AntWars

The AntWars (La Guerre des fourmis, in French) depicts a young, passionate scientist telling her friend about her studies on ants; the friend has a rather vivid imagination and transforms the explanations into her own delirium.

A Review compiled by Franck Courchamp

Although I’ve always found ants fascinating, it took me years as a scientist to realize how interesting they could be for research in ecology. After one or two timid incursions into this new field, I eventually decided in 2008 to get serious about it and start research programs focused on invasive ants. With the help of a great team, we conducted a series of studies in the field, in the lab and in silico (with statistical data analyses and species distribution models).

Because the public is generally very fond of info about ants, our studies were generally well covered by the press. We had all the ingredients: ants, biological invasions, climate change, mazes, fights between terrific species, everything to help build fascinating stories based on scientific research. I’ve always thought that our role as scientists encompassed communication to the public about our science. So, encouraged by the enthusiasm of the journalists but frustrated never to be able to tell a complete story, I decided to regroup most of our studies into one single format for the public. Because it still had to remain digest, I decided to opt for a comic, a format that is dear to the French, who have always been very active in what they call the 9th art. I had the story in mind, knew the style I wanted to use, but couldn’t draw an ant egg if my life depended on it. Remained to find an illustrator. In 2015, In Quito, Ecuador, I met with Mathieu Ughetti, who had been invited to illustrate the scientific presentations during a meeting there, and who I thought had done a wonderful job. I told him my project, and here we are now today, with an amazing comic full of scientists and ants (and a few termites as well, but not too many, don’t worry).

The AntWars (La Guerre des fourmis, in French) depicts a young, passionate scientist telling her friend about her studies on ants; the friend has a rather vivid imagination and transforms the explanations into her own delirium. We plan to make it in English as well and are still collecting funds for it. If we have enough money, we might even do it in Spanish.

The comic is for the public, so as a science popularization project, it will be free and available for all, on the Internet.

Starting 25 May 2018, a new episode will be posted every week (there are six of them) and between them, we’ll post everyday on social networks an original cartoon, a fun-fact, or a link to an amazing video on ants.

So, if you are interested in ants (I’d really be surprised if you’re not), do have a look at the comic: http://www.laguerredesfourmis.com/

And if you think this endeavour is worth it, please share it around you. You can use either our Facebook (@laguerredesfourmis) or our Twitter (@guerrefourmis) page.

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