Israel Del Toro

PhD Candidate

B.S., University of Texas El Paso, 2008
M.S., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012

Dissertation/thesis title: Turning up the heat on the little things that run the world: evaluating the impacts of climate change on ant biodiversity in the temperate forest communities of the Northeastern United States

Research Interests

Biogeographical patterns of ant communities in forested ecosystems

1) Macroecology and Biogeography of Ants: What drives ant species distribution patterns? Could the factors that influence ant species distributions also limit the distribution of other key terrestrial invertebrates? I hope to answer some of these questions with my ongoing dissertation research on the biogeography of ants in the Northeastern U.S.

2) Warm Ants: How will climate change impact ant community assembly and the key ecological processes in which ants are key players (e.g. soil movement). The later chapters of my dissertation research.

3) Phylogeography: Ants are all over the place, but how did they get there? How do ant phylogenies look when they are plotted on a map? These are broad questions I hope to answer in the final part of my dissertation or as a post-doc.

4) Biodiversity Exploration: I love going to new places where ants have never been collected before. In the near future I hope to develop a program for biodiversity exploration of the national parks and reserves of Mexico. Mexico’s insect fauna is not yet well documented. I hope to start serious work on this project by 2012.


I. Del Toro, Diversity of Eastern North American Ant Communities along Environmental Gradients. (2013). PLoS ONE. 

I. Del Toro, K. Towle, D. Morrison, S. Pelini. Community Structure, Ecological and Behavioral Traits of Ants in Massachusetts Open and Forested Habitats. (2013) Northeastern Naturalist.

C. Prather, S.L. Pelini, A. Laws, E. Rivest, M. Woltz, C. Bloch, I. Del Toro, C.K. Ho, J. Kominoski, S. Newbold, S. Parsons, J. Anthony. (2013) Invertebrates, ecosystem services and climate change. Biological Reviews.

Diamon, S.E., D.M Sorger, J. .Hulcr, S.L. Pelini, I. Del Toro, C Hirsch, E. Oberg, and R.R. Dunn. (2012). Who likes it hot? A global analysis of the climatic, ecological and evolutionary determinants of warming tolerance in ants. Global Change Biology 18(2)448-456.

Oberg, E., I. Del Toro, S.L. Pelini. (2011). Characterization of the thermal tolerances of forest ants of New England. Insectes Sociaux (In Press) 1-8.

I. Del Toro. K.W. Floyd, D. Borrok. (2010). Heavy metal distribution and bioaccumulation in Chihuahuan Desert Harvester Ant populations. Journal of Environmental Pollution 158(5): 1281-1287.

I. Del Toro, J. Pacheco, W.P. Mackay. 2009. Revision of the Ant Genus Liometopum Mayr (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 53 (2A) 299-369.

I. Del Toro, M. Vazquez, W.P. Mackay, P. Rojas, and R. Zapata-Mata. 2009. Las Hormigas de Tabasco (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Explorando la diversidad de la mirmecofauna en las selvas tropicales de baja altitud. [The Ants of Tabasco (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)].Dugesiana 16:1-14.