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Jerome Rovner
Professor Emeritus

Jerome Rovner

Contact Information

 • Email: Jerome Rovner
  Research Interests:

Biology of spiders: acoustic, chemical, and visual communication; reproductive behavior; predatory behavior; functional morphology; and adaptive uses of silk.


As a graduate student specializing in ethology, I conducted studies of several aspects of spider behavior, one of which involved my experimental disproof of "Gerhardt's Rule" (J. S. Rovner, Science 152, 543 [1966]). My research time was increased by my receiving two NSF summer fellowships and a 1-year NASA fellowship.
An NSF postdoctoral fellowship enabled me to spend a year at Gutenberg University (Mainz, Germany). My research resulted in a paper showing that major aspects of spider reproductive behavior are independent of proprioceptive input (J. S. Rovner, Science 157, 835 [1967]), as well as a paper on linyphiid territorial behavior.
While in Germany, I was offered an Assistant Professorship at Ohio University, which I began in Fall, 1967. My primary teaching responsibilities were large introductory classes and a course in Animal Behavior. Being selected as a "University Professor" for 1974-75 and for 1980-81 encouraged me to develop two additional courses, which I offered yearly thereafter: Biology of Human Social Behavior and Biology of Spiders.
To support some of my research efforts at Ohio University, I was variously funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the O.U. Baker Fund. In the summer of 1980, I was supported as a guest researcher by part of a DFG grant to Friedrich Barth (then at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany), which resulted in my fifth publication in the journal Science (Rovner and Barth, 1981). During my years as a member of our department's graduate faculty, I advised ten M.S. students, two Ph.D. students, and one post-doctoral student. I terminated my research activity when I entered O.U.'s Early Retirement Program in 1997.
During my years of research, I presented papers at meetings of the AAAS, the Animal Behavior Society, the American Arachnological Society, and the International Society of Arachnology. I was elected to serve as President of the American Arachnological Society for the 2-year term of 1986-87. In 2001, I was awarded the title of Honorary Member by the International Society of Arachnology for a 3-year tenure.
During 1987-90, I served the American Arachnological Society as Associate Editor of the Journal of Arachnology. Since 2001, I have served this society as the person responding to questions from people seeking information about arachnids at the society's website.

Representative Publications:
  • Rovner, J. S. 1975. Sound production in Nearctic wolf spiders: a substratum-coupled stridulatory mechanism. Science 190: 1309-1310.

  • Rovner, J.S. 1975. Behavioral evidence for valvular regulation of hematodochal expansion in the spider's palp. Proceedings of the 6th International Arachnological Congress, 1974: 99-101.

  • Rovner, J. S. 1978. Adhesive hairs in spiders: behavioral functions and hydraulically mediated movement. Symposia of the Zoological Society of London No. 42: 99-108.

  • Rovner, J.S. and Barth, F. G. 1981. Vibratory communication through living plants by a tropical wandering spider. Science 214: 464-466.

  • Rovner, J. S. 1987. Nests of terrestrial spiders maintain a physical gill: flooding and the evolution of silk constructions. Journal of Arachnology 14: 327-337.