Friday, November 30, 2018

New Students in the Lab

Our new students Kelly, Kelsey, and Victoria have been working on research ideas during the last semester.  Research proposals are a very important part of the degree process. Our lab projects are getting some new questions applied to them for further expansion of our knowledge of the Oak Openings Region.

Kelly is working on research questions related to our ongoing bat research, with a specific focus on how bat activity and diversity are impacted by landscape factors related to urbanization.

Kelsey is learning what past land management has occurred in the area to study the effects of management created edges (e.g. prescribed fire) on the abundance and movement of small mammals and bats in the Oak Openings Preserve.

Victoria is questioning road impacts on species at a larger scale that our previous work near the Oak Openings Metropark. She is looking at how different variables, such as land use and distance from parks influence animal movement using roadkill as a lens. She is extending her surveys to four of the local nature areas.

 Our lab picture has from Right to Left: Kelly, Kelsey, Victoria, Rachel, Karen, Amanda, and Jake.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Root Lab Updates - Bats, Biodiversity, Big Achievments

Our top ten list of things from the 2018 spring semester were:

1. Degree completion for Tyler Turner, Greg Guffstufson, and Rachel Kappler.  What are we going to do with out them?
2. Bat species are more abundant in mixed use landscapes, but are also found around agriculture fields. There are likely ways we could add natural features surrounding ag fields, which would improve pest control by bats.  

3. Land Management activities involving prescribed burning and mechanical removal of plants impacts the structure which impacts the wildlife. For example leaf litter and canopy openness is altered and it impacts the distribution and abundance of birds and mammals.

4. The local ash tree population at Oak Openings Preserve has had their probability of persistence assessed, and it doesn't look great for them, but there are variables that could improve their outcome.

5. Reptiles: snakes are cool 🐍and turtle are too cute🐒, research is underway to study secrete serpent shenanigans.

6. Camera Surveying: Jake will be searching for Canidae, but will analyze all species caught in camera photos around the Oak Openings Region.

7. Office Plants are the best, we have a great selection of them in our office.

8. Greg got a job and its in California! 😎🌊🌞

9. Rachel had research published in the online journal "Forests".

10. Dr. Karen Root was a part of a panel on "rights of nature" legality

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Oak Openings Research Forum 2018

This year the Oak Openings Research Forum happened yesterday, Feb. 4th. There was a great lineup of speakers, including our own Tyler Turner. I think some of the best presentations were given by G.T. Watters on Ohio Mussels and Brendan Shirkey on Marshland Rails. The keynote was Dr. Stanley D. Gehrt from OSU who has done extensive research on coyotes in the urban/suburban environment. An excellent event all around.

Above is Tyler during his presentation, revealing how bat activity decreased  as distance from forested areas increased.
If you saw our instagram post (@root_conservation) you saw how the diversity of bats was highest in the forested areas, decreased in the forest/ag mosaic, and was least in the agricultural areas he surveyed.  All his surveys were done from the roads near these habitat types.

 Amanda Martin had a beautiful poster comparing the original landcover map of the Oak Openings Region with her updated version. Overall, natural/semi-natural land covers increased by 5.8%, with a decrease in forests/woodlands and and increase in prairies/meadows. 

Greg Gustafson also had a poster with his research on land management effects on terrestrial vertebrates. 
He surveyed locations with different land management history. There was a higher avian abundance, and more 
tree snags (standing dead trees) in locations with more management history/actions.  
He also found that percent oak savanna surrounding sites had a correlation with white-tail deer abundance.

Here is the whole lab (From Left to Right) Greg. G, Karen Root, Amanda M., Tyler T., Rachel Kappler and Jake Schoen