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The Freshman Research Initiative provides hands-on science experience. College of Natural Sciences is home to a of nationally-recognized teachers and researchers. Read about members of our diverse and distinguished alumni community. If creepy-crawly, eight-legged types are the stuff of your Halloween fears, you might want to stop reading here. Rare events called "megawebs" have been known to happen in Texas after very heavy rains, not unlike what Austin has experienced in recent weeks.
The temporary phenomenon involves hundreds of thousands of spiders living together in a giant spider web stretching across multiple trees. The wet conditions bring a boom in the population of tiny insects that many spiders feast on. Emma Dietrich, a graduate student in ecology, evolution and behavior EEB at the University of Texas at Austin, studies spiders, and in she traveled to Arkansas Bend State Park to photograph a megaweb, after having ly photographed a similar event in near Dallas.
Researchers believe that when a megaweb happens, the different species of spiders tolerate each other's presence because food is plentiful. Small flies that swarm near water called midges abound after heavy rainfall, attracting the spider predators. Texas megawebs occurred at Lake Tawakoni State Park in and in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett inand both were the work of thousands of long-jawed orb weavers Tetragnatha guatemalensis. Other species of spiders tend to the orb weavers. Among them, on the outskirts of these enormous communal webs, is the species that Dietrich studies, a spider called Anelosimus studiosus.
Dietrich, who says she used to fear spiders before she came to understand them better, is working to understand the causes and consequences of social behavior in A. In most places where the spider is found, adult females live alone, but in parts of the Southeastern United States, they cooperate in maintaining webs, capturing prey and caring for offspring. They banter and talk a little about cool bug science, but mostly they cover what they've learned from Lake tawakoni state park spiders outstanding women in science, technology, engineering, and math—both from history and currently.
After launching in May, STEM Fatale already has more than 20 episodes, highlighting women such as physicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered pulsars, and Margaret Collins, an entomologist and civil rights activist. Dietrich added, "It's science-y, but also involves some story-telling and us just being weird and having fun. It's also probably PG Photos and video courtesy: Emma Dietrich and Joe Lapp. Christine is director of communications for the College of Natural Sciences. She received a master's of public affairs and bachelor's degrees in journalism and English, all from The University of Texas at Austin.
Prior to her work at the University, Christine was a newspaper reporter, a communications consultant, and a communications director for statewide nonprofit organizations in California and Texas. Read our publication, The Texas Scientista digest covering the people and groundbreaking discoveries that make the College of Natural Sciences one of the most amazing and ificant places on Earth. Graduate Students. News by Category » News by Topic ». Meet our award-winning staff. Philanthropy Make a Gift. News From the College of Natural Sciences. Wednesday, 31 October Christine S Sinatra. Integrative Biology.
No megaweb has been spotted in — yet. Graduate Students Integrative Biology. About the author. Christine S Sinatra View author's profile. Comments No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment. Already Registered? Here. Submit Lake tawakoni state park spiders Comment. Read It Now Read our publication, The Texas Scientista digest covering the people and groundbreaking discoveries that make the College of Natural Sciences one of the most amazing and ificant places on Earth.
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Don't read this if you don't like spiders