Spider webs and spiders adorn the rocks of the Southern Pacific Railway causeway that divides the Great Salt Lake in two major sections. The pink north arm with Dunaliella rubens and pigmented Archaea has about 300 g/L of salt and is therefore too salty for macroinvertebrates to grow. The orb-weaving spiders seen here are likely Neoscona oaxacensis They feed primarily on brine flies (Ephedra spp.) from the southern side of the causeway (Gilbert Bay). The transfer of high levels of mercury in the south arm into spiders and birds is currently being studied by researchers at Westminster College and Brigham Young University in Utah.
Limnology - the study of inland waters
Photo: 18 August 2012