summer research students

Education:

Northern State University 9/95-9/99 B.S. cum laude Biology

Georgetown University 9/00-10/02 M.S. Biology

Georgetown University 9/00-12/05 Ph.D. Biology

Publications (* denotes undergraduate co-authors):

    Barone*, A. E. and D. S. Kjar. (submitted). Measuring geographical variation in Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus seed predation on Jimbay and parasitoid wasps on San Salvador, Bahamas. Proceedings of the 15th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas.

    Sanders*, B. S. P., D. S. Kjar, and T. P. Egan. 2013. Beetle (Coleoptera: Bruchidae: Acanthoscelides macrophthalamus) seed predation on Leucaena leucocephala (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) seeds and pods in two habitats on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Proceedings of the 14th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas. 53-58

    Squires, M, E Alvear, A Atkinson, A Bourque, L Collado-Vides, B Cook, K Cook, C. Covell, D DiResta, T Frankovich, S Kingston, D Kjar, S Koi, E Lacey, J Lavan, K Marks, S Martin, D McCarthy, V McDonough, C Messing, M Meldonian, S Meldonian, W Miller, J Monty, G Paulay, T Pernas, J Pulfer, B Ruttenberg, J Sadle, R Seavey, B Shamblin, A Wachnicka, L Wingard, T Ziegler. 2012 (DRAFT). National Geographic Society-National Park Service BioBlitz in Biscayne National Park: Summary of Results. Natural Resource Report NPS/SFCN/NRR—2012/XXX. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado. 162 pp

    Kjar, D. S., G. J. Sackett*, J. D. Phillips*, and C. W. Scace*. 2011. Insects of the Bahamas. Proceeding of the 13th Symposium On the Natural History of the Bahamas. 86-113

    Kjar, D. S. 2009. The Ant Community of a Riparian Forest in the Dyke Marsh Preserve, Fairfax County, Virginia, and a Checklist of Mid-Atlantic Formicidae. Banisteria. 33: 3-17

    Kjar, D. S., and T. R. Suman. 2007. First records of invasion by the myrmecine Japanese Ant Vollenhovia emeryi W. M. Wheeler (Hymenoptera:Formicinae) in the United States. Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 109: 596-604

    Kjar, D. S. and E. M. Barrows. 2004. Arthropod Community Heterogeneity in a Mid-Atlantic Forest Highly Invaded by Alien Organisms. Banisteria. 24: 26-37

    Kjar, D. S. Increased ant richness is associated with alien-plant cover in a small Mid-Atlantic riparian forest. (submitted)

    Kjar, D. S. An evaluation of species sampling efficacy using field studies and computer modeling. (in prep)

    Kjar, D. S. and E. M. Barrows. Alien- and native-plant correlations and environmental disturbances in a U.S. National Park. (in prep)

    Kjar, D. S. and J. Reed*. 2010 The Isaac F. Stidham Moth Collection Online Database.

    This database contains a collection of moth specimens dating from the early 1900s.

    Kjar, D. S. and G. Sackett*. 2009 Insect species reported as collected in the Bahamas. Online Database.

    This database contains the species recorded as observed or collected in the Bahamas from 56 published studies and lists.

    Kjar, D. S., M. Kweskin, and T. R. Schultz. 2009. Smithsonian Ant Type Specimen Image Database. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute.

    Kjar, D. S., Sanders, J. Sosa-Calvos, D. Agosti, N. Johnson, and T. R. Schultz. 2009. The Bill Brown Memorial Library. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute.

    Barrows, E. M. and D. S. Kjar. 2004. Arthropods of Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, Virginia: A Searchable Online Database (ADMWPD). Website.http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/barrowse/nps/dmwp.cfm

    This website is an online database of arthropod species caught or observed in the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve. This database includes 29 species of Formicidae.

    Barrows, E. M. and D. S. Kjar. 2004. Biodiversity Database of the Washington, D.C., Area (BDWA). Website. http://biodiversity.georgetown.edu

    I designed this website as an online, searchable collection of images and information on the biodiversity of the Washington, D.C., Area. It has over 2000 webpages, 5000 digital images, and many pages of information on local biota. This database is linked to the other databases produced by our lab, allowing images and information to be seamlessly integrated into species lists produced for the national park service. This website receives over 12,000 hits per month.

    Barrows, E. M., D. S. Kjar, C. R. Bird, B. Q. Chung, T. Q. Chung, and M. R. Minor. 2004. Arthropods of the Washington, D.C., Area: A Searchable Online Database (AWDCAD). Website. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/barrowse/nps/

    This website is an online searchable database of over 12,000 species found in an extensive and ongoing literature search funded by the National Park Service.

Selected Invitations, Honors and Fellowships, Presentations:

    2014 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Golden Gate National Parks Bioblitz, San Francisco, California, March

    2013 Barone, A. E., and D. S. Kjar. Measuring geographical variation in Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus seed predation on Jimbay and parasitoid wasps on San Salvador, Bahamas. 15th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas. June

    2013 Kjar, D. S., and M. Patel. Using a field biology course on San Salvador Island to increase student understanding of the Nature of Science. 15th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas. June

    2013 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, New Orleans, Louisiana, May

    2013 Patel M., D.S. Kjar. Learning inquiry and nature of science through an open investigation in a field-biology course. The S in STEM Education: Policy, Research and Practice, The National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Puerto Rico, April

    2012 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Rocky Mountain National Park Bioblitz, Estes Park, Colorado, August

    2011 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Saguaro National Park Bioblitz, Tucson, Arizona, October

    2011 Presentation "Discovertrees" at the Discoverlife meeting and launch of the Georgia Natural History Survey at the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, October 6-8th

    2011 Kjar D. S., B. S. P. Sanders*, T. P. Egan. Seed Predation, Parasitoids, and the Jimbay (Leucaena leucocephala) on San Salvador. 14th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas. June

    2010 Josef Stein Award for excellence in teaching, service and scholarship, Elmira College

    2010 Kjar D. S., and J. Reed*. Exploring the phylogeny of ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) cuticular hydrocarbons. UMBC undergraduate research symposium (Poster presented by Jessica).

    2010 Kjar D. S., K. Szlavecz, M. Cavigelli, J. Phillips*, C. Scace*. Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) community differences associated with organic, no-till, and chisel-till cropping systems (maize and soybeans). Poster presented at the International Union for the Study of Social Insects 2010 Congress, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    2010 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Biscayne National Park Bioblitz, Homestead, Florida, May

    2009 Kjar D. S., G. Sackett*. A preliminary species list of insects found on San Salvador, Bahamas. Poster and database demonstration at the 13th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas, San Salvador, Bahamas. June

    2009 Ant specialist at the Patuxent River Park Bioblitz, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, May

    2009 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Bioblitz, Gary, Indiana, May

    2008 Ant specialist at the National Geographic's Santa Monica Mountains Bioblitz, Santa Monica, California, May

    2007 Ant specialist at the University of North Carolina's Mason Farm Bioblitz, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, September

    2007 Ant specialist at the Jug Bay Bioblitz, Patuxent, Maryland, September
    Swarth, C, Hollister, L, Friebele, E, Molines, K, and S. Matthews. 2007. 2007 Jug Bay Bioblitz Report. Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. December 2008. 29 pp. http://www.dnr.state.md.us/bay/cbnerr/download/2007_BioBlitz_JugBayRpt.pdf

    2007 Ant specialist at National Geographic's Rock Creek National Park Bioblitz, Washington D.C., July

    2006 Ant specialist at the Potomac Gorge NPS Bioblitz in Glen Echo Maryland, June

    2006 Invited to speak on the effects of imperfect sampling regimes and species patchiness on species estimators at the International Union for the Study of Social Insects 2006 Congress, Washington, DC, July 31st - August 4th

    2006 Featured in the documentary movie "On the Edge: The Potomac River Dyke Marsh" World premier at the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. March 21st.

    2005 Edward M. Barrows, Christiane R. Bird, Daniel G. Balogh, Daniel S. Kjar and Catherine E. B. McCall. "Arthropoversity" of the Capital Area, A-Z: Acari to Zoraptera. Presentation to the Entomological Society of Washington, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

    2005 "A new frontier for a very old science: Modern bioinformatics and database organization in taxonomy" guest lecturer for the Howard Hughes bioinformatics course at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

    2005 "How to study & monitor life on Earth" at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and the Heinz Center. Feb 21st and 22nd. http://www.discoverlife.org/pa/ev/me/2005dc/

    "Studies on the ants, alien and native plants, and ant sampling methods in a U.S. National Park." presentation and defense of Ph.D. dissertation, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., 1 December 2005

    "Alien plants in an eastern riparian forest: is there an impact on ants and native plants?" Presentation to the Washington Biologists' Field Club, Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C., 22 April 2005

    "The Ants of Dyke Marsh Preserve: Are Alien Plants Changing the Native Ant Community?" Presentation to the Entomological Society of Washington, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., 3 March 2005

    "Using Coldfusion, Discoverlife.org, and the internet to monitor and identify species: Demonstrations of a literature database, a sampling event database, online matrix keys, and realtime mapping of species information online." Presentation to National Park Service employees from the Rock Creek Park and the Center for Urban Ecology, Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC, 11 February 2005

    "Ant Community Changes Associated with Introduced Plant Species." poster presented at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation's 9th annual spring symposium on invertebrate conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, 25-26 March 2004