Earth Science News  





. Amber Reveals Ecology Of 30 Million Year Old Spiders

file photo
by Staff Writers
Manchester UK (SPX) Mar 02, 2006
Scientists at The University of Manchester and the Manchester Metropolitan University have carried out the first comparative scientific study of ancient spiders trapped in amber more than 30 millions years ago.

The study of fossilised spiders from the Baltic (Poland) and the Dominican (Caribbean) regions has revealed new insights into the ecologies of spiders dating back to the Cenozoic period.

It is the first time ancient spiders from different parts of the world have been compared on such a large scale. 671 species of spiders were compared in the study which is published in the March issue of the Royal Society's Journal Biology Letters.

Palaeoarachnologist Dr David Penney, of The University of Manchester's School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences who led the research, said: "Amber provides a unique window into past forest ecosystems. It retains an incredible amount of information, not just about the spiders themselves, but also about the environment in which they lived.

"We have not only been able to compare the size distributions of over 600 spiders but we have also been able to gain unique insights into the forest in which they lived."

By analysing the size distributions of the spiders and comparing the distinct hunting traits of each species, Dr Penney found that web-spinning spiders were bigger in Baltic amber than in Dominican amber, but that there was no difference between hunting spiders in either region. It was also found the fauna of the amber producing trees in each region accounted for this difference in size.

"Several lines of evidence show that greater structural complexity of Baltic compared to Dominican amber trees explains the presence of larger web-spinners. The Dominican trees are long, thin and smooth whereas the Baltic trees are wide and bushy, providing a much better environment for web-spinners to prosper," says Dr Penney.

The study demonstrates for the first time that spiders trapped in amber can be scientifically compared across deep time (30 million years). This is due to the fact that until now it was unknown whether the amber resins were trapping organisms uniformly. This study proves they were.

Related Links
University of Manchester
Manchester Metropolitan University

Reducing Conflict Between Humans And Carnivores
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 02, 2006
Effective management of predation on livestock is essential to the conservation of large carnivores, because conflicts with human interests can be fatal to individual predators and may lead to the decline of populations of wolves, lions, leopards, cheetahs, coyotes, and spotted hyenas.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • High Post-Hurricane Rents Push People Out Of New Orleans
  • White House Demands Whirlwind Changes To Hurricane Response
  • Military To Plan For Larger Role In Disaster Relief
  • Urgent Change Needed To Hurricane Response

  • Massive Ancient Flood Linked To Climate Change
  • Fossil Wood Gives Vital Clues To Ancient Climates
  • NASA Under Pressure To Ensure Researcher Independence
  • Greenland Glaciers Dumping Ice Into Atlantic At Faster Pace

  • ESA Satellite Program Monitors Dangerous Ocean Eddies
  • Envisat Marks Fours Year In ESA Mission To Planet Earth
  • Boeing To Process Radar Data From Endeavour
  • NASA Awards Ocean Color Research Support Services Contract

  • Portugal Gets Four Bids In Wind Farm Tender
  • Think Solar Not Nuclear For The Energy Of The Future
  • Managing Coal Combustion Residues In Mines
  • Running A French Farm On Rapeseed Oil And Manure

  • Crippling Indian Ocean Epidemic Detected in France
  • People of African Descent More Vulnerable to TB
  • Americans Downplay Widespread Outbreak Of Avian Flu In Next Year
  • Learning To Love Bacteria

  • Reducing Conflict Between Humans And Carnivores
  • Amber Reveals Ecology Of 30 Million Year Old Spiders
  • Sex: Why Bother? Evolutionary Mysteries Probed At UH
  • Ecosystem In Suspended Animation

  • Suez Tanker Spill Damage At 12 Million Dollars
  • China Ranks Among World's Most Wasteful Users Of Resources
  • Tanker Spills Fuel After Suez Canal Accident
  • China Reports Desert Getting Smaller

  • Role Of 'Showoff Hypothesis' In Social Decisions Investigated
  • Study Of Dinosaurs Part Of Pitt's Plan To Graduate Better Doctors
  • The Evolution Of Right And Left Handedness
  • Better Carbon Dating Revises Some History

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement