Symposia

Symposia provide an excellent opportunity to make a coherent discussion of a selected topic. Two symposia have been already suggested for the congress. You are kindly invited to propose another symposium to pekar@sci.muni.cz before June 30, 2015.

Ecosystem Services

Ruan Veldtman
South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa

Although arthropods are undoubtedly integral to terrestrial life, globally only a few ecosystem functions have been empirically shown to benefit humans. Pollination is now widely recognised as an ecosystem service vital for food security, but represents just one type of beneficial arthropod. Studying other ecosystem services that depend on biodiversity (e.g. pest control) is likely the best way to mainstream less popular arthropod groups. Generally, spider diversity is correlated with an increase in control of insect pests, thus there is an additional reason to support conservation initiatives. Mainstreaming ecosystem services from arachnids could deliver resources required for biodiversity research.

Adaptation and diversification of spider silks:
how and why do new silk phenotypes evolve?

Sara Goodacre and Milan Řezáč
University of Nottingham, UK & Crop Research Institute, Czech Republic

Spider silks as a group exhibit a wide range of physical properties and functions. This range of uses is reflected in the diversity of ecological niches to which spiders are adapted. We propose to explore the underlying basis for the observed diversity of silk phenotypes that exists using a range of genetic, morphological and ecological approaches. We hope to include molecular studies to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the genes that encode the silks themselves, morphological studies of variation in the spinning apparatus from which silks are spun and ecological studies of the adaptive function of the resulting silk types.