2021 NRES Symposium

PACE Lab graduate students presented at the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Symposium, April 17th, 2021.

    • Alma C. Schrage presented “Bumble Bee Detection and Occupancy in Northern Illinois” Click for more info
    • Devin Edmonds presented “Informing the Mantella cowanii Conservation Action Plan” Click for more info
    • Anastasia Rahlin presented “Spatial and temporal drivers of marsh bird occupancy in an urbanized matrix” Click for more info
    • Tyler Stewart presented “Distribution and Detection Probability for Kirtland’s Snake (Clonophis kirtlandii)” Click for more info

Wild Things Conference goes virtual

Asya recording dataThis year, the Wild Things Conference will be virtual and held over two weekends, with live events as well as pre-recorded talks. UBAP ornithologist Asya Rahlin and her collaborators Stephanie Beilke (Audubon Great Lakes), and Libby Keyes (Governors State University) will have a streaming session going during both weekends of the conference.

Their talk, “A New Bird Banding Station Lands in Chicago” will discuss their project establishing a bird banding station at Big Marsh in the Calumet Region.
Learn about the Chicago Ornithological Society’s bird banding station, which debuted at Big Marsh in 2020, and what they hope to find from using this new banding station to spur research and outreach in the Calumet region.

Wild Things 2021: Part 1 will take place February 19-21

Wild Things 2021: Part 2 will take place February 26-28

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

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

 

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 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).