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Save the Ant, Save the Planet? - Brian Fisher

Complete video at: Brian Fisher, entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences, delves into the world of taxonomy and ants by explaining his study of biodiversity in Madagascar. Fisher shares the exciting new developments of DNA barcoding, AntWeb, and applications for smart phones to catalog and identify ants. ----- Ants may be tiny, but they play a huge role in their ecosystems. In fact, biologists estimate that the collective weight of all the ants on Earth is equal to the weight of all humans. In this talk, Dr. Brian Fisher describes the unique behaviors and incredible adaptations of our planet's most charismatic small animals. See how ants farm, hunt and tend "herds of livestock". Learn how primitive Dracula ants feed on their sisters' blood. Watch the fastest recorded movement of any animal -- a feisty ant with lightening-quick jaws that Dr. Fisher filmed with one of the world's most advanced high-speed cameras. You'll also learn about Dr. Fisher's conservation efforts in Madagascar and gain new respect for our smallest neighbors. - California Academy of Sciences Brian L. Fisher, Chairman of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences, is an ant systematist who specializes in the large-scale discovery, description and naming of African and Malagasy ants. In the past few years, he has discovered over 800 new species of ants in Madagascar alone, including the Madagascar Dracula Ant a find that is helping scientists to understand the evolution of ants from wasps. Fisher also maps diversity patterns and uses them to instruct land management and conservation decisions. His inventory work in Africa and Madagascar demonstrates the feasibility and challenges of conducting global biodiversity inventories. He is currently developing technologies for collaborative taxonomy, which will accelerate the process of identification and description of new species with products accessible across a broad community of users (see He also has particular interest in the evolution of the early lineages of ants and is dedicated to instructing the next generation of ant systematists.
Length: 11:07


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