Vol. 41 (2018)
Research Project Ecology

Fatal distraction: implications of anthropogenic noise on the behavior and reproductive success of mason spiders

Maggie Raboin
Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, & Management. University of California, Berkeley, CA
Damian O. Elias
Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, & Management. University of California, Berkeley, CA
Cars on a highway in front of mountains
Published December 15, 2018

Abstract

Many human activities produce sound (e.g. airborne, waterborne, and substrate-borne waves), or anthropogenic noise, that can be a novel stimulus for many animals and is widely recognized as an issue of environmental concern. Substrate-borne noise in particular, might be especially harmful to animals that can sense and communicate using substrate-borne waves. One way anthropogenic noise can be harmful is by distracting animals from important tasks, like providing parental care to offspring. We investigated if substrate-borne sound from traffic distracts mason spiders (Castianeira sp.) from the essential task of building mounds to protect their egg sacs. We conducted 60 trials across 4 treatments to examine the effects of noise and the consequences to offspring survival. Preliminary analyses indicate that noise has impacts on behavior and underlines the necessity of investigating impacts of anthropogenic activities on a variety of animals including invertebrates.

 

Featured photo by Tom on Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/2gsitFz