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.
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
O2 stable hydrogenases for applications
23.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Energiekonversion
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
23.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.07.2018 | Information Technology
23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine