It used to be that anyone could easily stop by and check out the leaf-cutter ant colony in the Microbial Science Building’s lobby, but not so much these days. If you miss seeing the ants, be sure to check out the Currie Lab’s Ant Cam! You can view the livestream on Youtube, where it runs every day of the week.
The livestream cycles through a handful of camera angles, showing the ants as they go about their daily duties of maintaining their fungus garden. This involves cutting up leaves and transporting the clippings to the garden area. The ants do not eat the leaves themselves; they “feed” the leaves to the fungus they cultivate, and then, later, they eat the fungus itself. Bacteriology professor Cameron Currie uses this system to study symbiosis.
Read about the leaf-cutter ant project and the Currie Lab’s other research projects on the lab’s website. Follow @uwcurrielab on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updates on the ants and other lab news.