5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Ants: Biological Indicators of Successful Habitat Restoration
Anika Hazra, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ants have an intimate relationship with the soil and vegetation of areas they inhabit, and as such they are sensitive to changes in the quality and composition of their habitat. Comparing ant community structure of restored habitat to that of both actively disturbed and undisturbed habitat can help conservation managers determine if restored habitat can sustain a functionally diverse ant community.
Cattail Dilemma: Native Doom or Hybrid Dominance?
Pamela Geddes, Dept. of Biology and Environmental Science Program – Northeastern Illinois University; Kayla Martinez-Soto and Lynnette Murphy, NEIU
Cattail invasions pose many problems for wetland ecosystems. With the hybridization capability of several cattail species, their morphological identification is difficult. We have been using molecular tools to distinguish cattail species from each other. Our results suggest the native cattail may be at risk of extinction via hybridization, with an increased dominance by the hybrid cattail.
Diatoms Epiphitic on Sphagnum in the Bogs of the Chicagoland Region
Zak Zillen, Northeastern Illinois University
Sphagnum moss creates a microhabitat capable of hosting aquatic microorganisms about which little is known. We identified diatom algae growing epiphytically on Sphagnum in Volo Bog, Pinhook Bog, and Beulah Bog. The bogs each had few diatom species adapted to this microenvironment, and these species were also present as epiphytes on Sphagnum museum specimens, providing insight about historic water quality.
Fresh Water Sponges in Volo Bog and the Chicago River: Potential as Bioindicators
Karen Segura, Mike Vujanovic, and Jennifer Slate, Northeastern Illinois University
Freshwater sponges are filter feeders with potential as bioindicators due to varying tolerance to water chemistry. We investigated their taxonomy in Volo Bog, which has naturally acidic water and low pollution, and the Chicago River, which is alkaline and polluted. Results revealed the existence of different species in each water body, indicating that sponges reflect water quality.
Habitat Preference of Migratory Bird Species of the Bartel Grassland Prairie
Dawn Sasek, Oak Forest High School Ecology Club
The future of all stewardship lies in the involvement of our youth. This presentation will be delivered by members of the Oak Forest High School Ecology Club who spent the summer of 2016 monitoring habitat preference of migratory prairie birds species at Bartel Grasslands.
Illinois’ Duneslands – Remnants of a Glacial Past
Kathleen Garness, Friends of Hosah Prairie
Harboring some of our rarest species, duneslands are now fragmented and still under threat. This poster will highlight the remnant natural areas along the lakefront, some of the species that live there, and illustrate formation and ecology of the dunes from their beginnings in Lake Chicago.
Junior High School Field Research: New County Records of Reptiles and Amphibians from Livingston and Ford Counties in East-Central Illinois
Matthew Huisman and R. Scott Saffer, Prairie Central Schools
As part of ongoing field studies for our 7th grade science classes, we sampled locations in Livingston and Ford counties, Illinois, for the presence of amphibians and reptiles. Herein we report six captures by students that represent new county records.
Langham Island: The Return of the Kankakee Mallow and Other Surprises
Trevor Edmonson, Friends of Langham Island
Since 2014 volunteers have been working to restore one of the most interesting nature preserves in Illinois; Langham Island. This 20 acre island is home to over 300 plant species including the Kankakee Mallow (Iliamna remota) where it is the only place it naturally grows in the world. In 2016 we made some significant progress and uncovered a few other hidden treasures. Come learn more.
Little Campus on the Prairie
Remic Ensweiler, College of DuPage Natural Areas
College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL has 40 acres of natural area on campus. As the second largest college in IL, we are able to involve students in scientific research, outreach and community engagement, graphic design, horticulture, and practical on-the-ground restoration. Being located in such a populated region, we hope to restore the prairie, savanna and woodland habitats while bringing as many people out to the areas as we can.
North America’s Most Successful Osprey Propagation Program is in…Cook County!
Chris Anchor, Forest Preserves of Cook County
The Osprey is one is one of the largest and easily identified raptors in the Chicago region. Over the years, the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s wildlife staff has invested considerable time and energy into its “osprey nest pole” project and the effort has paid off. This is the most successful program of its kind in North America. Audience members will learn what it takes to attract this unique raptor.
Plant Community Composition Change and Landscape Effects on Pattern of Invasive Species
Maryam Gharehaghaji and Emily Minor, University of Illinois at Chicago; Scott Kobal and Wayne Lampa, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
We evaluate the effect of environment, management and land use change on the urban forest community in DuPage County forest preserves. We examine the effect of residential development, road density and canopy cover on forest composition and invasive species dynamics. Our results show a shift in tree canopy composition over time, with larger changes at particular locations on the landscape.
Plants of Concern’s Development of a Rapid Floristic Quality Assessment for the Chicago Park District
Jason Miller and Rachel Goad, Chicago Botanic Garden; Byron Tsang, Chicago Park District
POC is creating a rapid floristic quality assessment for CPD, with the goal to develop a standardized, replicable protocol that can provide long-term monitoring data on CPD’s natural areas. A targeted species list was used to reduce sampling time. This protocol will allow CPD to track floristic quality change in natural areas over time. POC’s initial results and methods of development will be presented.
Red-winged Blackbirds in Cook County
Melina Frezados, Forest Preserves of Cook County
Red-winged blackbirds have long been used as bio-monitors to gage the health of marshes. The Forest Preserves of Cook County will be studying Red-winged populations to better understand the relationships between marsh quality and habitat choice in this region. The audience will learn the techniques used to study this visible and engaging marshland bird.
Teasel life cycle and how to eradicate from IL roadsides.
Top Cook County Forest Preserves
Chris Benda, Illinois Natural History Survey
Despite intensive urban development, Cook County has incredible plant diversity, represented at many natural areas across the county. In 2014, The Prairie Research Institute evaluated the natural quality of all lands owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Twenty of the highest quality sites in each of the 5 zones will be presented.
Urban Considerations for Ecologically-Based Rodent Management
Alexis Smith, University of Illinois at Chicago – Minor Lab
Rodents live in high densities in cities and threaten human health and property. This is a conservation concern, because the rodenticide used in response can harm and kill non-target wildlife. As an alternative to rodenticide, ecologically-based rodent management (EBRM) applies ecological research to rodent control. This poster discusses motivations and logistics of developing urban EBRM plans.
Using Citizen Science to Track Great Lakes Fish Migrations
Karen Murchie, Charles Knapp, and Phil Willink, Shedd Aquarium; Peter McIntyre, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Erika Washburn, Gail Overholt, and Shon Schooler, Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve< br>Shedd Aquarium et al. are examining the utility of citizen science in documenting fish migrations in the Great Lakes through 2 projects. One involves an opportunistic approach whereby anglers document their observations into the Great Lakes Fish Finder app. The 2nd involves a concentrated effort to document sucker spawning migrations across a latitudinal gradient in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.