Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 3141–3155 | Cite as

Using spider web types as a substitute for assessing web-building spider biodiversity and the success of habitat restoration

  • John R. Gollan
  • Helen M. Smith
  • Matthew Bulbert
  • Andrew P. Donnelly
  • Lance Wilkie
Original Paper


Arthropods have been regarded as good indicators of habitat quality due to their sensitivity to changes in habitat state. However, there are many constraints to working with arthropods that make them inaccessible to land managers and most volunteer-driven initiatives. Our study examined a novel approach for detecting changes in web-building spider communities by focussing on the types of webs that spiders build rather than the spider itself. This method was cost-effective, easy-to-use, and importantly, we found a strong congruency between the diversity of web architecture and the diversity of web-building spider genera. The metrics derived from this method could distinguish differences in web-building communities among habitat types that represented a successional gradient, and thus we concluded that the method was useful for monitoring the progress of restoration. Many other applications for the method are possible such as environmental impact assessment and agricultural pest management, and we encourage development in these areas.


Araneae Citizen science Cost-effective Indicator Invertebrate 

Supplementary material

10531_2010_9882_MOESM1_ESM.ppt (35.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPT 36666 kb)
10531_2010_9882_MOESM2_ESM.doc (3.8 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 3913 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Gollan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Helen M. Smith
    • 1
  • Matthew Bulbert
    • 1
    • 3
  • Andrew P. Donnelly
    • 1
    • 4
  • Lance Wilkie
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian MuseumSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Ecosystem Management, School of Environmental and Rural ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Biological Sciences, Behavioural Ecology GroupMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  4. 4.Earthwatch Institute AustraliaSouth MelbourneAustralia

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