Summary: Dr. Gabe Weyman
School of Biological Sciences
A fascination with spiders saw Dr Gabe Weyman sign up for a PhD at
Southampton in January 1991. He studied for his undergraduate degree in
Biology at the University of Sussex, specialising in animal behaviour and ecology,
then chose to investigate jumping spiders for his final year project.
After his first degree, Gabe went to the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute at
Littlehampton for a short contract working on insect parasitic nematodes for
control of mushroom pests. By chance, some colleagues there were involved in
spider research and asked him if he wanted to apply for a PhD linked with the
University of Southampton. He did. The research was on flying spiders this time.
"There are literally millions of them around and most people know them as
`money spiders'," says Gabe, "... but it's amazing how few people realise that
they get in your hair by flying there, which is known as `ballooning'. This may
seem like a strange research topic, but these highly mobile spiders are actually
very important predators of crop pests like aphids. That's my excuse anyway."
"Settling into my PhD was quite hard," he admits. "My tutor joked I'd got the