Ants in your Pants: Terry McGlynn joins Real Scientists

We’d like to thank the wonderful Carly Monks for her fantastic tweets over the course of last week. She gave us such a great insight into the methods of  anthropology as well as to history of Australia, especially Indigenous Australia.

Meet Prof Terry McGlynn!

Meet Prof Terry McGlynn!

It’s time to welcome our next curator, Dr Terry McGlynn (@hormiga),  Professor of Biology at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  Terry did his PhD in Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Houston. Terry’s work is mostly about ants. His research is chiefly conducted in tropical rainforests in search of explanations for mysterious patterns found in nature, emphasizing those found in colonies and communities of ants. To better explain these mysteries, Prof McGlynn combines observational and manipulative field experiments, informed by natural history, to understand how animals respond to occurring ecological conditions. Most labs are run by a majority of postdocs and graduate students, and Terry’s lab is a little usual in that regard. His lab is principally run by undergraduate researchers and is designed to advance the scientific careers of first-generation university students, which we think is fabulous. We asked Terry our usual set of questions and here he is in his own words.


I wanted to understand how consciousness and feelings can emerge from mere meat. So I became a Philosophy/Psychology double major. I took Intro to Philosophy, and dropped the Philosophy part and switch to Psychobiology. Then I took Intro to Psychology, and dropped the Psycho part. So then I became a biologist. At one point I realized that ecology, behavior, biogeography, evolution and insects are really cool and that I could make a living working on that.IMG_4966


I love research to understand the natural world, and training students to do the same thing. My university has some of the best students around and it’s a consistent joy to work with them.


I’m working to solve mysterious things about ants in rainforests. I do this by working with collaborators and students in Costa Rica, where we design all kinds of experiments involving bullet ants, gypsy ants, thieving ants, and more. I also teach some, and do things to help the university run.


The moment we stop learning about the natural world, we stop growing. Also, my lab is building a better and more equitable science community by primarily training students from underrepresented groups to become scientists.


Extracurricular Activities: I have a podcast – Not Just Scientists, and a blog – Small Pond Science.

I feels like most of my time is divided among parenting, sciencing, teaching, and mentoring. If I have free time, I like to travel to new places, to read literary fiction, I run on the majority of days, and of course I like to spend time with my family.

Ideal Day Off: I’d get an extra hour or two of sleep, read the newspaper over breakfast with my family, go for a walk somewhere beautiful, visit a museum, have a well-prepared dinner, and maybe some time to read a novel.


Please welcome Terry McGlynn/@hormiga to Real Scientists!


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