Saving the Harlequin Mantella

Mantella cowani frog

PACE Lab graduate student Devin Edmonds has been working to save one of the most threatened amphibian species in Madagascar. Listen to an interview he did with Amphibiacast about Mantella frogs, his time working in Madagascar, and his graduate research to conserve the Harlequin Mantella. A new conservation action plan will be released in the coming months.

Listen to the episode

 

Bumblebees bring excitement

PACE Lab graduate student Alma Schrage is surveying sites in northeastern Illinois for the Federally endangered Rusty Patched Bumblebee, including sites that have been restored by the Illinois Tollway. Schrage was recently interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the work.

Read the full story here

Graduate student Alma Schrage wins scholarship

PACE Lab graduate student Alma Schrage was selected to receive this year’s Mary Jane Neer Scholarship. Alma is a graduate student in the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences department studying bumblebees including the federally endangered Rusty-patched Bumblebee.

Earlier this year, Alma won 2nd place for a student poster at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference for her poster:

“Foraging and nesting habitat of Bombus community in documented B. affinis site in northern Illinois”

eDNA used to detect Alligator Snapping Turtles

PACE Lab member Ethan Kessler’s paper on using eDNA to detect Alligator Snapping Turtles was covered by the University of Illinois Department of ACES.

See complete story at ACES News

The paper “Radiotelemetry reveals effects of upstream biomass and UV exposure on environmental DNA occupancy and detection for a large freshwater turtle,” is available in Environmental DNA

INHS PACE Lab well represented at Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference

With 10 oral presentations, 7 posters, and 2 awards for graduate students, the INHS PACE Lab showed their might at this year’s Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, held in Springfield, Illinois, January 26-29.

Alma Schrage won the Illinois Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s 2nd place student award for her poster “Foraging and nesting habitat of Bombus community in documented B. affinis site in northern Illinois”

Ethan Kessler won 2nd place for student oral presentation for his talk “The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) reintroduction in Illinois: an adaptive approach.”

Congratulations to both!

 

Other lab members presenting included:

Presentations

  1. Crawford, J. A., A. R. Kuhns, and C. A. Phillips. Efficacy of created wetlands for amphibian population persistence in forested ecosystems.
  2. Curtis, A. N, J. S. Tiemann, S. A. Douglass, M. A. Davis, and E. R. Larson. eDNA is not always easy: methodological studies for the advancement of eDNA applications to fish and wildlife conservation.
  3. Edmonds, D. A., and M. J. Dreslik. Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) demography in Illinois.
  4. Hohoff, T. C., J. A. Kath, A. B. Cable, and M. A Davis. Illinois’s chiropteran landscape: leveraging NaBat acoustic data to inform conservation of Illinois’ bat biodiversity.
  5. Holtswarth, J. N., E. R. Larson, J. S. Tiemann, J. L. Sherwood, P. Willink, and K. Ash. Genetic analysis of the rapid expansion of Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) in Illinois.
  6. Kessler, E. J., S. Ballard, and M. J. Dreslik. The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) reintroduction in Illinois: an adaptive approach.
  7. Phillips, C. A., A. R. Kuhns, J. A. Crawford, M. J. Dreslik, and J. Adams. Surveys for Kirtland’s snakes in Illinois.
  8. Rahlin, A. A., M. L. Niemiller, and M. A. Davis. Testing the effectiveness of eDNA metagenomics to detect endemic wetland bird species.
  9. Ross, J. P., D. Thompson, and M. J. Dreslik. Population viability analysis and the role of head-starting for a northern Illinois Blanding’s Turtle population.
  10. Jesper, A. C. B., and M. J. Dreslik. Over-wintering phelology of the threatened Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) in Illinois.

 

Posters

  1. Andree, S., S. A. Douglass, and A. Stodola. Shell shape and body mass index of two freshwater mussels differs with age and location.
  2. Callahan, S. A., A. R. Kuhns, J. A. Crawford, C. A. Phillips, and M. J. Dreslik. Phenology of breeding migrations of three Ambystoma species.
  3. Douglass, S. A., E. J. Kessler, and M. J. Dreslik. Freshwater mussel movement in the Kishwaukee River, Rockford, Illinois.
  4. Dreslik, M. J., J. P. Wiker, T. L. Esker, and J. M. Mui. Status of borer moths (Papaipema) in Illinois with an emphasis on the Rattlesnake-master borer.
  5. Kuhns, A. R., J. A. Crawford, C. A. Phillips, M. Corcoran, and M. J. Dreslik. Herpetofaunal species of greatest conservation need in forested wetlands of southern Illinois.
  6. LaGrange, S. M., L. Adamowicz, M. C. Allender, S. J. Baker, and M. J. Dreslik. Long-term monitoring of snake fungal disease in the Eastern Massasauga in Illinois.
  7. Schrage, A. C., J. L. Robinson, and M. J. Dreslik. Foraging and nesting habitat of Bombus community in documented B. affinis site in northern Illinois.

New Field Herpetology Techniques class being offered for Spring 2020

NRES 285 FHT CRN 46194

NRES 499 GHT CRN 54944

FIELD HERPETOLOGY TECHNIQUES

SPRING 2020

This course is designed for students considering careers or graduate work studying wild amphibian and reptile populations. We will introduce students to techniques used in monitoring and research of amphibians and reptiles including methods for sampling, capturing, measuring, and marking herpetological populations and communities.

We will focus on the types of data often collected and basic statistical analyses used. The course will be designed around brief lectures followed by field trips to study sites where students will get hands-on experience with field techniques, which include methods to determine distribution and abundance; marking and measuring; movement patterns and home range size. The course will culminate in a three-day field trip to southern Illinois where students will get to employ many of the techniques they have learned in the class.

More information and registration on NRES Course Explorer

Using three decades of data to save turtles

Champaign, IL – Protecting and restoring habitats are the most important steps that can be undertaken to protect turtle populations into the future according to a pair of recent papers analyzing 3 decades of data.

The Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata, is a small semi-aquatic turtle that inhabits sedge meadow, cattail marsh, wet-mesic prairie, and dolomite prairie in Illinois. It is protected as an endangered species in Illinois, which is at the western edge of its range. The two known populations in Illinois have been the focus of mark-recapture studies since 1988.

Recent analysis found that Spotted Turtle populations are limited by the amount of available habitat, suggesting that management efforts should focus on increasing suitable habitat. Control of cattails (Typha sp.) and restoration of sedges would increase the amount of available habitat.

Adults have a higher survival rate than younger turtles. Predators including raccoons and muskrats can eradicate eggs and juvenile turtles. While caging nests and headstarting juveniles will help the younger turtles, controlling predator populations could benefit all age classes.

Feng, C.Y.; Ross, J.P.; Mauger, D.; Dreslik, M.J. A Long-Term Demographic Analysis of Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) in Illinois Using Matrix Models. Diversity. 2019, 11, 226. doi:10.3390/d11120226

Feng, C.Y.; Mauger, D.; Ross, J.P.; Dreslik, M.J. Size and Structure of Two Populations of Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) at Its Western Range Limit. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 14(3):648–658