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.
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.
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.
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.
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.