Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Southeast Watershed Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333309

Research Project: Enhancing Environmental Quality and Ecosystem Services in Southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Southeast Watershed Research

Title: Investigating the influence of geospatial attributes on spider species richness and diversity

Author
item Russell, Katherine - University Of Georgia
item Coffin, Alisa
item Olson, Dawn
item Strickland, Timothy - Tim
item Schmidt, Jason - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: International Congress of Entomology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2016
Publication Date: 9/26/2016
Citation: Russell, K., Coffin, A.W., Olson, D.M., Strickland, T.C., Schmidt, J. 2016. Investigating the influence of geospatial attributes on spider species richness and diversity. International Congress of Entomology. 2016 XXV International Congress of Entomology, September 25-30, 2016, Orlando, FL.

Interpretive Summary: The maintenance of 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 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, vegetation, and distance to edge habitat – influence spider species distributions within three crops: a biofuel feedstock (Miscanthus giganteus), irrigated cotton, and dryland cotton. It is hypothesized that the abundance and diversity of spiders will be greatest on the edges of the fields and lowest in the centers. Samples were obtained from pitfall traps placed in a grid pattern within Miscanthus and cotton fields in south Georgia, USA. Spiders were later removed, preserved, manually counted and identified. Counts and species data were compiled into a spreadsheet and correlated with the four selected attributes using multivariate methods and geospatial statistics. Final results are pending. Preliminary analysis shows at least 12 different species of spiders present across the farm-scape, with wolf spiders numerically dominating 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.

Technical Abstract: The maintenance of 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 within three crops: a biofuel feedstock, Miscanthus giganteus, irrigated cotton, and dryland cotton. It is hypothesized that the abundance and diversity of spiders will be greatest on the edges of the fields and lowest in the centers. Samples were obtained from pitfall traps placed in a grid pattern within Miscanthus and cotton fields in south Georgia, USA. Spiders were later removed, preserved, manually counted and identified. Counts and species data were compiled into a spreadsheet and correlated with the four selected attributes using multivariate methods and geospatial statistics. Final results are pending. Preliminary analysis shows at least 12 different species of spiders present across the farm-scape, with wolf spiders (Lycosidae) numerically dominating 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.