Genetic Assessment of Management and Restoration Practices of the Federally Threatened Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea (Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid)

Over the summer of 2015 we completed range-wide genetic sampling of Platanthera leucophaea. Claire Ellwanger and Cathy Pollack collected leaf tissue samples from 18 populations and received leaf samples from 14 populations thanks to collaborators like Jim Reinartz (UWM Field Station) across the range of the species.

Effects of Food Abundance on the Timing of Breeding in Tree Swallows

Understanding the mechanisms influencing the timing of reproduction has taken on new urgency as climate change is altering environmental conditions during reproduction, and there is concern that species will not be able to synchronize their reproduction with changing food supplies. One of our main goals is to determine how environmental factors, particularly temperature and food abundance, influence the timing of breeding and reproductive success.

Effects of Metriocnemus knabi Predation on Bacterivorous Ciliates in Sarracenia purpurea Pitchers

Decomposition of prey in the leaves of the carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea provides energy that supports an inquiline community consisting of bacteria, protozoans, rotifers, mites, and dipteran larvae. By demonstrating that midges consume both rotifers and ciliates, we now have reason to redraw the pitcher plant inquilines food web. We suggest that both W. smithii and M. knabi together form a guild of keystone predators.

Wildlife Population Assessment for the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern

The goal of this 3-year project is to evaluate the status of selected wildlife populations in the Milwaukee County portion of the Milwaukee River Area of Concern, and make recommendations for addressing Beneficial Use Impairments through habitat restoration projects and monitoring. The project is coordinated with Milwaukee County Parks, participating under separate funding. Work includes historical data collection, wildlife surveys, landowner outreach, and reporting. Work began in 2014 and continued in 2015. Funded by the Wisconsin DNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Enhancing Ecological Productivity of Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern Watersheds

The goal of this project is to assess and map wildlife habitat in the Ozaukee County portion of the Milwaukee River Basin, for ranking habitat restoration sites for best value. Work continued in 2015. Funded by EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Wisconsin Coastal Management Program awards to Ozaukee County.

Wildlife Ecopassage Monitoring

Wildlife ecopassages are designed to afford safe passage for wildlife across roadways, thereby reducing road mortality and improving traffic safety. Ecopassages allow wildlife to pass underneath the highway lanes, and maintain habitat and population connectivity on the landscape. This project will assess the effectiveness of ecopassages in Southeastern Wisconsin, and collect data on patterns of wildlife use.

National Park Service Great Lakes Network Amphibian Monitoring Program

The goal of this project is to implement amphibian monitoring in seven National Parks in the Western Great Lakes region. A protocol utilizing automated recording systems and supplemental visual surveys was completed in 2012, and we began implementing the program in three parks in 2013. In 2015 we expanded to seven Parks. Funded by the National Park Service.

Wisconsin Herp Atlas

The Wisconsin Herp Atlas is a distribution database of amphibians and reptiles in Wisconsin. The author initiated the Atlas in 1986 at the Milwaukee Public Museum, with the cooperative support of the Natural Heritage Inventory Program (WDNR) and The Nature Conservancy (Wisconsin Chapter). The Atlas collects and verifies records obtained from museum collections, field surveys, the literature, and field notes provided by volunteer observers throughout the state. In 2007 the Atlas was moved to the UWM Field Station, and currently houses over 73,000 occurrence records for Wisconsin. Record collection and vetting continued in 2015, and 62 new county distribution records were published.

Wildlife Monitoring in Ozaukee and Washington Counties, Wisconsin

The Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) began wildlife monitoring in 2004, as a means of assessing the success of habitat restorations, and identifying important wildlife resources for OWLT habitat management and acquisition and protection planning. In 2015 we continued herptile, crayfish and bird monitoring at several OWLT properties.

Traveling through time with the UWM Weather Station

Since 1989 The UWM Field Station has been home to a time machine, better known as the weather station of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station. The weather station collects electronic data on local temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction and humidity, and is helping researchers look back in time to make predictions about the effects of climate change into the future.