Spider Diversity over Time in GTNP 1951-2014
We hope to begin a spider project that builds upon data collected between 1950-1953, when four arachnologists from the American Museum of Natural History visited Grand Teton National Park and conducted a spider census that revealed 19 families, 98 genera, and 195 species across 3700 specimens. Because spiders are a top trophic level predator in Grand Teton National Park, determining their current species diversity index will help to illuminate the complexity of this ecosystem. Greater complexity of ecological processes provides resilience and strength to the health of our landscapes: by taking another census, we will be able to better gauge the health of our environment. It is now possible to replicate the 1950-1953 surveys and, with high certainty, determine if changing environmental conditions or changing land use patterns by humans are impacting an obvious bell-weather of our environment.