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.
- Thermal performance traits in ants
- Beats Per Life
- Mites living on ant faces and termites
- Ant nest microbiome
- Arthropod composition in warming chamber pitfalls
- Do ants eat mushrooms? and implications for spore dispersal
- Anthropogenic Food Inputs and the Nutritional Ecology of Urban Arthropods | Urban Ecology
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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinsphys.2017.05.010
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.
Penick CA, Savage AM, and RR Dunn. 2015. Stable isotopes reveal links between human food inputs and urban ant diets. Proc. R. Soc. B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2608.
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.
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
WIRED June 8, 2015 – Features the research of Clint Penick.