Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 17 December.
Applicant: Macquarie University
Species/Taxon: Spiders (Araneae)
Location: Southwest National Park (PWS Reserve)
Hartz Mountains National Park (PWS Reserve)
Mount Field National Park (PWS Reserve)
Mount William National Park (PWS Reserve)
Ben Lomond National Park (PWS Reserve)
Title of research: Macro-Evolution and Systematics of Australian and New Zealand marronoid spiders (Arachnida: Amaurobioidea)
Aim of project: Document the natural history of marronoid spiders, clarify family boundaries and produce a robust phylogeny
Justification: Marronoid spiders have an important diversity hotspot in Australia and New Zealand and include many taxa that are unique to these countries (Cycloctenidae, Toxopidae, majority of Desidae and Stiphidiidae). In Australia and New Zealand this group occupies an enormous diversity of ecological niches (including the littoral zone) and exhibits a variety of web structures and hunting habits, which makes them a unique system to study the interactive effects of behaviour and morphology in the evolutionary generation of functional diversity. Despite a sound body of taxonomic work these families are poorly defined and the relationships between genera and species are unclear, which hampers both biodiversity assessments and macro-evolutionary studies. This research will lead to a clearer picture of this ecologically important group of invertebrate predators by building a molecular phylogeny and comparing morphological and physiological traits. This will facilitate the conservation of Tasmanian invertebrates and habitat quality assessments by providing the necessary information on functional and phylogenetic diversity. Because most records of the target taxa are from reserved land (including alpine sites), we seek permission to do collections in some national parks.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: 200 spiders
Activities undertaken and methods: Spiders will be collected using visual search (collecting from webs, turning logs and stones), litter sieving, branch beating and taken to the lab at the Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney. Webs, if present, will be photo-documented. The physical performance of spiders (running speed, metabolic rate) will be measured in the lab. Spiders will be fixed in ethanol for morphometric and genetic analyses. A molecular phylogeny will be produced that will clarify the relationships between these Tasmanian spiders and related species from mainland Australia and New Zealand. The measured traits will be mapped on the phylogeny to unravel the macroevolutionary history of this group of spiders and their adaptation to either a web-building or wandering life.
Fate of animals: Spiders will be used in lab experiments and killed.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): Negligible: small numbers of animals are taken, which will have insignificant effects on the population. There will be no by-catch due to the manual collection methods used.