congresos y reuniones científicas
The ant collection (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of the Javeriana Natural History Museum: an important tool for biodiversity studies and conservation
Congreso; 8th International Congress of Hymenopterists; 2014
Biological collections are an important source of information about the past and current biodiversity of our planet. Each record represents the spatial and temporal occurrence of an organism. Every single specimen has the potential to allow researchers to deepen the understanding of biodiversity and their historical patterns. Ants significantly influence the ecological dynamics of ecosystems and establish multiple relationships with other insects and plants. This makes them suitable for numerous taxonomic, ecological and sociobiological research. Because they are conspicuous and easily identifiable to generic level, ants allow to quickly extract biological information from particular ecosystems. Biological collections support this task by serving as taxonomic reference and repositories, which helps to document temporal changes in biota. Here we present the state of the ant collection of the Javeriana Natural History Museum, Lorenzo Uribe S.J. (MPUJ) located at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia) highlighting its achievements, challenges and future. For this, we analyzed the Formicidae information of the MPUJ entomology collection database and compared it to the information published by other Colombian collections. In order to spatially visualize the representation of the collection, we elaborated maps that relate localities, species and records. To date there is very little published information about ants in Colombian collections, just some small catalogs and published information in databases such as the Biodiversity Information System of Colombia. The MPUJ collection has a total of 10,742 Formicidae records (70% ETOH / 30% pinned dry), with localities that cover a wide geographic range (315 localities in 21 departments). It also contains 36% of species and 70% of ant genera known to Colombia. These values can be considered significant and together with its geographical coverage illustrate much of the panorama of the occurrence of ants in the country. As for the historical representation it is a relatively young collection, but it also has specimens dating from the early ?60s. We are making great curatorial efforts, such as georeferencing older localities, sorting and identification of raw samples, and species identification by specialists. The information obtained can generate new priorities in the study of new habitats and localities that are still unexplored in the country (as the Chocó and ?piedememonte llanero?) and serve as baseline data for future studies of environmental change and conservation.