White Cedar project presented at Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Symposium

Sara Johnson, of the Molano-Flores lab at the Illinois Natural History Survey, presented a poster and lightning talk about Illinois Tollway funded research on the Effects of Soluble Salt on the Germination of Thuja occidentalis at the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands Symposium in Maumee Bay, Ohio last week. This conference was the first symposium hosted by Audubon Great Lakes in partnership with the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly and Great Lakes Commission. Sara is a student representative for the North Central Chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists and acts as Treasurer for the Student Chapter of the society at UIUC.

PaCE Lab at the Illinois State Fair

Smokey Bear using snake tongs

Members of the PaCE Lab exhibited in Conservation World at the 2019 Illinois State Fair, providing information and education to over 500 visitors. In addition to displays about the research being done by the group, visitors were able to try their hand at using actual field equipment used by scientists in their daily work.

The Illinois Bat Conservation Program had a mist net deployed where visitors could untangle, identify, and measure bats, all while wearing leather gloves.

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation group had snake tongs, hooks, calipers, and radio telemetry equipment available for visitors to try to wrangle snakes into a snake bag, measure turtles, or track a hidden turtle.

Other activities included Build-a-Bug, where people can assemble the arthropod of their dreams (or nightmares) from a variety of general and specialized appendages, Wheel of Migration, about the risks migratory birds face, and locating PIT-tagged animals.

Smokey Bear using snake tongs
Gray Treefrog picked the right tent to visit
Wheel of Migration
Build a Bug
Vin Vasive wrangling a snake with a hook
Build-a-Bug

PaCE Lab at the Turtle Survival Alliance meeting in Tucson

Members and affiliates of the PaCE Lab presented 5 papers and 3 posters at the 2019 Turtle Survival Alliance conference held in Tuscson Arizona August 4th-8th.

Presentations

Baker, S. J., L Adamovicz, M. E. Merchant, and M. C. Allender. Site specific difference in health and immune function in Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina)

Dreslik, M. J., E. J. Kessler, J. P. Ross, K. A. Buhlmann, and P. P. van Dijk. Rapid demographic assessments for freshwater turtles: filling in data deficiencies.

Kessler, E. J., S. M. LaGrange, and M. J. Dreslik. Ontogeny of movement behavior in Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys temminckii): insights from a reintroduced population.

Merchant, M. E., L. Adamovicz, and S. J. Baker. Characterization of innate immunity of Eastern (Terrapene carolina) and Ornate (Terrapene ornata) Box Turtles.

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 (Emydoidea blandingii) population.

 

Posters

Edmonds, D, and M. J. Dreslik. Clutch size in an Illinois Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata) population.

Kessler, E. J., S. M. LaGrange, and M. J. Dreslik. The influence of age and season on basking in Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys temminckii).

LaGrange, S. M., E. J. Kessler, and M. E. Merchant. Bite force scaling across size classes in the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) and Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

PaCE Lab at Biology of the Pit-Vipers

PaCE Lab Members and affiliates presented four posters at the third Biology of the Pit-Vipers conference held in Rodeo New Mexico – July 11 – 14 2019.

Baker, S. J., E. J. Kessler, E. Haynes, A. N. Schnelle, and M. C. Allender. Disentangling the effects of season and temperature on hematological values in Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis).

 

Dreslik, M. J., J. A. Crawford, and S. J. Baker. Assessing abundance of a cryptic viper using N-Mixture models.

 

 

Jesper, A. C. B., and M. J. Dreslik. Timing and temperature cues of spring emergence for the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) in Illinois.

 

 

 

Merchant, M., and S. Baker. Innate immune activity in the Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis).

Long-term spatial ecology study of Timber Rattlesnakes

HerpetologicaContinuing his tradition of long-term studies on reptile populations, PACE Lab leader Dr. Michael Dreslik and colleagues recently published a paper in Herpetologica analyzing the spatial ecology of the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) in the Coastal Plain of Virginia. This study analyzed 17 years of radio telemetry data, with over 14,000 radio locations.

Crotalus horridus in the Coastal Plain are commonly called Canebrakes and occupy cane thickets, areas around swamps and river floodplains, forests, mountainous areas, and rural habitats. This differs from Illinois habitats which include heavily forested rock outcrops and bluffs.

This long-term study found that movement patterns observed in shorter term studies hold true:

      • males move greater distances than females,
      • males have larger home ranges than females, and
      • movement is greatest during the mating season.

Read the full paper in the current issue of Herpetologica.

UBAP Ornithologist Rahlin receives Kushlan Research Award

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron

UBAP Ornithologist Anastasia Rahlin received the Kushlan Research Award  from the Waterbird Society to assist her research project entitled “Using environmental DNA sampling to determine heron and bittern occupancy in western and northern Michigan: a metagenomics approach.”

This work will improve knowledge of the ranges and population sizes of Black-crowned Night Herons, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, American Bitterns, and Least Bitterns and will inform conservation and management decisions for these rare and declining wetland birds.

 

9 days, 3 conferences, 8 talks, 2 posters

It’s been a busy week of sharing science for members of the PACE lab.

The Chicago Wilderness Wildlife Committee Meeting was held at Lincoln Park Zoo on February 19th:

 

Tara Hohoff presented “The status of Illinois bats five years after confirmation of white-nose syndrome,” using data from her work with the Illinois Bat Conservation Program and the Urban Biotic Assessment Program monitoring for the Illinois Tollway.

 

Joshua Sherwood presented “Assessing the distribution and habitat of Iowa Darters (Etheostoma exile) in Illinois,” with co-authors Andrew Stites, Jeremy Tiemann, and Michael Dreslik. This work changed the way people look for the Iowa Darter.

 

Jason Robinson presented “Patterns of abundance and co-occurrence of bumblebees associated with the Rusty Patched bumblebee.” RPBB is a federally protected species found in northeastern Illinois that has experienced a decline in its range.

 

Jason Ross presented “Demographic influence of head-starting on a Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) population in DuPage County, Illinois,” with co-author Michael Dreslik, discussing what amount of head-starting is needed to keep this population viable

 

The  2019 Wild Things Conference was held in Rosemont on February 23rd:

Tara Hohoff, representing the Illinois Bat Conservation Program, presented a poster “Year Three of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program.”

Anastasia Rahlin co-presented “Secretive Marsh Birds in the Big City.” with Audubon collaborator Stephanie Beilke on their ongoing work using playback to detect 17 focal wetland bird species in northeast Illinois and southeast Indiana. Soras were the most commonly detected species which was surprising/unexpected since Marsh Wrens and Swamp Sparrows are expected to be more common, and Little Blue Herons and Yellow-headed Blackbirds were the least detected which was pretty expected due to their declines. Future directions include creating species-specific occupancy models to better understand how our focal species respond to urbanization and presence of different wetland types at three different spatial scales.

Josh Sherwood presented “Current status of Bigeye Chub (Hybopsis amblops) in Illinois”.

Sarah Douglass presented “A preliminary analysis of mussel population dynamics in the Kishwaukee River.”

Jeremy Tiemann presented “Pulling the plug – Results of the fish and mussel salvage following the removal of the Danville Dam on the Vermilion River.”

Andy Stites presented a poster “Fecundity estimates of the Gravel Chub Erimystax x-punctatus

Snakes, fish, turtles, birds, and clams – PACE Lab at Midwest Fish and Wildlife conference

The PACE Lab was well represented at this week’s Midwest  Fish and Wildlife conference in Cleveland Ohio.  Lab members and affiliates from the INHS Herp Lab and the INHS Mollusc Lab presented 7 talks, 1 lightning talk, and 1 poster on a variety of fauna including: Massasaugas, Banded Killifish, Asian Clams, Alligator Snapping Turtles, Bigeye Chub, and Rails.

Presentations

  • Tracking recovery goals for the conservation reliant Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake. M. Redmer, M.J. Dreslik, and E.T. Hileman

  • Monitoring Eastern Massasauga populations within the Carlyle Lake region. M.J. Dreslik, J.A. Crawford, S.J. Baker, and C.A. Phillips

 

 

  • Combating threats to the Eastern Massasauga with directed conservation actions in Illinois. C.A. Phillips, S.J. Baker, and M.J. Dreslik
  • The epidemiology of Snake Fungal Disease in Eastern Massasaugas over the last 10 years. M.C. Allender, E. Haynes, M. Kelley, and S.J. Baker

 

  • Rapid expansion of Banded Killifish (Fundulus diaphanous) across northern Illinois: dramatic recovery or invasive species? J.S. Tiemann, P.W. Willink, T.A. Widloe, V.J. Santucci Jr., D. Makauskas, S D. Hertel, J. T. Lamer, and J.L. Sherwood

 

  • Testing the role of stream flow eDNA abundance using the invasive Asian clam Corbicula spp. M.A. Davis, J.S. Tiemann, S.A. Douglass, and E.R. Larson

Ethan Kessler presenting

  • Can we use environmental DNA to detect Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) at the edge of their range? E J. Kessler, K.T. Ash, S.N. Barratt, E.R. Larson, and M.A. Davis

 

 

Lightning Talks

  • Using environmental DNA to determine Rail occupancy and track migration. A.A. Rahlin, M.A. Davis, and M.L. Niemiller

Posters

  • Recovery of Bigeye Chub (Hybopsis amblops) populations in Illinois. J.L. Sherwood, A J. Stites, J.S. Tiemann, and M.J. Dreslik

The Enigmatic Asian Clam

Photo by L. Brian Stauffer Illinois News Bureau

UBAP Malacologists Sarah Douglass and Jeremy Tiemann wrote an article for the Fall 2018 issue of Illinois Audubon: “The Enigmatic Asian Clam.” Asian Clams are an invasive species that became established in the Midwest in the 1960s. Douglass and Tiemann identified an unknown species of Asian Clam found in the Illinois River in 2015 and have been studying its distribution. They plan to examine the effect of Asian Clams on the growth of native mussels in Illinois streams.

UBAP Malacologists Sarah Douglass and Jeremy Tiemann wrote an article for the Fall 2018 issue of Illinois Audubon: “The Enigmatic Asian Clam.” Asian Clams are an invasive species that became established in the Midwest in the 1960s. Douglass and Tiemann identified an unknown species of Asian Clam found in the Illinois River in 2015 and have been studying its distribution. They plan to examine the effect of Asian Clams on the growth of native mussels in Illinois streams.

The article is available from Illinois Audubon or by contacting the authors.

Illinois Audubon Magazine