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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Southeast Watershed Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331122

Research Project: Ecology and Biologically-based Management Systems for Insect Pests in Agricultural Landscapes in the Southeastern Region

Location: Southeast Watershed Research

Title: Influence of the biogeospatial environment on the distribution of spider communities

item SCHMIDT, JASON - University Of Georgia
item RUSSELL, KATHERINE - University Of Georgia
item Olson, Dawn
item Coffin, Alisa

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/5/2016
Publication Date: 7/5/2016
Citation: Schmidt, J., Russell, K., Olson, D.M., Coffin, A.W. 2016. Influence of the biogeospatial environment on the distribution of spider communities. Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Arachnology in Golden, colorado on July 5, 2016.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The maintenance of local biodiversity is an important aspect of the long-term sustainability of agricultural production. Maintaining biodiversity, especially in regards to predator species, promotes natural pest control and many other ecosystem services. Spiders (Araneae) often prey upon common pest species, making them a beneficial component of agroecosystems. Spider species richness and diversity varies across landscapes and is often correlated with certain abiotic factors. This project investigates how four geospatial attributes – elevation, soil moisture, NDVI, and distance to edge habitat – influence spider species distributions across a farm-scape in South Georgia. Samples for the project were obtained from pitfall traps placed along a grid pattern within a farm-scape in the Tift county area. Spiders were later removed, preserved in alcohol, and counted and identified to lowest taxon possible. Species data were compiled and correlated with the four selected attributes using multivariate methods and geospatial statistics. Preliminary analysis shows at least 12 different species of spiders present across the contrasting cotton farm-scapes, and one bioenergy feedstock, Miscanthus giganteus. The wolf spiders (Lycosidae) numerically dominated the communities. Further identification of spiders and more in-depth analysis of the data will allow for greater exploration of the relationship between spider abundance, diversity, and the farm-scape’s geospatial attributes. Ultimately, the results should help growers identify potential spider hotspots within their farm-scapes, which could then be maintained to promote healthy populations of these beneficial predators.