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)

The Molecular Biology Research and Teaching Lab in Carnegie Hall

Webpages produced:

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.

Field work:
Currently I am examining an invasive ant species on San Salvador Island, The Bahamas: Paratrechina longicornis. During the 2014 field season we sampled locations across the island and found this one species has the broadest distribution across habitats on the island. The behavior of this species at baits was also interesting in that it would sometimes recruit massive numbers of foragers and in other instances have very poor competitive abilities with other species (regardless of apparent nest density or local abundance). We are now investigating the identity and genetic diversity of these ants. During the 2015 field season I collected Paratrechina from as many locations as possible and, along with behavioral data, we will examine the cuticular hydrocarbons (wax present on the cuticule of the ant) and DNA. These two measures will hopefully identify whether the island has a closely related population of Paratrechina longicornis or several distinct genotypes. Due to the nature of species introductions (often a single queen or nest), populations of introduced ant species often have little genetic variability leading to increased cooperation among nests and release from conspecific competition.
Another component of my research is examining competitive interactions among ant species on San Salvador Island. My particular interest here is how ant species interact and how particular environments affect the outcomes of these interactions. We examine a variety of important influences on the ant community and in order to understand if isolation of species to particular habitats may be due to competitive interactions and how those interactions change due to temporal and environmental changes.

Lab work:
My undergraduate research students and I have been working on perfecting the isolation and sequencing of micro-satellite markers in various ant species. We are also working on evaluating differences in cuticular hydrocarbon profiles from ants as a means of detecting genetic and ecological differences among nests.


Dr. Jared Baker, Rachel Seweryniack, Katelyn Slaver, Christina Kim, Chris Hall, and myself hiking in the scrub on San Salvador, 2015 Summer research in the Bahamas

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

Courses taught at Elmira College:
  • Advanced Ecology (BIO4500)
  • Biological Concepts II (BIO1020)
  • Developmental Biology (BIO3500)
  • Ecology (BIO3120)
  • Environmental Seminar (BIO4590)
  • Evolutionary Biology (BIO4605)
  • Field Biology (BIO1902)
  • Honors Seminar (HNR2000)
  • 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 (2011-2015)
Publications (* denotes undergraduate co-authors):

    Kjar, D. S., and Zachary Park* (in press) Increased ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) incidence and richness are associated with alien plant cover in a small mid-Atlantic riparian forest. Myrmecological News

    Barone*, A. E. and D. S. Kjar. 2015. 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. 23: 26-37

    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:

    2015 Kjar, D. S., An exploration of competitive ant interactions at baits on San Salvador Island, The Bahamas. Presentation to the 1st Joint Natural History and Geology Conference, San Salvador Island, The Bahamas, June

    2015 Kjar, D. S., Seweryniack, R., Slaver, K., Population genetics and behavior of the Crazy Ant, Paratrechina longicornis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), on San Salvador Island: Can the Crazy Ant help us understand competitive interactions and biological invasions? Poster presented at the 1st Joint Natural History and Geology Conference, San Salvador Island, The Bahamas, June

    2015 Ant specialist at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Bioblitz, Hawaii, May

    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