Funded Projects (or partly funded)
- What are the Westnearctic Tegenaria? A Phylogeographical Study Investigating the Evolutionary History of the Spider Family Agelenidae
Brief Project Description
Spiders are with more than 44000 described species the most diverse predator group on the planet. Despite the fact that this invertebrate group provides a highly valuable source of biodiversity information, spiders are still insufficiently studied. The "Westnearctic Tegenaria"-Project is focusing on a group of agelenids (genus Tegenaria), containing species endemic to the Nearctic as well as Palearctic Region and will improve our knowledge fundamentally by applying molecular (CO1, 16S, 28S, ITS2, H3) and morphological methods. Based on collection specimens from the Natural History Museum of Basel and the American Museum of Natural History, in addition to newly sampled specimens during a field expedition to Arizona and several parts of Mexico, the involved group of 11 closely related species will be revised (including redescriptions and new descriptions of missing sexes of some species by applying modern taxonomical methods as SEM- and microscope imaging, drawings), and their evolutionary relationship to European relatives clarified. Subsequently, by combining the newly gathered information with already existing data (fundamental progress achieved in recent years), the phylogenetic relationship of the whole family Agelenidae can be investigated. Based on the extraordinary condition of having species endemic to the Nearctic as well as the Palearctic region within a single taxon, the resulting hypothesis can be calibrated (split of Laurasia). The supposed results are expected to be highly valuable for further investigation of the evolutionary and biogeographical relationships of the family in focus and closely related ones (e.g. Amaurobiidae, Cybaeidae, Hahniidae). Taxonomical results gained through the proposed project will be published through freely available websites (agelenidsoftheworld.myspecies.info (content regularly harvested by EOL), and GenBank), and open access publications.
Projects in preparation (proposal stage)
- African Araneomorph Funnel Weavers: Discovering and Analyzing a Megadiverse Group of Organisms – a Case Study of Modern Biodiversity Research
Publications in preparation:
- New Agelenid Species from Laos
- Eratigena atrica Complex: Where are or is the Species Border?