Scarites, Pardosa, Hogna
Miami University Ecology Research Center
The Rypstra Laboratory





Research

Our study systems are the agricultural fields of southwestern Ohio, which contain an abundance of ground-dwelling wolf spiders and carabid beetles among other arthropods. The small wolf spider, Pardosa milvina, and its larger relative, Hogna helluo, are among the most abundant spiders in these systems, and have been the focal point of much of our research. Recently, we have begun to investigate the role of the ground beetle Scarites quadriceps, as well as other predatory arthropods, in these systems.

Arthropod behaviors and responses to environmental cues: Arthropods are constantly emitting, detecting and responding to chemical, visual, and vibratory cues that contain information about predators, competitors, prey, or potential mates. Our lab actively studies the impacts of these cues on the behaviors and interactions among intraguild predators. Since many of these species regularly prey on one another yet overlap broadly in habitat use, we have been attempting to understand the information they use to recognize one another and how they alter their behaviors in response to such information. We also have been investigating how commonly-applied herbicides may induce certain behavioral shifts and/or disrupt the detection of or response to natural cues.

Food webs and species abundances: We aim to understand the mechanisms that influence predation, herbivory, and relative abundances of predators and prey. We conduct landscape and mesocosm studies in which we manipulate the size and distribution of different habitat types, as well as initial predator and prey densities. By doing this, we are able to measure things such as emigration and foraging rate, and test models of predator interference and functional response.

Sexual selection and offspring sex ratio: Some of our past studies have investigated the factors that influence occurrence of sexual cannibalism in Hogna helluo. We are also actively studying the factors influencing offspring sex ratio in the cellar spider Pholcus phalangioides.

 

Pholcus phalangioides
Department of Zoology | Graduate School | Ecology Research Center | Undergraduate Research Funding