Clint Penick

Post-doc | Dunn Lab

I am interested in the evolution of social traits, especially within societies of ants and other social insects.

Like the individuals that form them, societies themselves can have traits and features that are shaped by natural selection. Colonies have a lifespan, exhibit differences in division of labor, and respond adaptively to changes in their environment. Focusing on social insects, I am interested in how interactions within societies influence colony-level traits. I have studied social dominance hierarchies and queen determination in ants from southern India, how colonies respond to temperature change across the eastern United Sates, and how human activities influence ant communities in Manhattan, NYC. Beyond research, I have interests in writing about science for the public and developing projects in design.

On the Web

Twitter: @clintpenick
Before They Were Scientists: Clint Penick


Clint’s Creations

Recent Publications

Lucas, J.M., Madden, A.A., Penick, C.A., Epps, M.J., Marting, P.R., Stevens, J.L., Fergus, D.J., Dunn, R.R. and Meineke, E.K. (2019) Azteca ants maintain unique microbiomes across functionally distinct nest chambers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B286(1908), p.20191026

Lau, M.K., Ellison, A.M., Nguyen, A., Penick, C., DeMarco, B., Gotelli, N.J., Sanders, N.J., Dunn, R.R. and Cahan, S.H., 2019. Draft Aphaenogaster genomes expand our view of ant genome size variation across climate gradients. PeerJ7, p.e6447.

Beasley, D.E., Penick, C.A., Boateng, N.S.*, Menninger, H.L. and Dunn, R.R. (2018). Urbanization disrupts latitude-size rule in 17-year cicadas. Ecol. Evol. 00: 1 – 8

Penick CA, Diamond SE, Sanders NJ, Dunn RR (2017) Beyond thermal limits: Comprehensive metrics of performance identify key axes of thermal adaptation in ants. Functional Ecology 31: 1091-1100.

Diamond SE, Chick L, Penick CA, Nichols LM, Cahan SH, Dunn RR, Ellison AM, Sanders NJ, Gotelli NJ. (2017) Heat tolerance predicts the importance of species interaction effects as the climate changes. Integrative and Comparative Biology 57:112-120.

MacLean, H.J., Penick, C.A., Dunn, R.R., Diamond, S.E. (2017) Experimental winter warming modifies thermal performance and primes acorn ants for warm weather. Journal of Insect Physiology. 100: 77-81.

Diamond, S.E., Nichols, L.M., Pelini, S.L., Penick, C.A., Barber, G.W., Cahan, S.H., Dunn, R.R., Ellison, A.M., Sanders, N.J., and Gotelli, N.J. (2016). Climatic warming destabilizes forest ant communities. Science Advances 2(10). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600842. View PDF.

Karlik, J., Epps, M.J., Dunn, R.R., and Penick, C.A. (2016). Life Inside an Acorn: How Microclimate and Microbes Influence Nest Organization in Temnothorax Ants. Ethology 122, 790–797. doi:10.1111/eth.12525. View PDF.

Penick, C.A., Crofton, C.A., Appler, R.H., Frank, S.D., Dunn, R.R., and Tarpy, D.R. (2016). The contribution of human foods to honey bee diets in a mid-sized metropolis. Journal of Urban Ecology 2(1). DOI: 10.1093/jue/juw001. View PDF.

Diamond, S. E., C. Penick, S. L. Pelini, A. M. Ellison, N. J. Gotelli, N. J. Sanders, and Dunn RR. (2013). Using physiology to predict the responses of ants to climatic warming. Integrative and Comparative Biology 53:965-974. View PDF.

Additional Publications

Penick, C. A., C. S. Brent, K. Dolezal, and J. Liebig. 2014. Neurohormonal changes associated with ritualized combat and the formation of a reproductive hierarchy in the ant Harpegnathos saltator. Journal of Experimental Biology (online first).

Penick, C. A., R. N. Copple, R. A. Mendez, and A. A. Smith. 2012. The role of anchor-tipped larval hairs in the organization of ant colonies. PLoS ONE 7(7): e41595

Penick, C. A., S. S. Prager, and J. Liebig. 2012. Juvenile hormone induces queen development in late-stage larvae of the ant Harpegnathos saltator. Journal of Insect Physiology 58:1643-1649.

Penick, C. A., and J. Liebig. 2012. Regulation of queen development through worker aggression in a predatory ant. Behavioral Ecology 23:992-998.

Holbrook, C. T., R. M. Clark, D. Moore, R. P. Overson, C. A. Penick, and A. A. Smith. 2010. Social insects inspire human design. Biology Letters 6:431-433.

Penick, C. A., and W. R. Tschinkel. 2008. Thermoregulatory brood transport in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Insectes Sociaux 55:176-182.

In the Press