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 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.