Taxonomy Identification and Ecology of European ants – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Social Evolution > Courses > European ants

Below are the details of the course that ran in 2012

Taxonomy, Identification and Ecology of European ants

The course will run from 1-5 September 2012, and is primarily aimed at Ph.D. students who wish to obtain an overview of the diversity of European ants, and some practical experience with their collection and identification.

The course is limited to 20 participants, and priority will be given to Ph.D. students from the University of Copenhagen, followed by Ph.D. students and M.Sc. students from other institutions.

The course will consist of advance reading, lectures, discussion sessions, field-collection, and identification of field-collected and museum specimens. 5 ECTS points will be awarded for completion of the course.

Two world-renowned experts on European ants, Dr. Graham Elmes and Dr. Xavier Espadaler will teach the course in conjunction with experts from the Zoological Museum (Lars Vilhjelmson) and the Centre for Social Evolution (Koos Boomsma, Jes Søe Pedersen, David Nash), Copenhagen.

The course will be be held at the University of Copenhagen, and, thanks to a grant from the faculty of Science,  will be free to attend. However, participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements, accommodation and meals during the course.

Provisional programme:

Prior to course Reading key papers on ant taxonomy, phylogeny and evolution.
1 Sept Introduction to the European ant fauna (taxonomy, distribution).
Ecology of European ants.
Invasive ants in Europe.
2 Sept Introduction to the identification of European ants.
Visit to the hymenoptera collections of the Zoological Museum.
Practical on identification of European ants.
3 Sept Field excursion to collect ants in Copenhagen and Northern Sjælland.
4 Sept Identification of ants collected during field excursion.
5 Sept Discussion of problematic groups.
Molecular techniques to examine ant ecology, phylogenetics and phylogeography.
Discussion of the biogeography and evolution of European ants

If you are interested in taking part, please contact David Nash (, giving brief details of your status (Ph.D. student/M.Sc. student and how far you are through your project), and a few lines saying how you think you will benefit from the course. Depending on interest and funding, the course may be repeated in future years.

Closing date for applications is 1 July 2012.