Ground Spider (Araneae: Gnaphosidae) Succession in a Post-Wildfire Jack Pine Forest

Sarah J Rose
Forest Ecosystem Restoration and Ecology Laboratory, The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources, Columbus, Ohio
Sarah J Rose is a PhD student with the School of Environment and Natural Resources with The Ohio State University. She received her B.S. from Ohio State in 2008, and has worked on several ecological research projects, and is currently focused on understanding the dynamics of spider communities after disturbance.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Dr. P. Charles Goebel

Restoration efforts that emulate natural disturbances, and their legacies, are believed to be more effective than those that do not. In many cases, however, we are lacking in our understanding of the impacts of natural disturbances on ecosystem structure and function. For this study, spiders were sampled in twelve study sites following natural wildfires in northern Lower Michigan, ranging in age from 2-41 years. We also collected environmental and meteorological data. Our results show that site age, canopy cover, jack pine density, and understory plant community composition (below 0.5 m) are important drivers of Gnaphosidae abundance. Additionally, we found five species are significant indicators of mature sites, suggesting there are shifts in Gnaphosidae abundance associated with jack pine forest succession following wildfire. These data provide us with a greater understanding of the role of natural disturbance in shaping these systems, which will provide additional tools and strategies for restoration.

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