- Ants are vital members of most terrestrial habitats. Ants, stinging wasps in the family Formicidae, are one of the greatest success stories in the history of terrestrial life. These eusocial organisms, numbering over 12,000 described (and perhaps 8,000 more undescribed) species, monopolize 15-20% of the total animal biomass in most ecosystems, where they participate in complex symbioses with plant species in over 52 families, thousands of arthropod species, and as-yet unknown numbers of fungi and microorganisms. NMNH scientists and colleagues from UC Davis and California Academy of Sciences have applied genetic information to reconstruct the ant Tree of Life and to reveal their interactions with other insects, fungi, and bacteria. Genomics has revolutionized the impact of genetics on biodiversity science, and now entire genomes are being applied to these studies at a rapid pace. GGI will help provide the specimens, infrastructure, and scientific input for efforts to document and analyze genomes from across the ant Tree of Life. Efforts to reconstruct the genomic Tree of Life would be a lengthy and inefficient process without GGI. Image courtesy of Ted Schultz and Seán Brady.