Ann L. Rypstra

University Distinguished Professor; Director, Ecology Research Center

538 Mosler Hall, Hamilton Campus  (513) 785-3238
148 Pearson Hall  (513) 529-3176

Biographical Information

Ann Rypstra is interested in the behavior, ecology and diversity of arthropod predators. Her research group employs a broad array of approaches aimed to understand how the ecology and behavior of organisms affect species coexistence patterns. Spiders are the focus of most of Rypstra’s studies because they are a common, but very diverse, group of generalist predators and are relatively easy to manipulate both in the laboratory and the field.

The nature of the research conducted by Rypstra’s team is described briefly below, however, creativity is encouraged and many students have initiated their own independent investigations that have lead to new and interesting directions.  One current research area is an attempt to quantify all aspects of the behavior and ecology of generalist predators that overlap in habitat use.  A specific focus of this endeavor is an investigation of how the interactions between a variety of predators with different foraging modes influence survival, foraging, and reproductive behaviors such as courtship and sexual selection.   An offshoot of these studies involves understanding of how these species communicate with one another and how human activities interfere with natural communication pathways.  Another research area delves into the role of spiders and other arthropod predators in the food web. Early work revealed that generalist predators, such as spiders, cause affect plant productivity without influencing herbivore populations and can influence soil respiration without altering detritovore populations.  An additional topic involves an exploration of the biodiversity of spiders across the region with a focus on species coexistence patterns.  In the process of these studies, a newly invasive species has been uncovered and experiments are underway to document its impact on the local community of predators.  Ultimately Rypstra and her students would like to understand the manner in which such factors as productivity, disturbance, heterogeneity and habitat fragmentation influence species diversity.

Recent Publications

  1. Rypstra, A.L., & C.M. Buddle (2013) Spider silk reduces herbivory.  Biology Letters  9: 20120948   DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0948
  2. Schmidt, J.M., J.D. Harwood, & A.L. Rypstra (2012) Foraging activity of a dominant epigeal predator: molecular evidence for the effect of prey density on consumption.  Oikos  121: 1715-1724   DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.20366.x
  3. Sitvarin, M.I. & A.L. Rypstra (2012) Sex specific response of Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae) to experience with a chemotactile predator cue.  Ethology  12: 1230-1239   DOI: 10.1111/eth.12029
  4. Wilder, S.M., & A.L. Rypstra (2012) Trade-off between pre- and postcopulatory cannibalism in a wolf spider that inhabits agroecosystems.  Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 66: 217-222   DOI: 10.1007/s00265-011-1269-0
  5. Griesinger, L.M., S.C. Evans, & A.L. Rypstra (2011) Effects of a glyphosate-based herbicide on mate location in a wolf spider that inhabits agroecosystems.  Chemosphere 84:1461-1466