Slovenian Academy of science and Arts

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenian Academy of science and Arts

Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Kralj-Fiser S.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts | Schuett W.,University of Hamburg
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2014

Research on animal personality variation has been burgeoning in the last 20 years but surprisingly few studies have investigated personalities in invertebrate species although they make up 98% of all animal species. Such lack of invertebrate studies might be due to a traditional belief that invertebrates are just 'minirobots'. Lately, studies highlighting personality differences in a range of invertebrate species have challenged this idea. However, the number of invertebrate species investigated still contrasts markedly with the effort that has been made studying vertebrates, which represent only a single subphylum. We describe how investigating proximate, evolutionary and ecological correlates of personality variation in invertebrates may broaden our understanding of personality variation in general. In our opinion, personality studies on invertebrates are much needed, because invertebrates exhibit a range of aspects in their life histories, social and sexual behaviours that are extremely rare or absent in most studied vertebrates, but that offer new avenues for personality research. Examples are complete metamorphosis, male emasculation during copulation, asexual reproduction, eusociality and parasitism. Further invertebrate personality studies could enable a comparative approach to unravel how past selective forces have driven the evolution of personality differences. Finally, we point out the advantages of studying personality variation in many invertebrate species, such as easier access to relevant data on proximate and ultimate factors, arising from easy maintenance, fast life cycles and short generation times. © 2014 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Kralj-Fiser S.,University of Hamburg | Kralj-Fiser S.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts | Schneider J.M.,University of Hamburg
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2012

Behaviour is generally plastic to some degree and allows an animal to react appropriately to changing and novel conditions. Consequently, a degree of plasticity is predicted to be a key determinant of an organism's ability to cope with novel (e.g. urban) environments. Yet behavioural plasticity is often genetically determined and many animals exhibit personalities (i.e. consistent between-individual differences in behaviours). We explored the degree of behavioural plasticity versus personality in the bridge spider, Larinioides sclopetarius, which occurs in extremely high densities in urban areas over the Holarctic. The spiders show extraordinary plasticity in life history. We investigated between- and within-individual variability, correlations and heritability for aggressiveness, boldness, behaviours in novel environment, and voracity towards prey. We predicted that these spiders would show high individual behavioural plasticity or that there would be a mix of individuals with different personalities. We found temporal consistency and moderate heritability in intra-sex aggressiveness and boldness, whereas behaviours in novel environment were repeatable but not heritable. Most behavioural traits showed high between-individual variability. We discuss the idea that low heritability of behaviours related to foraging success and a lack of behavioural correlations may be a result of developmental plasticity as a mechanism that promotes success in cities. In the next step, we experimentally tested whether composition of aggressiveness types affects spiders' mass gain and survival in a high-density group. Groups of only aggressive types had highest mass but also showed highest mortality, although not significantly. Our results lend support to the hypothesis that living in high densities does not necessarily require a reduction of mean aggressiveness levels but that a polymorphism in aggressive personalities maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection would be a possible scenario. © 2012 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Blackledge T.A.,University of Akron | Kuntner M.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts | Agnarsson I.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan
Advances in Insect Physiology | Year: 2011

Spiders are the preeminent silk craftsmen among arthropods and are best known for producing aerial orb webs that snare flying insects. Orb web spiders are ubiquitous predators in terrestrial ecosystems and are popular models for behavioural and ecological research, in part due to the ease of characterizing the shapes of orb webs. Orb webs are composite structures built from multiple types of silks, each with its own unique molecular structure and mechanical function, such that orb webs also link together evolutionary research from the genes coding for silk proteins to whole web function in the environment. Yet, orb webs are only intermediate structures in the evolutionary diversification of silk use among spiders, acting as stepping stones facilitating the origin of new web types and increased spider diversification. Here, we review the current research on the form and function of spider orb webs. We provide a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of orb web biology, suitable for any new investigation into orb web biology. While other reviews exist individually for webs, silk, and spider evolution, we hope that the synthetic nature of this review will facilitate a more integrated approach by future investigators. Finally, we explore in more detail some of the most dynamic areas of orb web biology to suggest promising venues for the next decade of research on these fascinating creatures and their silken snares. In particular, we discuss how spider webs might drive speciation, the dramatic growth in our understanding of the molecular ecology of spider silk, and the importance of a greater role for spider biology per se in silk biomimicry. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Urbanc M.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Mitteilungen der Osterreichischen Geographischen Gesellschaft | Year: 2011

This paper deals with the perception of land (in particular, agricultural land) among the Slovenian population in Istria [Istra]. It studies the mechanisms of understanding, comprehending, and evaluating the notion of land and changes connected with it in the context of landscape changes in the 20 th century. The empirical section, which traces the processes of grounded theory, was carried out using ATLAS.ti software. The result of an analysis of 147 specialized and general texts yielded several mutually coordinated and connected aspects of the land that reveal a diverse social conception of the land and land dynamics, and that express the close interconnectedness of material and intangible elements, as well as their underlying processes.

Erhartic B.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Acta Geographica Slovenica | Year: 2010

Geomorphosites comprise natural features and processes, which can carry a certain value, whether that be scientific, aesthetic, historical, cultural, social, economic or other. With the intention of reducing the subjective impacts and enabling a mutual comparison, several assessment methods burst onto the scene. The article mentions four procedures of geomorphosite assessment on the basis of Slovene methodology. Which assessment method seems most adequate, depends on the research aims. For the needs of nature protection, greater emphasis should be put on scientific and management aspects, with additional emphasis on the social component or the cultural value to guarantee a more comprehensive study.

Kozina J.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Acta Geographica Slovenica | Year: 2010

The article deals with the transport accessibility of regional centres in Slovenia, which was determined with the analytical model of transport accessibility. In this case the accessibility was defined as the travel time which the inhabitants of Slovene settlements spend driving their cars to the nearest regional centre. The results show areas of various levels of accessibility and the regionalization process of Slovenia according to the criterion of transport accessibility. With the help of statistical correlation analysis we also determined the measure of correlation of the accessibility factor to regional centres with the laying out of major transport routes and the diversity of the surface.

Kranjc A.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Acta Geographica Slovenica | Year: 2013

Academician Ivan Gams is Slovenia's best known researcher of karst and the most prolific author of works on karst. During his first job at the Institute of Geography of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, he started researching the karst surface and underground. He published several in-depth publications on karst caves, the most well-known being the studies of the shaft Triglavsko brezno in the 1960's. Right from the beginning, he focused on issues to which he then dedicated more or less his whole life - and which were also widely recognized by professional public both at home and abroad - namely corrosion intensity determined by the hardness of water and the discharges of karst rivers and springs, and the method of limestone tablets. Within the geomorphology of karst, Gams was mostly dealing with the karst polje, especially its definition and evolution.

Kuntner M.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts | Kuntner M.,Smithsonian Institution | Kralj-Fiser S.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts | Gregoric M.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2010

Spider web research bridges ethology, ecology, functional morphology, material science, development, genetics, and evolution. Recent work proposes the aerial orb web as a one-time key evolutionary innovation that has freed spider-web architecture from substrate constraints. However, the orb has repeatedly been modified or lost within araneoid spiders. Modifications include not only sheet- and cobwebs, but also ladder webs, which secondarily utilize the substrate. A recent nephilid species level phylogeny suggests that the ancestral nephilid web architecture was an arboricolous ladder and that round aerial webs were derived. Because the web biology of the basalmost Clitaetra and the derived Nephila are well understood, the present study focuses on the webs of the two phylogenetically intervening genera, Herennia and Nephilengys, to establish ontogenetic and macroevolutionary patterns across the nephilid tree. We compared juvenile and adult webs of 95 Herennia multipuncta and 143 Nephilengys malabarensis for two measures of ontogenetic allometric web changes: web asymmetry quantified by the ladder index, and hub asymmetry quantified by the hub displacement index. We define a 'ladder web' as a vertically elongated orb exceeding twice the length over width (ladder index ≥ 2) and possessing (sub)parallel rather than round side frames. Webs in both genera allometrically grew from orbs to ladders, more so in Herennia. Such allometric web growth enables the spider to maintain its arboricolous web site. Unexpectedly, hub asymmetry only increased significantly in heavy-bodied Nephilengys females, and not in Herennia, challenging the commonly invoked gravity hypothesis. The findings obtained in the present study support the intrageneric uniformness of nephilid webs, with Herennia etruscilla webs being identical to H. multipuncta. The nephilid web evolution suggests that the ancestor of Nephila reinvented the aerial orb web because the orb arises at a much more inclusive phylogenetic level, and all intervening nephilids retained the secondarily acquired substrate-dependent ladder web. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London.

Kladnik D.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Geografski Vestnik | Year: 2012

Slovenian geographers have dealt with geographical names for a long time. Their several centuries of activity can be divided into several phases. In the early phase this topic was addressed by politicians, missionaries, and polymaths. Then in the mid-nineteenth century, with the national awakening, the first educated Slovenian geographers came to the forefront together with linguists. After this, all leading Slovenian geographers were involved in this topic to various extents, among whom Anton Melik and Ivan Gams stand out. In the past two decades a leading role has been assumed by certain younger geographers, who seek to integrate Slovenian toponymy within modern global trends in the use of geographical names. In doing so, we are relying on United Nations resolutions and taking part in the work of the UNGEGN not only in working groups, but also at the regional level as part of the East Central and South-East Europe Division.

Stnrekar A.,Slovenian Academy of science and Arts
Geografski Vestnik | Year: 2012

The development of ecological thinking among Slovenian geographers goes back less than half a century. A high level of environmental awareness is a condition for people's environmentally friendly behavior. In turn, proper informedness about the environment is a precondition for awareness, and it seems that in Slovenia in the last decade peoples informedness about environmental problems and sustainable living has increased. People are expressing greater inclination toward environmental protection, butfor only a minority is a healthy and orderly living environment also a value that they are really willing to do something for in practice.

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