Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spiders check weather before take-off

28.03.2007
New research could explain why spiders flying on a strand of silk prefer cloudy days in spring or autumn for their travels. Results of the study could also lead to a non-chemical alternative to pesticides in crop management.

By casting a silk thread into the wind spiders can ride the currents for distances ranging from a few metres to hundreds of miles, carrying them out of danger or into new territory. But scientists have puzzled over why 'spider ballooning' peaks during spring and autumn but declines in windy and sunny weather, when sunshine produces more updraughts helpful for take-off.

A research team at Rothamsted Research, a sponsored institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has developed a model showing that light breezes and moderately warm weather - typically in spring and autumn - provides the best spider ballooning conditions.

The team of biologists and mathematicians found the best flight weather by calculating travelling distances under different conditions of wind and sun. Hot days will produce more updraughts but without sufficient wind the spiders are not able to drift anywhere. On the other hand, if the wind becomes too strong the updraughts are disrupted, making flight impossible.

... more about:
»Pest »Weather

Since spiders prey on pests like mites and aphids, predicting spider ballooning peaks is important for crop management, explains Dr Andy Reynolds at Rothamsted Research. "Each day of the growing season around 1800 spiders land in each hectare of arable farmland after ballooning. If the farmers can predict the influx of spiders, they can reduce the amount of pesticides accordingly," says Dr Reynolds.

The research team is planning field experiments to test the model, which could be relevant also for other organisms using the wind for transport, including mites and viruses.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "This research is a good example of interdisciplinary collaboration, where biologists and mathematicians together have produced new knowledge which can help lead to environment-friendly pest control."

Press Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

Further reports about: Pest Weather

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another

27.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>