Ann Rypstra

Ann rypstra

University Distinguished Professor
Director, Ecology Research Center

316 Hughes Hall, Oxford Campus
538 Mosler Hall, Hamilton Campus
Ecology Research Center

Biographical Information

Ann Rypstra is interested in the behavior, ecology and diversity of arthropod predators. Her research group employs a broad array of approaches aimed to understand how the ecology and behavior of organisms affect species coexistence patterns. Spiders are the focus of most of Rypstra’s studies because they are a common, but very diverse, group of generalist predators and are relatively easy to manipulate both in the laboratory and the field.

The nature of the research conducted by Rypstra’s team is described briefly below, however, creativity is encouraged and many students have initiated their own independent investigations that have lead to new and interesting directions. One current research area is an attempt to quantify all aspects of the behavior and ecology of generalist predators that overlap in habitat use. A specific focus of this endeavor is an investigation of how the interactions between a variety of predators with different foraging modes influence survival, foraging, and reproductive behaviors such as courtship and sexual selection. An offshoot of these studies involves understanding of how these species communicate with one another and how human activities interfere with natural communication pathways. Another research area delves into the role of spiders and other arthropod predators in the food web. Early work revealed that generalist predators, such as spiders, cause affect plant productivity without influencing herbivore populations and can influence soil respiration without altering detritovore populations. An additional topic involves an exploration of the biodiversity of spiders across the region with a focus on species coexistence patterns. In the process of these studies, a newly invasive species has been uncovered and experiments are underway to document its impact on the local community of predators. Ultimately Rypstra and her students would like to understand the manner in which such factors as productivity, disturbance, heterogeneity and habitat fragmentation influence species diversity.

Courses Taught

  • BIO 115 and 116: Biological Concepts
  • BIO 206W: Evolutionary Biology (Writing Intensive)
  • BIO 400W: Contemporary Issues in Environmental Biology
  • BSC 415: Problem Solving and Research

Selected Publications

  •  (Undergraduate authors indicated with * and graduate students with **)

    • Behrend*, J.E., & A.L. Rypstra (2018) Contact with a glyphosate-based herbicide has long-term effects on activity and foraging of an agrobiont wolf spider.  Chemosphere 194:714-721   doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.12.038 
    • Godfrey**, J.A., & A.L. Rypstra  (2018)  Impact of an atrazine-based herbicide on an agrobiont spider.  Chemosphere 201: 459-465   doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.03.023 
    • Rypstra, A.L., C.D. Hoefler, & M.H. Persons (2017) Predation on reproducing wolf spiders: access to information has differential effects on male and female survival.  Animal Behaviour 128:165-173  doi:  10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.03.032  
    • Hoffman*, C.R., M.I. Sitvarin**, & A.L. Rypstra (2016) Information from familiar and related conspecifics affects foraging in a solitary wolf spider.  Oecologia 181:359-367 doi: 10.1007/s00442-015-3460-x 
    • Rypstra, A.L.. S.E. Walker, & M.H. Persons (2016)  Cautious versus desperado males: predation risk affects courtship intensity but not female choice in a wolf spider.  Behavioral Ecology 27: 876-885   doi:  10.1093/beheco/arv234  
    • Hutton*, B.A., & A.L. Rypstra (2016)  Courtship and the use of pheromones by Pholcus manueli. Journal of Arachnology  44:92-95.    doi: 10.1636/J15-38.1
    • Sitvarin**, M.I., A.L. Rypstra, & J.D. Harwood (2016) Linking the green and brown worlds through nonconsumptive predator effects.  Oikos 125:1057-1068 doi 10.1111/oik.03190