Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Back from Summer Field Research

The best thing about conservation ecology research for me, is the fact that there is usually a good amount of time spent outside gathering data. For most of us in the lab the bulk of that data collected in the field is done during summer semester (June, July, August). Now that it is fall semester, we are back to a weekly schedule that includes classes. This means we are in the office more, and have some time to catch up with each other.  So here are some updates from our lab:

I (Rachel) have been out re-surveying the ash trees that are still alive and trapping emerald ash borer beetle in our parks of NW Ohio. This information will be used to adjust my population models, and I am also starting to create models that predict what would happen under different management scenarios.

A picture of Rachel in the field, ready to measure small ash seedlings.

Our newest addition to the lab is Jake Schoen, he is the one in plaid and a beard. He's an incoming master's student from Ohio University with an interest in spatial ecology, distribution, and habitat suitability analysis of fauna in the Oak Openings Region.
Photo From Left to Right: Amanda Martin, Tyler Turner, Karen Root, Jake Schoen, Rachel Kappler, and Greg Gustafson.

Greg G said, "I sampled all taxa in the oak savanna's of the oak openings region. I found an abundance of birds and mammals in the study sites. Reptiles and amphibians were harder to come across and subsequently will not be analyzed. Point counts were used to survey birds and mammals. I also used camera traps to track large mammals on my study sites. I used cover boards as the main method to track amphibians and reptiles. Some remarkable sightings over the summer included Piliated Woodpeckers, Coyotes and Eastern Box Turtles. Overall the diversity between savanna plots seems varied and may give me some significant results to report in the spring."

Tyler T's research this summer took a 3 pronged approach to study the effects of human land use on the activity, diversity, and distribution of native bat species. Utilizing non-invasive acoustic monitors, her recorded feeding calls of native bats, and used those calls along with GPS location tags to identify what species were feeding and where they were. These studies included driving transects, overnight stationary monitoring, and walking transects done by citizen scientist volunteers. He identified all 8 species of native bats between May and September, though 3 were much more common (Eptesicus fuscus, Lasionycteris noctivagans, and Lasiurus borealis). He will use these calls to identify patterns, both spatially and temporally, for the individual species to help better inform land management of natural and agricultural landscapes.

Amanda found several eastern box turtles (Terrapene c. carolina) this summer. She used radio telemetry to keep track of how far they traveled to examine daily and monthly movements. She found several eastern garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) and used fluorescent powder to track their movements within a day. This fine-scale data helps us to understand how reptiles interact with their environments.

 Box Turtle in the Oak Openings Region.

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