Ascension Island is a remote volcanic outpost in the South Atlantic Ocean and a UK Overseas Territory (UKOT) located midway between Angola and Brazil.
While the island and its surrounding waters are rich with biodiversity – serving as a critical stopping place for migratory species – the biodiversity and ecological systems on Ascension Island are threatened by invasive alien species, with ants being one of the most harmful groups.
The introduction of invasive ants has resulted in the decline of birds, land crabs, and other invertebrates in many tropical and subtropical island ecosystems.
Back in October, Adam Sharp – Ascension Island Invertebrate Project Officer – visited Fera Science to receive training from Noel Tawatao on conducting ant survey’s before heading off for a two- and a half-year placement.
Noel also made him some special equipment (that resemble giant socks) for extracting ants from soil and leaf litter. Adam will be submitting samples of ants to Fera Science for identification – where we will provide advice on risks and biosecurity.
If this Defra funded pilot study is successful, it may be extended to other UKOTs in the future.
To learn more about the research and biosecurity support that Fera Science continues to provide for the UK Overseas Territories, you can visit the GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) website here. Or to find out more about the full breadth of our Crop Health diagnostics capability, you can click here to find out more.
Click here to view or download our ‘Whole Food System’ Science Strategy.