Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 170, Issue 3, pp 651–657 | Cite as

Effects of extreme climatic events on small-scale spatial patterns: a 20-year study of the distribution of a desert spider

  • Klaus BirkhoferEmail author
  • Joh Henschel
  • Yael Lubin
Population ecology - Original research

Abstract

Individuals of most animal species are non-randomly distributed in space. Extreme climatic events are often ignored as potential drivers of distribution patterns, and the role of such events is difficult to assess. Seothyra henscheli (Araneae, Eresidae) is a sedentary spider found in the Namib dunes in Namibia. The spider constructs a sticky-edged silk web on the sand surface, connected to a vertical, silk-lined burrow. Above-ground web structures can be damaged by strong winds or heavy rainfall, and during dispersal spiders are susceptible to environmental extremes. Locations of burrows were mapped in three field sites in 16 out of 20 years from 1987 to 2007, and these grid-based data were used to identify the relationship between spatial patterns, climatic extremes and sampling year. According to Morisita’s index, individuals had an aggregated distribution in most years and field sites, and Geary’s C suggests clustering up to scales of 2 m. Individuals were more aggregated in years with high maximum wind speed and low annual precipitation. Our results suggest that clustering is a temporally stable property of populations that holds even under fluctuating burrow densities. Climatic extremes, however, affect the intensity of clustering behaviour: individuals seem to be better protected in field sites with many conspecific neighbours. We suggest that burrow-site selection is driven at least partly by conspecific cuing, and this behaviour may protect populations from collapse during extreme climatic events.

Keywords

Aggregation Araneae Climate Conspecific cuing Spatial analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism granted permission for this long-term project to be conducted in the Namib-Naukluft Park. We are grateful for field assistance by research technicians and interns from the Gobabeb Training and Research Centre. We further wish to thank three anonymous referees for their comments. This is publication number 768 of the Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology.

References

  1. Anderson MJ, Gorley RN, Clarke KR (2008) PERMANOVA + for primer: guide to software and statistical methods. PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  2. Besler H, Gut S (1997) Untersuchungen zum Feuchtehaushalt in Dünen am Beispiel der Namib/Namibia. Kölner Geogr Arb Sonderf Afr 13:39–47Google Scholar
  3. Birkhofer K, Henschel JR, Scheu S (2006) Spatial-pattern analysis in a territorial spider: evidence for multi-scale effects. Ecography 29:641–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Birkhofer K, Scheu S, Wise DH (2007) Small-scale spatial pattern of web-building spiders (Araneae) in alfalfa: relationship to disturbance from cutting, prey availability, and intraguild interactions. Environ Entomol 36:801–810PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birkhofer K, Scheu S, Wiegand T (2010) Assessing spatiotemporal predator-prey patterns in heterogeneous habitats. Basic Appl Ecol 11:486–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Birkhofer K, Wolters V, Diekötter T (2011) Density-dependent and -independent effects on the joint use of space by predators and prey in terrestrial arthropod food-webs. Oikos 120:1705–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarke KR, Gorley RN (2006) PRIMER v6: user manual/tutorial. PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  9. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  10. Cliff AD, Ord JK (1981) Spatial processes: models and applications. Pion, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Easterling DR, Meehl GA, Parmesan C, Changnon SA, Karl TR, Mearns LO (2000) Climate extremes: observations, modeling, and impacts. Science 289:2068–2074PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eichelberger S, McCaa J, Nijssen B, Wood A (2008) Climate change effects on wind speed. N Am Windpower 7:68–72Google Scholar
  13. Ettema CH, Wardle DA (2002) Spatial soil ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 17:177–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Geary RC (1954) The contiguity ratio and statistical mapping. Inc Stat 5:115–145Google Scholar
  15. Gotelli NJ, Ellison AM (2004) A primer o ecological statistics. Sinauer, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  16. Grant BR, Grant PR (1993) Evolution of Darwin finches caused by a rare climatic event. Proc R Soc Lond B 251:111–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guichard F, Steenweg R (2008) Intrinsic and extrinsic causes of spatial variability across scales in a metacommunity. J Theor Biol 250:113–124PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guo K, Hao SG, Sun OJ, Kang L (2009) Differential responses to warming and increased precipitation among three contrasting grasshopper species. Glob Change Biol 15:2539–2548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harrington R, Clark SJ, Welham SJ, Verrier PJ, Denholm CH, Hulle M, Maurice D, Rounsevell MD, Cocu N, European Union Examine Consortium (2007) Environmental change and the phenology of European aphids. Glob Change Biol 13:1550–1564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Henschel JR, Lubin YD (1992) Environmental factors affecting the web and activity of a psammophilous spider in the Namib desert. J Arid Environ 22:173–189Google Scholar
  21. Henschel JR, Lubin YD (1997) Site selection at two spatial scales by a sit-and-wait predator. J Anim Ecol 66:401–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hodge MA, Storfer-Isser A (1997) Conspecific and heterospecific attraction: a mechanism of web-site selection leading to aggregation formation by web-building spiders. Ethology 103:815–826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hodkinson ID, Webb NR, Bale JS, Block W, Coulson SJ, Strathdee AT (1998) Global change and Arctic ecosystems: conclusions and predictions from experiments with terrestrial invertebrates on spitsbergen. Arct Alp Res 30:306–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Holmgren M, Scheffer M, Ezcurra E, Gutierrez JR, Mohren GMJ (2001) El Nino effects on the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems. Trends Ecol Evol 16:89–94PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holmgren M, Stapp P, Dickman CR, Gracia C, Graham S, Gutierrez JR, Hice C, Jaksic F, Kelt DA, Letnic M, Lima M, Lopez BC, Meserve PL, Milstead WB, Polis GA, Previtali MA, Michael R, Sabate S, Squeo FA (2006) Extreme climatic events shape arid and semiarid ecosystems. Front Ecol Environ 4:87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hurlbert SH (1990) Spatial-distribution of the montane unicorn. Oikos 58:257–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kie JG, Bowyer RT, Nicholson MC, Boroski BB, Loft ER (2002) Landscape heterogeneity at differing scales: effects on spatial distribution of mule deer. Ecology 83:530–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Krebs CJ (1999) Ecological methodology. Addison-Wesley, Menlo ParkGoogle Scholar
  29. Ladanyi M, Horvath L (2010) A review of the potential climate change impact on insect populations—general and agricultural aspects. Appl Ecol Environ Res 8:143–152Google Scholar
  30. Lancaster J, Lancaster N, Seely MK (1984) Climate of the central Namib. Madoqua 14:5–61Google Scholar
  31. Legendre P, Legendre L (1998) Numerical ecology. Elsevie, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  32. Levin SA (1992) The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73:1943–1967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lubin YD, Henschel JR (1996) The influence of food supply on foraging decisions in a desert spider. Oecologia 105:64–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lubin YD, Hennicke J, Schneider J (1998) Natal philopatry and settling decisions of dispersing Stegodyphus lineatus (Eresidae) young. Israel J Zool 44:217–226Google Scholar
  35. Lubin YD, Henschel JR, Baker MB (2001) Costs of aggregation: shadow competition in a sit-and-wait predator. Oikos 95:59–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mcardle BH, Anderson MJ (2001) Fitting multivariate models to community data: a comment on distance-based redundancy analysis. Ecology 82:290–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Morisita M (1959) Measuring of the dispersion of individuals and analysis of the distributional patterns. Mem Fac Sci Kyushu Univ Ser E 2:215–235Google Scholar
  38. Parmesan C, Root TL, Willig MR (2000) Impacts of extreme weather and climate on terrestrial biota. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 81:443–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perry JN, Liebhold AM, Rosenberg MS, Dungan J, Miriti M, Jakomulska A, Citron-Pousty S (2002) Illustrations and guidelines for selecting statistical methods for quantifying spatial pattern in ecological data. Ecography 25:578–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Porter JH, Parry ML, Carter TR (1991) The potential effects of climatic-change on agricultural insect pests. Agr Fort Meteorol 57:221–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Robinet C, Roques A (2010) Direct impacts of recent climate warming on insect populations. Integr Zool 5:132–142PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rosenberg MS, Anderson CD (2011) PASSaGE: pattern analysis, spatial statistics and geographic exegesis. Version 2. Methods Ecol Evol 2:229–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Roy DB, Sparks TH (2000) Phenology of British butterflies and climate change. Glob Change Biol 6:407–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thibault KM, Brown JH (2008) Impact of an extreme climatic event on community assembly. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:3410–3415PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wiens JA (1989) Spatial scaling in ecology. Funct Ecol 3:385–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Williams DW, Liebhold AM (1995) Herbivorous insects and global change: potential changes in the spatial distribution of forest defoliator outbreaks. J Biogeogr 22:665–671CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Willig MR, Presley SJ, Bloch CP (2011) Long-term dynamics of tropical walking sticks in response to multiple large-scale and intense disturbances. Oecologia 165:357–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Biodiversity and Conservation ScienceLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Gobabeb Training and Research CentreWalvis BayNamibia
  3. 3.Mitrani Department of Desert EcologyBlaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

Personalised recommendations