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Risk-taking spider behavior in an Arctic desert: A behavioral study of spiders on SW Greenland.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

With rising temperatures and higher precipitation, the Arctic is undergoing the fastest rate of climate change on the planet, leading to shifts in ecosystem species composition. Animal behavior and its response to climatic conditions constitute a crucial link between species survival and Arctic environmental change. However, little is known about soil macro fauna behavior in the Arctic and to what extent climatic conditions may change behavior of spiders, a group of key predators in the Arctic soil food web. In this study, I utilize the strong contrasting conditions in water availability that exist on north- (mesic heath) and south-facing (arid heath) slopes on western Greenland and study if spiders differ in risk-taking behavior because of dry (arid heath) or less dry (mesic heath) conditions. More specifically, I assessed if spiders differ in their preferences for black surfaces (scototaxis) and response to simulated predator attacks, both measures of risk-taking behaviors. I hypothesized that: 1) spiders exhibit scototaxis; and that 2) spiders on south-facing slopes (arid heath) will take more risk than spiders on north-facing slopes (mesic heath). My results indicate that spiders exhibit scototaxis in line with the first hypothesis. Notably, this is the first study to demonstrate this empirically. Furthermore, I could show that spiders on the southern slopes were more risk-prone and that northern slopes are inhabited by a different spider community. Considering ongoing climate change with increasing precipitation, my findings implicate a shift of spider populations to more risk-averse species and individuals in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
climate change, Arctic ecosystems, animal personality, spiders, behavior, scototaxis, Greenland
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-164776OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-164776DiVA, id: diva2:1367056
Available from: 2019-10-31 Created: 2019-10-31 Last updated: 2019-10-31Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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