August 28, 2019
Often the effects of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, on wildlife can only be estimated after the fact. Typically populations of wildlife are only sampled after the destruction, meaning there is no clear ‘before’ and ‘after’ information.
A researcher from McMaster University, Jonathan Pruitt has been taking an unorthodox approach to this research. Pruitt actively looks for hurricanes, and travels to the locations where they are supposed to hit land in order to gather data right before the storm hits, and then gathers more within 48 hours.
Taking this approach with a particular species of spider, Pruitt was able to survey research sites that would be hit by the storm, as well as control sites that would be untouched by the storm. He was able to determine that more aggressive colonies of Anelosimus studiosus spiders fared better following the storm than timid colonies. While both types of colonies were affected equally by the storms, the aggressive colonies were able to get back on their feet faster by having more offspring, thus enhancing their survival.
Source: Science News
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