Joint Seminar: Fruit and vegetable by-products | Weaponry in sheet web spiders Event as iCalendar

09 July 2018

1 - 2pm

Venue: Mac 1, Biology Building

Location: 5 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

Host: School of Biological Sciences

Speakers: Ninna Granucci and Leilani Walker, PhD students, School of Biological Sciences.


Ninna Granucci | Fruit and vegetable by-products - low cost substrates for development of new food products

The overall aim of Ninna's PhD was to optimise a fermentation process to convert fruit and vegetable by-products into new food products with enriched nutritional and commercial value for human consumption.

This project involved the screening of different by-products produced by the juice and beverage industry. Additionally, New Zealand isolated strains of edible fungal species capable of fermenting fruit and vegetable by-products were selected for the bioconversion process.

Quality assurance steps were taken in the form of comprehensive chemical characterization of the unfermented and fermented by-products in order to determine the enrichment of nutritional parameters as well as any potential threat related to food safety.

The best fermentation showed an outstanding potential to become a commercial high-value food ingredient product. Thus, this technology is now the basis of a start-up company, Green Spot Technologies, which is taking this opportunity through the commercialization path.


Leilani Walker | Exaggerated weaponry in New Zealand sheet web spiders (Cambridgea)

Male New Zealand sheet-web spiders (Cambridgea spp.) possess chelicerae (jaws) which are significantly longer than those of conspecific females and these weapons are used by males in agonistic contests over access to potential mates.

Using both this genus, as a whole, and the North Island species, Cambridgea foliata specifically, we studied the exaggeration of male chelicerae in the context of behaviour and the genus’ phylogeny to gain a more total understanding of how sexual selection can influence the characteristics of male weaponry.

Using a range of methods, we establish that males use their chelicerae in agonistic contests and identify how both male-male contests and male-female interactions in C. foliata could drive selection for exaggerated weaponry.

Then, using the first molecular phylogeny for the genus, we applied phylogenetic comparative methods to examine how weapon and body traits covary across the genus.




Ninna Granucci, PhD student, School of Biological Sciences.
Ninna Granucci



Leilani Walker, PhD student, School of Biological Sciences.
Leilani Walker