Amani Khalil smiling candidly after her research poster was awarded "Best Judged Poster"

Amani Khalil Awarded “Judged Best Poster” from SSAWG Conference 2020!

Amani Khalil– Mani to her friends– recently won the poster competition at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) this past week in Little Rock, Arkansas. She competed against 36 other posters from other students, extension agents, and organizations. Mani is a Graduate Research Assistant and working on her MS. She is tackling the interaction between native perennials and pollinators and follows the mentorship of Dr. Laura Russo. We are very proud of your accomplishment, Mani. Please keep up the great work!!

North American fire ants surround and protect their significantly much larger queen

New Genetic Study Reveals Cryptic Diversity in the Native North American Fire Ants

The native North American fire ants (Solenopsis Westwood) comprise a difficult group taxonomically that has undergone multiple revisions in the past century yet remains in a state of taxonomic uncertainty. The results of our genetic study demonstrated that the recognised North American fire ant species represent evolutionarily independent entities. We also confirm the presumed sister status of the desert fire ants, S. aurea Wheeler and S. amblychila Wheeler. However, we also found tat least two genetically divergent populations within the nominal species boundaries, including a western form of S. xyloni and a distinct population of S. aurea. These results suggest that the current taxonomy does not fully capture the species‐level diversity in this group. Our study provides the molecular foundation for…