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  • Mowing dry detention basins makes mosquito problems worse, team finds

  • Statewide bird survey shows changes in bird diversity and distribution

  • Western corn rootworm webinar

    INHS Behavioral Entomologist Joe Spencer recently presented a webinar on Western Corn Rootworm, a longtime pest of corn crops in the United States. INHS scientists have been studying WCR, and ways to control them, for over 100 years. This webinar presents a review of WCR biology, the history of corn rootworm as a pest species and the WCR's adaptation to crop rotation that began in Illinois. The use of Bt-transgenic corn for rootworm management is introduced along with assumptions about WCR behavior in refuge and Bt corn. Data on WCR behavior and mating in several different configurations of refuge and Bt- corn are presented to illustrate how the placement of refuge affects the biology and ecology of mating WCR beetles.

  • Wet Weather Challenges the 2008 Growing Season

    Although recent Illinois weather conditions have been ideal for crops, many areas have been affected by late planting and significant flooding across the state, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Decades-old amber collection offers new views of an ancient world

  • Japanese beetles spreading westward

    INHS Entomologist and Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey coordinator Kelly Estes was interviewed about the spread of Japanese Beetles westward. Their ability to spread in a given year is dependent on fluctuating populations, which can be affected by rainfall. The best way to get rid of them is collecting them in a bucket of hot soapy water.

  • July in Illinois–Cool and Dry

    The statewide average temperature for July in Illinois was 73.3 degrees, 2 degrees below the 1981-2010 average. It currently ranks as the 19th coolest July on record, dating back to 1895, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • sun

    July 2019: Prolonged stretch of abnormally wet weather comes to an end

    July 2019 signaled the end of a persistent and historic stretch of abnormally wet conditions across Illinois, along with several notable periods of significantly above average temperatures.

  • a deer

    Chronic wasting disease: hunters' perceptions and attitudes

    For Outdoor Illinois Journal, INHS scientists describe what their surveys have revealed about deer hunters'perceptions and attitudes toward the management of chronic wasting disease in Illinois' deer population.

  • July Conditions in Illinois Ranged from Floods to Drought

    Northern Illinois experienced heavy rain and widespread flooding in July. Meanwhile, parts of central and southern Illinois experienced dry weather that caused crop damage, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois.

  • July brought high humidity and above average rainfall

    Rainfall was above average in July in Illinois with slightly cooler temperatures and very high humidity, even by recent climate standards, according to Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford at the University of Illinois’ Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Yanghui Cao, Valeria Trivellone, and Christopher Dietrich, photo by Fred Zwicky

    Study tracks plant pathogens in leafhoppers from natural areas

    Phytoplasmas are bacteria that can invade the vascular tissues of plants, causing many crop diseases. While most studies of phytoplasmas begin by examining plants showing disease symptoms, a new analysis by researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey focuses on the tiny insects that carry the infectious bacteria from plant to plant. By extracting and testing DNA from archival leafhopper specimens collected in natural areas, the study identified new phytoplasma strains and found new associations between leafhoppers and phytoplasmas known to harm crop plants.

  • Cooler than Normal July Prevails

    "Statewide July temperatures averaged 73.5°F, 2.3°F below normal, and the 20th coolest July since 1895. While we had some hot days, Illinois generally managed to avoid the heat wave experienced out West during July," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • July: Cool and Wet for Illinois

    July was both cooler and wetter than average in Illinois, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • State Climatologist: An active July continues a warm summer

    July was warmer and wetter than average across Illinois, continuing a warmer than average summer season. The preliminary statewide average July temperature was 77.2 degrees, 1.8 degrees above the 30-year normal. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for July was 5.79 inches, 1.71 inches wetter than normal.

  • July: A Month of Extremes for Illinois

    July could be described as a month of extremes for Illinois. Hot and humid weather was persistent throughout the month. Meanwhile, heavy rains occurred in parts of northern and southern Illinois while central Illinois struggled with dry weather, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.isws.illinois.edu).

  • Record Wet Conditions Continue for the Midwest

    Heavy rain continued to fall across the Midwest this July after Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio broke records for June precipitation. Seven of the nine states in the region recorded above normal precipitation for July, according to Bryan Peake, service climatologist at the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/), Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).

  • Scientific Models Use Weather Data to Predict State's West Nile Virus Infection Rates

    As this year's West Nile virus (WNV) transmission season begins, researchers from the University of Illinois have made available forecasting models they created for each of the nine climate areas of Illinois to predict mosquito infection rates on a weekly basis. Mosquitoes transmit WNV to humans.

  • Getting the scoop on Illinois mussels

    Rob Kanter, who writes Environmental Almanac spent the day with INHS field biologists as they both looked for, and relocated, some Illinois mussels. Kanter's article also discusses sampling techniques and the life-cycle of this animal. 

  • Engineering students help INHS researchers

    INHS researchers tapped into the innovative nature of engineering students to design systems that would help address questions about North American River Otters. As part of their senior design projects, 4 groups of students set out to tackle different problems. One device, the Otter Print Shooter, is a pressure and motion sensitive camera encased in clear box, under ground. When an otter steps on the box, the print shooter takes a photo of the paw. Otter paw prints are believed to have unique patterns, similar to fingerprints. The Otter Stalker System wirelessly connects multiple trail cameras, thereby increasing the field of view, allowing the researchers to capture more of the behavior of river otters.

  • INHS Scientists participate in BioBlitz

    INHS scientists gathered with colleagues to document as many species as possible in a 24 hour period in a Bio-blitz at Salt Lick Point Soil and Water Reserve. A videographer documented the event for WSIU.

  • Researchers find evidence of ritual use of 'black drink' at Cahokia

  • No Surprise: July was Hot and Dry in Illinois

    This July was the second warmest and fourth driest on record, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

  • July–Warmer and Wetter than Normal for Illinois

    The statewide average temperature for Illinois in July was 77.7 degrees, 1.9 degrees above normal. While it was warm and uncomfortably humid, it was only the 19th warmest July on record, tied with 1986 and 1952, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.isws.illinois.edu).

  • INHS scientists help reconstruct prairie on U of I campus

    INHS Botanists have been involved in prairie reconstructions on the U of I campus. Currently, the area along Florida Ave and Orchard is being reconstructed, after having been designated a "No-Mow-Zone." According to Botanist Jamie Ellis, their approach to ecological restoration "is evolving and emerging" as they adapt to new challenges. One of the big challenges is that it's a large area that was lawn grass for a long time. Additionally, prairie plants can be slow to take hold in a new area.

  • Freshwater mussels: overlooked and under appreciated

    Environmental Almanac writer Rob Kanter wrote "Freshwater mussels: overlooked, under appreciated residents of Illinois streams" earlier this month, referencing the INHS publication Field Guide to Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest. Malacologist Kevin Cummings was consulted for the post and reported that North America has the greatest diversity of freshwater mussels, with nearly three hundred species and subspecies. Illinois is/was home to eighty of these species, but only about half of them are currently found with regularity.

  • Warmer fall temperatures don’t eliminate risk of early fall freeze

    Temperatures in September and October have risen for decades in the Midwest; however, early fall freeze events have occurred despite the increasing temperatures.

  • teamwork

    Teamwork and expertise drive success with major decarbonization projects

    From 2018 to 2020, ISTC submitted over 200 proposals for technology R&D projects, winning more than 60 percent of those projects and bringing in more than $84 million in external funding. Major partners include the U.S.  Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the state of Illinois.

  • West Nile found in Champaign county mosquitoes

    INHS Medical Entomology Program confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus in a mosquito sample from the Champaign Department of Public Health. Champaign is the 12th county to have positive mosquito samples this year. No human cases have been reported yet this year, but the CDPH recommends dumping standing water and taking general precautions.

  • Study of bird lice shows how evolution sometimes repeats itself

  • Drought takes a toll on monarchs

    INHS Entomologist Michael Jeffords was interviewed about the current state of monarch butterflies in Illinois. "Last year’s drought had a twofold effect. Fewer monarchs were produced in the Midwest, and those that were had a tough time migrating to Mexico as they had a thousand miles of virtually nectarless landscape to cross in Texas and northern Mexico," Jeffords said. For additional information on Monarchs, check out this INHS species spotlight.

  • Soil Moisture Increased throughout Illinois Due to Recent Rains

    Recent rains increased soil moisture throughout the state, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • snake

    Snake fungal disease alters skin microbiome in eastern massasaugas

    In the first study of its kind, researchers characterized the skin microbiome of a population of free-ranging snakes to begin to understand how the animals’ environmental microbial community may promote disease resistance as well as how it may be disrupted by infection.

  • Farmers Must Adapt to Climate Changes in Illinois

    Farmers who keep an eye on the sky and an ear tuned to the local weather report will also want to pay attention to long-term climate change trends which may sway production decisions down the road.

  • Illinois Soils Cooler, Drier in Mid-August

    Soil temperatures at depths of 4 inches under sod averaged 75.8 degrees in Illinois during the first half of August, 1.2 degrees below the long-term average and 4.0 degrees lower than the same period in 2016

  • Little Change in Soil Moisture During the First Half of August

    Soil moisture levels in Illinois showed little overall change in the first half of August, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program Manager at the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • Soil Moisture Continues to Decline in Illinois

    Soil moisture continued to decline across Illinois with levels at 2 inches 27 percent lower on August 15 than those from July 15, according to Jennie Atkins, Water and Atmospheric Resources Monitoring (WARM) Program Manager at the Prairie Research Institute, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • August Rainfall, Heaviest on Record in Northeastern Illinois

    "Rainfall amounts in northeastern Illinois already have established this as the wettest August and wettest summer since regional records began in 1895. As of the morning of August 24, rainfall for northeastern Illinois (including those counties from Boone to LaSalle and eastward) averaged 11.32 inches, 8.10 inches above normal, and beating the 1987 record of 11.02 inches. Totals for JuneAugust thus far in this area averaged 20.02 inches, 8.91 inches above normal, and beating the 1972 record of 19.26 inches," says State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu), a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

  • First fossil of differential grasshopper described

    INHS Paleo-entomologist Sam Heads and collaborator Yinan Wang recently described the first fossil record of the differential grasshopper. The specimen, a species which is still alive today, was found in material from the Late Pleistocene McKittrick tar pits of southern California.

  • Multi-state team relocates endangered mussels ahead of construction project

    Illinois scientists worked with others from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commision, the US Fish and WIldlife Service, and state agencies from Ohio and West Virginia to relocate federally endangered mussels from the Alleghany River in Forest County Pennsylvania. Approximately 3,900 federally endangered riffleshell and clubshell mussels were gathered from the Alleghany River to be relocated to sites in Illinois and Ohio in advance of the removal and reconstruction of the Hunter Station Bridge.  According to INHS malacologist Kevin Cummings, more than 70% of the 300 species of North American mussels are endangered or threatened with the greatest threat being loss of habitat. "Of the 300 species of mussels living in North America, 98 percent of them live in free-flowing rivers. And if you look at a map of large rivers in the United States, there are very few free-flowing rivers left.  [Mussels] are a great indicator species and, when they start to wink out, you know you have an (environmental) issue."

  • Understanding erosion at Illinois Beach State Park

    ISGS and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program are studying shoreline dynamics, erosion, and habitat loss at Illinois Beach State Park, one of the last stretches of natural coastline in Illinois. 

  • Near-Normal August after a Hot and Dry Summer for Illinois

    After months of exceptionally warm temperatures and drought, Illinois finally experienced temperatures and precipitation closer to normal in August, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Over time, an invasive plant loses its toxic edge

    Dr. Richard Lankau and plant ecologist Greg Spyreas, both of the Illinois Natural History Survey, just published an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) about the potency of garlic mustard over time. Garlic mustard is an invasive species that injects a toxin into the soil. Research conducted by INHS researchers indicates that over time the toxin becomes less potent.

  • Record-Wettest August in Illinois

    The statewide average rainfall for August was 6.89 inches, 3.30 inches above normal and the wettest August on record, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • Illinois Has a Cool, Dry August

    August was cool across the state and dry in most places in Illinois, capping off a summer that was cool and wet, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • State Climatologist: A mild August wraps up summer in Illinois

    Mild temperatures in August this year in Illinois followed a heatwave in May, above average temperatures in June, and a cooler July.

  • Cool, Wet Summer in Illinois

    Based on preliminary data for Illinois, this was the 11th coolest and 8th wettest summer since statewide records began in 1895. The average temperature for June–August was 71.4 degrees, 2.4 degrees below normal. The total precipitation for June–August was 15.2 inches, 3.6 inches above normal, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey 

  • A Wet August Wraps Up a Cool, Wet Summer in Illinois

    The 12th wettest August in Illinois finishes out the 10th wettest summer on record. While August was slightly warmer than average, the summer was cooler than average, according to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, Illinois State Water Survey, University of Illinois.

  • clouds with pink lining

    State Climatologist: Varied temperatures and rainfall and a derecho make for a wild August

    August was slightly cooler and much drier than average across Illinois. The preliminary statewide average August temperature was 72.7 degrees, 0.9 degrees below the 30-year normal and the 45th coolest on record. Preliminary statewide average total precipitation for August was 2.01 inches, 1.58 inches below than the 30-year normal and the 15th driest on record.

  • Cool, Dry August for Illinois

    August statewide precipitation was below normal, ending an eight-month streak of above-normal precipitation in Illinois that began in December 2007, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey (http://www.sws.uiuc.edu).