SFU MPM & PhD graduate explores an unknown ‘spiderverse’

January 15, 2024

They are among the tiniest creatures we fear, but when it comes to the spiders that we’re likely to meet, most are harmless and helpful—and intriguing to study, according to Andreas Fischer. The SFU researcher and Biological Sciences alumnus, who celebrates completing his graduate studies next week, noticed just how little we know about spiders during his undergraduate studies.

“The more I learned about spiders the more fascinated and motivated I became to add to our knowledge of these eight-legged creatures,” says Fischer, who over the years has grown a collection of more than 4,000 spiders in a basement lab at SFU, many of them, found in the hallways of campus. In addition, he has a small lab where he fields some of his favorite subjects, black widow spiders.

Fischer graduates with a Master of Pest Management (MPM) as well as a PhD in biological sciences—a testament to the past few years of intense study. He studies how female false widow spiders (Steatoda grossa) communicate through taste and smell as they secrete and sense chemicals called pheromones in their environment.

Read more here in SFU News.