Spider webs as Environmental Indicators
Analysis of spider webs from limestone arches in New South Wales, Australia showed levels of lead and zinc to be several times higher at Jenolan Caves than reference sites at Abercrombie and Wombeyan Caves. The high concentrations at Jenolan were attributed to emissions from motor vehicles that travel through the arch. Analysis of water-soluble ions in webs from Jenolan and Abercrombie Caves showed large differences between the sites, which could be explained by differences in the geology and biology of the cave environments. Spider webs proved useful indicators of environmental chemistry and undoubtedly have applications beyond the cave environments studied here.