Role of Spidrion Expression and Silk Spinning in Controlling Spider Silk Properties

Collaborative project with Mike Kasumovic, Aditya Rawal, James Hook and Penny Martens, UNSW, I-Min Tso, Tunghai University Taiwan, Hwo-Shuenn Sheu, National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center, Taiwan.

In this project we investigate, using advanced techniques such as NMR and X-ray diffraction, how the processes of spidrion (MaSp1 and MaSp2) expression and spinning processes acting in the silk gland influence the properties of spider silk, and how responsive these mechanisms are at inducing variation in silk properties in different environments. We are interested in continuing our work comparing silk properties in response to nutritional deprivation across the spider phylogeny.

Physiological and Behavioural Aspects of Spider Web Variation

A current Hons Project by Matthew Hasemore (co-supervised by Mike Kasumovic and Penny Martens) is investigating the role of metabolic variation on spider web plasticity in response to variation in prey types.

Additional projects include an ongoing investigation of the mechanisms inducing nutrient-mediated spider web plasticity and the consequences of architectural variations on prey capture and retention.

News on web variations **** link to news content?

Causes and Consequences of Variations in Spider Silk Colours

A current Honours project by Georgia Cerhexe (co-supervised by Mike Kasumovic, in collaboration with Tony Granville, Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, UNSW and Mariella Herberstein, at Maquarie University, is investigating the causes of inter-individual and interspecific silk and web colour variations.

Spider Sticky Thread Property Variability

We are continuing our research of spider sticky thread property variability in orb web spiders and redback spider sticky threads conducting further research into the biochemistry of the different glues and how this affects its variability in response to nutrient deprivation.

Influence of Pesticides on Spider Web and Silk Physical and Chemical Properties

A collaborative project is initiated with with Luis Fernandez Garcia, Laboratorio de EcologĂ­a del Comportamiento, Uruguay to assess the influence of glyphosate and other pesticides on spider web and silk properties.

Interspecific and inter-individual variaitons in pyriform silk properties

A collaborative project with Jonas Wolff of the Functional Morphology and Biomechanics Unit, University of Kiel, will look at the Ultrastructure in different spider pyriform silk attachment threads using Atomic Force Microscopy and other techniques.

Ecological influences of silk properties in the Tasmanian cave spider Hickmania troglodytes

A collaborative project with Niall Doran at the University of Tasmania and Dakota Piorkowski at Tunghai University will investigate the influence of natural history traits on silk properties in a large, ancient, cave dwelling spider; the Austrachylid, Hickmania troglodytes.

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