Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

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S10: The Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership: An Innovative University-State Agency Partnership for Conservation in Ohio [clear filter]
Tuesday, January 29

10:20am EST

(NEW) (SYMPOSIA-10) The Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership: An Innovative University-State Agency Partnership for Conservation in Ohio
AUTHORS: H. Lisle Gibbs

ABSTRACT: The Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership (OBCP) is a unique partnership between Ohio State University and the Ohio Division of Wildlife that was established in 2011. It leverages strengths of each organization to conduct outstanding scientific research that informs management and conservation of Ohio’s rare and endangered species. This talk and the associated symposium will highlight the advantages and challenges of this partnership from administrative and scientific perspectives and feature talks that describe the scientific achievements and conservation implications of OBCP-sponsored research on Ohio’s State-listed species. The goal is to provide an example of an alternative way in which funding through State Wildlife Grants can be effectively used for conservation and management activities.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST

10:40am EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) OBCP: An Agency Perspective
AUTHORS: Kate Parsons, ODNR-Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: The goal of the Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership is to conduct outstanding scientific research that directly benefits the citizens of Ohio by providing sound, scientifically-based advice for managing endangered species and other species of greatest conservation need in the state. From the state wildlife agency’s perspective, sound science is critical to management decisions. The OBCP research projects are used to focus on key information, whether it’s better understanding a species habitat needs or population structure. The faculty at OSU have the expertise to develop and conduct research that addresses current and emerging issues in wildlife conservation.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST

11:00am EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) Timber Rattlesnake Habitat Use: A Thermal Landscape Perspective
AUTHORS: William Peterman, Andrew Hoffman, Annalee Tutterow – Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Temperature is of paramount consideration for ectothermic animals. Numerous studies have previously described multiscale habitat selection and use in timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus). However, there is currently limited understanding of how habitat use and selection are related to the thermal landscape. The primary objectives of this study are to understand how the thermal landscape is affected by land use and forest management, and how spatial and temporal habitat use by timber rattlesnakes relates to the thermal landscape. To create a down-scaled near-surface air temperature model, we deployed remote temperature loggers across our focal landscape in Southeast Ohio. We then used fine-scale LiDAR data to derive spatial topographic surfaces as well as surfaces describing forest structure. Using these models, we related the predicted spatial-temporal air temperatures to field observations of radio telemetered snake locations, as well to snake body temperature data collected using internal temperature data loggers.Our near-surface air temperature and snake body temperature models both fit the data well with high predictive power. Unsurprisingly, we found that gravid females, on average, occupied areas of the landscape with higher temperatures than non-gravid snakes. We have observed large differences in parturition dates in our population. Females that give birth earlier in the summer are occupying areas that are warmer than areas occupied by females that give birth later in the summer. Our study provides a novel perspective of habitat use in timber rattlesnakes, and adds to the limited knowledge of timber rattlesnake ecology in the Midwest. A clear understanding of the landscape features affecting near-surface air temperatures and the spatial thermal ecology of timber rattlesnake has the potential to facilitate more effective and targeted habitat management.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST

11:20am EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) Look at 7 Years of Bat Acoustic Surveys in Ohio
AUTHORS: Bridget K.G. Brown, Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: White-nose Syndrome (WNS) was discovered in the United States in New York in 2006. It slowly made its way across the country and was found in Ohio in 2011. Substantial declines were reported starting in 2012 in Ohio's two largest hibernacula, the Preble and Lawrence County mines. However, there was little information on the impact WNS was having on Ohio’s summer populations. In order to determine this, the Ohio Division of Wildlife instigated a mobile bat acoustic survey. The goal of this project was to noninvasively monitor the summer bat populations in Ohio and determine the negative effects (e.g. population declines and loss of species diversity) that WNS may be having statewide. This program has grown to include 44 acoustic routes with over 100 volunteers assisting. Survey results were compared annually to monitor changes in bat abundance along each route. There was evidence of declines, although not statistically significant, in state bat abundance overall from 2011 to 2017. This is likely as a result of WNS in combination with other various threats to bats (e.g. wind turbines and habitat loss). There was a significant increase in abundance between 2014 and 2017 (p=.014050). Increases from 2014 could represent beginning recoveries in Ohio’s bat populations or a change in species composition across the post-WNS landscape. Continuing this project into the future could allow for further understanding of the status of Ohio's bat populations.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST

11:40am EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) Adaptive Variation in Venom Genes in Small Isolated Populations of Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes
AUTHORS: Alex Ochoa, Michael Broe, H. Lisle Gibbs – Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Small isolated populations of endangered species can experience genetic costs through the loss of adaptive variation and/or the accumulation of deleterious mutations through genetic drifts.  The endangered Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) occurs in isolated populations with small effective sizes throughout its range in the U.S. and Canada, but little is known about the levels of adaptive genetic variation in existing populations.  Here, we used DNA capture probes and Next Generation Sequencing to assess the genetic diversity of venom genes in 93 Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes from 12 populations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, and Ontario.  Specifically, we characterized the genetic diversity of genes encoding PLA2, BPP, CRISP, SVSP, and SVMP venom proteins, as well as an additional set of ~1400 non-toxin and neutral loci.  Within populations, we find that variation—defined as the presence of nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms in venom genes—is common and not related to effective population sizes, as determined from neutral genetic markers.  This suggests that small populations of this species still retain high levels of adaptive genetic variation despite the impact of strong genetic drift. In contrast, levels of population divergence in toxin and non-toxin loci are similar, thus making the roles of selection versus genetic drift in maintaining population differences in venom gene alleles uncertain.  Broadly, we discuss the implications of our results for management activities for this endangered snake from a conservation genetics perspective.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 11:40am - 12:00pm EST

1:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) The Ohio Dragonfly Survey: Citizen Science and INaturalist
AUTHORS: MaLisa Spring, Norman Johnson – The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Dragonflies and damselflies are predatory arthropods that are reliant on aquatic habitats in both their immature and adult forms. Ohio is home to 170 species of dragonflies and damselflies. Of these, 23 are state-listed as endangered, threatened, or species of concern. The Ohio Dragonfly Survey is a citizen-science group documenting all species across the state to get a better understanding of the current distribution patterns and phenology. Thanks to the help of dedicated naturalists, we compiled over new 30,000 records in iNaturalist to incorporate into the survey. To date, 806 different users have contributed data via iNaturalist. Of these, 42 individuals contributed at least 100 observations to the survey. Odonata experts verify these observations, and a majority of the observations have reached research grade. Hundreds of new county records have been reported which have significantly expanded the known distribution of several species (Dythemis velox, Enallagma traviatum westfalli, Libellula incesta). Many species are still poorly documented, with several known from only a single county in Ohio: Aeshna interrupta, Calopteryx angustipennis, Enallagma anna, Enallagma doubledayi, Erithrodiplax miniscula, Hylogomphus abbreviatus, Leucorrhinia proxima, Libellula flavida, Somatochlora incurvata, Somatochlora kennedyi, and Tramea calverti.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST

1:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) River Rearing of in Vitro Mussels
AUTHORS: Jacqualyn Halmbacher, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Transformation of larval mussels and grow out of juveniles to a releasable size requires knowledge of the correct host, inoculations with the larvae, growing algae as a food source, supplementing water with proper nutrients and the lengthy process of rearing freshwater mussel juveniles in a laboratory setting. In vitro transformation with grow out in a natural setting streamlines this process. In this study, several batches of juveniles from various species of mussels were placed in concrete river grow out "silos" immediately after being taken out of the in vitro incubator. Two river sites in Ohio were used: Big Darby Creek and the Kokosing River. Growth measurements were taken every two weeks. Transforming mussels using in vitro techniques followed by river rearing surpassed any laboratory growth rates known to date.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST

2:00pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) Fishes of Ohio Inventory and Distribution Project
AUTHORS: Brian J. Zimmerman, The Ohio State University; Dan Rice, (retired) Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (ODNR); Marc R. Kibbey, The Ohio State University; Marymegan Daly, PhD, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Milton Trautman’s classic book, “The Fishes of Ohio,” was published in 1981 and did an excellent job presenting the distribution and status of Ohio’s fish fauna at the time. In subsequent decades, fish communities of Ohio have changed in composition and distribution. In 2011, we began an inventory of the current status of all fish species found in Ohio. Some of these changes we have documented are positive, including the large scale expansion of many species of riverine fish that have been characterized as sensitive to water quality. Other changes point towards declines, particularly in species reliant on wetland or glacial lake habitats. In addition to trends in distribution and abundance of native species, we see significant impact in the occurrence of non-indigenous species that were not documented by Trautman. The results of the 2011-2017 distribution surveys are summarized in our 2018 field guide “A Naturalist Guide to the Fishes of Ohio” by Dan Rice and Brian Zimmerman.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:00pm - 2:20pm EST

2:20pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) A Partnership to Recover Ohio’s Giant Salamander, the Eastern Hellbender
AUTHORS: Gregory Lipps, Jr., Nicholas Smeenk – Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: The Eastern Hellbender is a large, completely aquatic salamander that inhabits lotic waters, spending most of its life under large rocks.  Surveys from 2006-2009 found that the relative abundance of Hellbenders in Ohio declined by over 80% with most populations having reduced recruitment of young.  A diverse group of individuals representing state and federal wildlife and environmental agencies, zoos, soil and water conservation districts, and academic researchers have met regularly for the past decade under the umbrella of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership to develop and implement plans to recover the species and its habitat.  Since 2011, we have collected eggs from 27 nests for head-starting in biosecure facilities, resulting in the release of 960 individuals into Ohio waterways. While water quality in the state greatly improved after the passage of environmental legislation in the early 1970s, increases in sedimentation and conductivity still pose major impediments to maintaining suitable habitat and establishing self-sustaining populations, especially in areas of increased oil and gas exploration.  While the future of the Hellbender in Ohio is far from certain, the diverse partnership has become a model for addressing the multitude of challenges associated with the recovery of endangered species.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST

2:40pm EST

(SYMPOSIA-10) Aquatic Ecosystem Conservation
AUTHORS: S. Mažeika P. Sullivan, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: Ohio’s stream, river, and wetland ecosystems have been subjected to multiple environmental stressors (e.g., changes in climate and land-use; alterations in stream hydrogeomorphic processes; ecosystem contaminants and nutrient enrichment, etc.). These changes can affect aquatic communities and ecosystems in myriad and interactive ways, with rare and endangered species particularly susceptible. The Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership (OBCP) has been an effective mechanism in supporting and catalyzing applied research that directly informs conservation, restoration, and management of rare fish species, aquatic communities, and ecosystem function. Here, I overview specific examples of linked research-conservation activities supported by OBCP and how they have contributed to improved aquatic ecosystem health (e.g., impacts of dam removal, linkages between fluvial geomorphology and aquatic communities, rare fish propagation and reintroduction). I also highlight additional advantages of OBCP in the context of aquatic resources including training and diversifying undergraduate and graduate students, leveraging for federal funding, and increasing science communication.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 2:40pm - 3:00pm EST