Leslie Potts, PhD Student Interests: My research interests are centered on cold tolerance in spiders, with a broader interest in winter warming effects on ectotherms. Compared to insects, little is known about cold tolerance in arachnids. Wolf spider (Schizocosa) juveniles remain active during winter. I am investigating several aspects of their overwintering adaptations at the physiological, biochemical and behavioral levels. I will use this knowledge to identify effects of winter warming on survival during winter, as well as their post-winter condition, ultimately addressing fitness consequences for the spring and summer. These investigations may provide new insights into cold stress tolerance for predators in general, and more applied areas of entomological research, such as spiders’ role as biological control in both ecological and agricultural environments. This work will also contribute to the currently limited knowledge of the consequences of winter warming for both winter survival and the post-winter condition.
When not in the lab freezing spiders, I enjoy kayaking, hiking and camping. I’m also a flautist and participate in the school orchestra, as well as a casual Magic the Gatherer.