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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Thomas C. Jones

Committee Members

Ke Chen, Thomas F. Laughlin


Microclimates associated with environmental and geographic factors directly affect the ability of an organism to survive in a particular area. Survival is affected by: predator/prey abundance, temperature, relative humidity. A group of organisms that are particularly prone to habitat sensitivity are web-building spiders, because building the web commits them to a particular site for a period of time. Anelosimus studiosus is a small (~8 mm) Theridiid spider that exhibits varying degrees of sociality: a subsocial phenotype and a social phenotype. Population densities of A. studiosus vary significantly among seemingly suitable habitats within its range in east Tennessee. I conducted a large-scale survey of east Tennessee lake systems to establish connections between spider presence and geographic features such as aspect, slope and elevation. These geographic features were shown to have a strong impact on overall spider density.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.