Spiders of the World
An interactive exercise enlisting students
Gillespie, one of the JASON VI Expedition Scientists, is interested in
of spiders in Hawai'i. ln particular,
she is interested in determining the ancestral
species and creating a
phylogenetic tree for a
genus of spiders, the Tetragnatha.
In Hawai'i, Tetragnatha can be found throughout
the Islands in most ecological zones except
the leeward savanna and alpine zones. Within
each zone, smaller "islands" are formed by
physical barriers such as cliffs and waterfalls;
by soil conditions such as bogs; by volcanic
activity, such as lava flows that isolate vegetation areas called
kipuka; and by weather conditions such as
rain in the rain forests. On the mainland Tetragnatha
are normally located near water in meadows and shrub lands.
Why do the Tetragnatha and other families of spiders
in Hawai'i live in such diverse habitats in
comparison to families of spiders on the mainland?
This is one of Dr. Gillespie's key questions.
To answer this question, Dr. Gillespie
requests the assistance of students.
She would like students to determine the kind and number
of families of spiders in their area. The basic exercise is
described in the JASON VI: Island Earth Hawai`i Expedition Curriculum,
in Unit One, Lesson 1.5, Evaluative Exercise. By submitting their spider
as described below, students can further aid Dr. Gillespie by sharing their
data with her and with other students and teachers worldwide.
Even if you are not using the JASON Curriculum, you are invited
to take part in the online version of this exercise presented here. Please
read through the
information below, and send us information about the spiders in your area.
By clicking on this icon whenever you see it, you can listen to Dr. Rosie Gillespie describe her work and the background you need to conduct this exercise.
How to Participate in This Exercise:
Presentation of Students' Findings:
JASON Project homepage
Todd Carlo Viola,
JASON Foundation for Education