Life on earth is rich and beautiful. But thanks to the impact that human-induced habitat loss and global warming are having on the environment, much is changing and even fraying. As more species go extinct, researchers have discovered a new way to track environmental DNA, all thanks to spider webs.
Sure, coming across a spider web in the wild can be a nuisance, but what if we told you that the web you’re thinking of breaking with your hands is actually a treasure trove of environmental DNA that can teach researchers more about the world? What will happen?
What’s even more interesting is that this is a very low-cost, non-invasive tool that does not require setting up expensive equipment or further tinkering with the environment being studied. Scientists have published new research on how spider webs can be used to learn more about environmental DNA. science.
Learning more about environmental DNA through spider webs makes it much easier for researchers to learn more about inhospitable environments, especially when we’re talking about places where endangered species live. Traveling in and out of these areas to install expensive equipment can disrupt the environment.
But by using spider webs to learn more about environmental DNA, we can learn more about these areas through less invasive means. This is something scientists have long wanted because it allows them to create a more controlled environment without much human intervention or interruption.
But spider webs aren’t the only way to learn about the environments of different animals. Scientists used eDNA from intestines, leech blood meal, and even flowers, leaves, and even water. These spider webs provide another great outlet that we can use to learn more about our planet and the species that inhabit it.
And perhaps in the process, many more undiscovered spiders will be discovered.