We are developing a species distribution model using characteristics (e.g., soils, climate, geology) of known localities to
predict potential unknown sites or habitats.
We are also building a detection model for the HED to inform land managers and biologists on the effort and ideal environmental conditions needed to confidently determine HED absence at a given location.
During the flight season for adults, repeated random-length timed visual encounter surveys are conducted at fixed locations at a site known to contain HEDs. All dragonflies observed are recorded. Environmental variables are taken at the start and end of each survey and will enable us to determine the best conditions to survey for HED.
In 2018, we conducted 120 surveys at a location in Illinois known to have Hine’s Emerald Dragonflies. Additional surveys were conducted in 2019 and the model was developed.
In 2021 we began testing the species distribution model by visiting locations identified as having similar characteristics to known locations. We visited sites across Will County and observed two HEDs at one new location.
In 2022, we surveyed locations across Cook County, and found suitable habitat but did not observe any HED.
This model will now be used by the USFWS to target future surveys for this federally endangered species.
For a peek behind the scenes, read The Search for Flying Dragons on the Prairie