Current anticipated climate change suggests that average global temperature will continue to rise and will cause species ranges to shift to higher latitudes and altitudes. In general, species that are tolerant to a wide range of temperatures and water availability will be able to adapt to changing global temperatures opposed to those who have smaller ranges. In the light of global climate change, many symbioses have been studied regarding stress-induced and adaptive evolution, however, one symbiosis yet to be thoroughly considered is that between fungal-gardening ants and their fungal symbionts. In the following studies, we lay foundation for such work. First, we created species distribution models for eight species of Trachymyrmex found within the United States. From these models, we have provided evidence that temperature is one the limiting factors within all presented species. Secondly, we have conducted cold-tolerance assays on Trachymyrmex septentrionalis, an attine species with one of the largest distributions and latitudinal clines among all fungal-gardening ants. This species is an ideal organism to investigate cold-stress adaptation, as we can evaluate cold-tolerance of both the ant and the fungus. We have concluded that both the ants and fungal cultivar have adapted to be cold-tolerant in their northern ranges. From these studies, we may be able to predict how attines, other species of ants, and insects may respond to climate change.

Date of publication

Spring 5-16-2019

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Katrin Kellner, Jon N. Seal, Josh Banta


Masters of Biological Science

Available for download on Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Included in

Biology Commons