Adaptive plasticity of aeronautic dispersal in plants and arthropods


Dispersal plays a key role in shaping biological properties underlying various ecological processes, such as the distribution, dynamics and viability of spatially-structured populations or the pace and scale of pest invasions. For spiders (ballooning) and plants (anemochory), aeronautic dispersal comprises the main mode of long distance movements. During the process of this dispersal event, organisms are carried by wind currents as spheres attached to thin silk threads or to specific seed structures (pappus). For these, biomechanical models predict distances covered by objects with similar masses and shape to be primarily determined by respectively thread or pappus length. Consequently, investments in dispersal can be quantified by behavioural traits (tiptoe behaviour in spiders, mobility protocols) or by morphological traits (seed and pappus structure in plants). Relationships with environmental (landscape factors, population characteristics, stress), maternal and genetic factors are studied in laboratory experiments and through field observations. For arthropods, syndromal relationships with other behaviours related to settling; for e.g. web-building (read more), host plant selection are studied. Trade-offs with seedling establishment are studied in anemochorous plants. Although wind-borne dispersal comprises the main focus of this research, landscape-dependent variation in mobility or dispersal are also addressed; for e.g., other passive dispersal modes like floating (read more), hitchhiking dispersal and general mobility in spiders, grasshoppers and butterflies.



Ecology and Evolution {Research discipline}
Terrestrial Ecology {Research discipline}
Landscape Ecology {Research discipline}
Life Histories (incl. Population Ecology) {Research discipline}
Sociobiology and Behavioural Ecology {Research discipline}
Conservation and Biodiversity {Research discipline}
Global Change Biology {Research discipline}
Environmental Management and Rehabilitation {Research discipline}
Wildlife and Habitat Management {Research discipline}
Conservation {Research discipline}
Genetic {Integration level}
Species {Integration level}
Ecosystem {Integration level}
National {Cooperation status}
European (EU) {Cooperation status}
International (non-EU) {Cooperation status}
Effect of Biodiversity on Ecosystem Functioning {Research orientation}
Origins, Maintenance and Change of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Monitoring of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable use of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Northern Europe {Geographical scope}
East Tropical Africa {Geographical scope}
Agricultural {Habitat type}
Forest {Habitat type}
Marine and Coastal {Habitat type}
General Measures for Conservation and Sustainable Use {Research purpose}
Identification and Monitoring {Research purpose}
In-situ Conservation {Research purpose}
Ex-situ Conservation {Research purpose}
Sustainable Use of Components of Biological Diversity {Research purpose}
Research and Training {Research purpose}
Impact Assessment and Minimizing Adverse Impacts {Research purpose}
Arachnida {Taxonomical scope}
Insecta {Taxonomical scope}
Pteridophyta {Taxonomical scope}


Name Role Start End
Matheve, Hans admin
Bonte, Dries promotor


Name Role Start End
Terrestrial Ecology leader

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web

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