Spiders after snow melt

Speaking of the Journal of Arachnology – a big congratulation to Raphael Royaute for getting his first paper accepted in JoA (the acceptance notice came this morning).  As mentioned in a previous post, the hard work in manuscript preparation had paid off.  This work was a product of Raphael’s ‘internship’ in the lab quite a few years ago.  Raphael spent about six months with us prior to beginning graduate school, and during this time, we devised a little project with a goal of understanding what happens to spiders in agroecosystems immediately after snowmelt.   Working at the Macdonald Campus Farm (a working farm, located just a couple of km from our campus) Raphael and I dug in traps in the very early spring – here are a couple of photos of the event:

Raphael (left) and Chris (right), working hard.

Raphael studied the effect of distance (i.e., to a forest border) as well as effects of agronomic disturbance (i.e., tilling, planting) on spider assemblages.  He also looked at directional movement of spiders by having ‘drift fences’ around pitfall traps – to see whether spiders are moving from the border into the corn fields, or vice versa.  Raphael collected over 70 species of spiders with this project, and he found a significant effect of “border”, and has strong evidence that spiders are very active in cornfields immediately after snow-melt.  This is something that arachnologists often anecdotally observe, but Raphael’s research provides data to back up the observations.    This work, titled “Colonization dynamics of agroecosystem spider assemblages after snow-melt in Quebec (Canada)” is now accepted in Journal of Arachnology and will likely appear in print sometime in 2012.

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2 thoughts on “Spiders after snow melt

  1. Pingback: The Bug Geek meets Spider Man | Arthropod Ecology

  2. Pingback: Congratulations to the new Doctor of spider behaviour | Arthropod Ecology

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