Step 1: Find a patch. For our study, a patch is a continuous 25 m^2 area of a certain urban habitat type. Habitat types included were grassy patches, garden beds, areas beneath evergreen trees, and bare soil sites. Typical mulch and grass sites are shown below.
Step 2: Collect ants for 15 - 20 minutes depending on the presence of vegetation. This includes scanning the ground for ants, along with sifting whatever substrate is around (wood chips, grass sod, etc) for ants. We also collect ants that are crawling on trees within the patch at this time. Surveying was done both during daytime and at night.
Step 3: Record stuff. We write down environmental variables like temperature, humidity, soil moisture, soil PH, along with patch variables like percent tree cover, tree density, substrate type, depth, etc. We hope to later determine what enviromental and patch variables correlate best with ant species presence and abundance.