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  • Stoneflies, a bioindicator of river quality, mapped across Ohio

    INHS scientists worked with peers at Western Kentucky University to conduct a statewide assessment of stoneflies in Ohio. Utilizing over 30,000 specimens from 18 museums they determined that there are between 102 and 120 species of stonefly in Ohio. These environmentally sensitive insects are an indicator of river health and this study will help Ohio prioritize high quality streams for protection.

  • Dr. Jelka Crnobrnja-Isailovic and Jaclyn Adams working with a snake in a field of grass

    Uncovering the mystery of Kirtland's snakes

    The Kirtland's snake is shy and secretive, and, as a result, not a lot is known about it. A group of researchers is working hard to change that. They're developing a better understanding of this small but beautiful snake that is widely scattered in small enough numbers to put it on Illinois' threatened species list.

  • Dr. Paul G. Risser, 5th Chief of INHS in memorium

    Dr. Paul Gillan Risser passed away 10 July 2014 at the age of 74.

  • Dr. Richard Sparks recognized by The Nature Conservancy

    Dr. Richard Sparks, the Director of Research for the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, received the Illinois River Valley Conservation Award from the Nature Conservancy on October 2, 2007 in recognition for his work advancing the science and management of large rivers in Illinois and around the world. For more information, visit this website.

  • Dr. Hoover's research on "Retaliatory mafia behavior by a parasitic cowbird favors host" featured in PNAS

  • Four-leaf clover: Rare variation of a common, edible weed (and may be good luck)

    INHS Botanist Greg Spyreas was interviewed for an article about four-leaf clovers. He explained that it is a developmental anomaly and couldn't attest to its luckiness. Having found a four-leaf clover once may or may not explain that his "whole life has been good luck.”

  • Juvenile Bighead Carp more vulnerable to predation

    INHS graduate student Eric Sanft, presented "Vulnerability of Juvenile Asian Carp to Predation by Largemouth Bass" at the recent Midwest Fish and Wildlife meetings. His research found that bighead carp are more susceptible than other carp species to predation by largemouth bass. Read more about Asian Carp research from our Kaskaskia River Biological Station.

  • Study Finds Waterfowl Hunters’ Spending Benefits Rural Areas

    Guns, gear, gas for the truck, drinks for the cooler, and the faithful dog: such recreational expenses for a day of duck or goose hunting in Illinois add up to a big boost to the local economy, according to Craig Miller, human dimensions scientist at the University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute.

  • Kevin Johnson elected Fellow of American Ornithologists' Union

    This year, INHS Ornithologist Kevin Johnson was elected as a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union. Fellows are chosen for their exceptional and sustained contributions to ornithology and service to the Union. Johnson's work has included systematics and the coevolution of host-parasite relationships. Some examples include his work on the passenger pigeon and lice.

  • Beware of Climate Neoskepticism

    Skepticism and uncertainty should not excuse inaction in protecting the environment from human-caused climate change, say scientists in a new essay published in the journal Science on August 12.

  • Be A Hero - Transport Zero campaign to stop the spread of exotic species wins award

    The Awards for Publication Excellence (APEX) are given each year by Communication Concepts to recognize outstanding publication work in a variety of fields, and one of the Illinois Natural History Survey projects was selected this year for an award. Sarah Zack, Pat Charlebois, and their IL-IN Sea Grant colleague Jason Brown were awarded in the Green Campaigns, Programs & Plans category for their work on our “Be A Hero – Transport Zero” campaign and messaging, and for the website. The campaign is designed to show boaters, fishermen, and other recreational water users how simple it can be to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species between water bodies.

  • INHS mycology herbarium receives Alan D. Parker Collection

  • INHS Entomologist featured in video by National Park Service

    INHS Aquatic Entomologist Ed DeWalt was featured in a video put out by the National Park Service: Scientists and Citizens: Investigating Aquatic Insects in Great Lakes National Parks.

  • Valeria Trivellone

    How can the world prevent emerging infectious diseases, protect food security?

    According to a new report co-written by Illinois Natural History Survey postdoctoral researcher Valeria Trivellone, climate change, poverty, urbanization, land-use change and the exploitation of wildlife all contribute to the emergence of new infectious diseases, which, in turn, threaten global food security. Trivellone spoke with News Bureau life sciences editor Diana Yates about how global authorities can tackle these intertwined challenges.

  • Study Found Male Fish that Had Female Qualities in the Des Plaines River

  • INHS researching snakes at Allerton Park

    Jon Griesbaum, a student in Dr. Christopher Phillips lab, is studying the movements of Fox Snakes at Allerton Park using radio telemetry. The snakes that are captured and marked are then tracked for a year. Griesbaum hopes that learning more about the snakes range and behavior will enable policy makers to make informed and better choices about wild areas. Articles about Griesbaum's study appeared in the 7 September issue of the News-Gazette, the 4 September issue of Environmental Almanac, and can be found archived.

  • Herbivores play important role in protecting habitats from invasive species

    Researchers from the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Morton Arboretum have been examining the potential role of herbivores on the invasion of non-native plant species in diverse plant communities.

  • INHS and IDNR survey mussels in the Kishwaukee River

    The Kishwaukee River basin in northern Illinois remains one of the most mussel-rich resources in the state. In 2012, the INHS Urban Biotic Assessment Program began studying the fishes, reptiles, amphibians, and mollusks of the Kishwaukee River along the Illinois Tollway I-90 overpass. In 2015 UBAP began a longterm monitoring program of the mussel population at the site. Each August, a team of researchers from INHS, IDNR, and local land management agencies descends on the same location and intensively samples the mussels in the area over the course of a week.

  • Boom of record breaking bass over?

    INHS Conservation Geneticist Dave Philipp studied bass for 20 years, finding that genetics plays a role in which fish are caught. Fish that are more aggressive, thus more likely to bite a hook, pass that trait on to their offspring. As those aggressive fish are caught and removed from the population, the remaining fish are genetically harder to catch. This is one of the theories suggested to explain the mystery of why the Pennsylvania Largemouth Bass State Record has stood for nearly 30 years.

  • End to live turtles in the Turtle Races

    For the past 49 years, box turtles have been collected from the wild and brought to Danville for the annual Turtle Reunion and Races, a charity event. This has been a concern to herpetologists, including INHS Herpetologist Chris Phillips and U of I Wildlife Veterinarian Matt Allender (an INHS Affiliate), for several reasons including the possibility of spreading diseases. The two scientists have been collaborating on a long term study of the health of box turtles in Vermilion County. They have been testing for diseases including ranavirus, a contagious disease with high mortality that is also a threat to amphibians.

  • Cornboy vs. the Billion-Dollar Bug

    There is, despite the name, nothing urban about Piper City, Ill. It is a farm town with a skyline of grain elevators, a tidy grid of pitch-roofed houses and, a few blocks beyond, endless fields: corn, soybean, corn, soybean, corn, corn, corn, perfectly level, perfectly square, no trees, no cows, no hedgerows, no bare land. In late August of 2013, a man named Joseph Spencer followed a corn-flanked county road northwest from Piper City until his GPS advised him to leave the road altogether and turn onto a gravel track. Spencer, an entomologist who studies farm insects, was looking for a farmer named Scott Wyllie.

  • Research team lead by INHS scientist receives award

    Brenda Molano-Flores (INHS), colleagues, and graduate students received an Appreciation Award from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in recognition of their leadership in the conservation of natural resources in northwest Florida.

  • Smallmouth Bass released in DuPage River will help evaluate habitat restoration success

    Approximately 100 smallmouth bass were released into the DuPage River yesterday. The fish, which spent the first 7 years of their lives in the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery, have been fitted with a plastic tag with an ID number and phone number for anglers to call if they catch one of these fish. The size and location data collected from this will help track their movement and give insight into the success of habitat restoration projects within the DuPage basin. This project is a collaboration between the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey. For more information about the project, visit the I Fish Illinois Website.

  • New Bacterial Leaf Disease is Confirmed in One Illinois Corn Field

    In a recent survey of approximately 340 corn fields in 68 Illinois counties, bacterial leaf streak was confirmed in only one county, according to Kelly Estes, Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) coordinator, Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • New scientific technique predicts a climate change scenario in national parks

    A University of Illinois researcher has created a new method to study potential climate change in protected areas.

  • More endangered mussels being released in Illinois

    INHS researchers Jeremy Tiemann, Kevin Cummings, Sarah Bales, Alison Price, and Diane Shasteen are working to reintroduce endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels to sites in Vermilion County. Approximately 1000 mussels were collected from the Alleghany River in Pennsylvania, under a bridge slated for replacement in 2018. Following quarantine and tagging, the mussels will be released at sites found to meet the requirements necessary for survival.

  • New science shows intense harm caused by fishing for nesting bass

    Angling for nesting bass during the spawning season decreases lake wide recruitment of bass, according to a massive 22-year study by INHS researcher David Philipp.

  • New paper published on Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the fungus causing snake fungal disease

    A new paper by INHS affiliate Matthew Allender, INHS Graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh and Mycologist Andrew Miller was published on Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, the causative agent of snake fungal disease. This a serious emerging fungal pathogen of North American-endemic and captive snakes and has been a factor in the decline of the Eastern Massasauga in Illinois. Watch a video about the Illinois Natural History Survey's research on the Eastern Massasauga and Ophidiomyces 

  • Graduate Student Awards in Natural History

    The Illinois Natural History Survey has presented awards to eight graduate students for their research accomplishments.

  • "I am a Botanist", "Reclaim the Name" Challenge!

    As one of the oldest biological surveys with a long history of botanical research, INHS Botanists support The Botanical Society of America "I am a Botanist", "Reclaim the Name" Challenge!

  • The convergent evolution of bird lice

    Recent research by INHS Ornithologist and Parasitologist Kevin Johnson has found that bird lice have undergone convergent evolution, evolving different body shapes dependent on where they live on the bird. Despite the morphological similarities between lice from the wings of different bird groups, the species are more closely related to other lice species on the same bird group. The same pattern holds true for lice from the head and body. Learn more about Kevin Johnson's research through this video by the U of I News Bureau.

  • Strong floods drive warblers away from their known breeding sites

    Fewer migratory Swainson’s Warblers return to breed after high flood waters alter the quality of their wetland forest habitat, according to new University of Illinois research published in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • INHS breaks ground on new building

    The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), a division in the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, held a groundbreaking ceremony July 10, 2009 for its new facility, the future home of the plant and fungus collections from the INHS and the University's departments of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences.

  • Researchers Reconstruct the Stonefly Fauna of Ohio

    The aquatic nymphs of stoneflies are indicators of water and habitat quality and quantity. Loss of this habitat is resulting in rapid decline of many species, which are at serious risk of disappearing from agricultural and urban areas of the Midwest, according to Ed DeWalt, aquatic entomologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois.

  • Widespread Shallow Groundwater Contamination Found in Southwestern Illinois Cave Streams and Springs

    Researchers have detected prescription and over-the-counter medications and personal care products in Illinois groundwater, an indication that humans are contaminating water that is vital to aquatic life.

  • INHS astacologist Christopher Taylor discovers new species of crayfish

    A recent UI News Bureau release reported on the discovery of a new species of crayfish by INHS astacologist Chris Taylor. The new crayfish belongs to the genus Barbicambarus, which in addition to being big is very distinctive. Most notably, Barbicambarus have unusual bearded antennae; the antennae are covered with a luxurious fringe of tiny, hair-like bristles, called setae, which enhance their sensory function. The article has been picked up by Reuters and has spread to news sites everywhere including New ScientistDiscovery NewsYahoo NewsChristian Science MonitorEureka, and Science Blog.

  • Arsenic, mercury and selenium in Asian carp not a health concern to most

    A recent study by INHS researchers Jeffrey M. Levengood, David J. Soucek, Gregory G. Sass, Amy Dickinson, and John M. Epifanio showed that overall, concentrations of arsenic, selenium, and mercury in bighead and silver carp from the lower Illinois River do not appear to be a health concern for a majority of human consumers. The full results of the study have been published in the journal Chemosphere.

  • cluster of Humboldt penguins on the shoreline

    Blood markers predict Humboldt penguin nest type, reproductive success

    Researchers looked at metabolic markers in the blood of 30 Humboldt penguins nesting in the Punta San Juan Marine Protected Area in Peru, finding that penguins in guano-rich burrows and unsheltered locations had consistent – and distinct – patterns of several sugars in their blood. 

  • two men hold tray of insect specimens

    Effort clarifies major branch of insect tree of life

    A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences collected a vast amount of molecular data on the Hemiptera order of insects and used the information to help tease out their family relationships and evolutionary history.

  • Puma

    Study: Black bears are eating pumas' lunch

    A camera-trap study in the Mendocino National Forest in Northern California reveals that black bears are adept at finding and stealing the remains of adult deer killed by pumas. This “kleptoparasitism” by bears, as scientists call it, reduces the calories pumas consume in seasons when the bears are most active. Perhaps in response to this shortage, the pumas hunt more often and eat more small game when the bears are not in hibernation.

  • Small-mouthed salamander observed in Hancock Co.

  • Illinois Natural History Survey Staff Member Received Outstanding Service Award

    Margaret Wingard, sponsored research coordinator at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), Prairie Research Institute, has received the 2016 University of Illinois SPaRC Outstanding Service Award for her support of research administration.

  • Moving Firewood Long Distances Can Spread Invasive Insects

    What’s in your firewood? Tree-killing insects or diseases may be hiding in or on firewood that may be transported hundreds of miles to campsites or fireplaces.

  • Digitization of biological collections will make fragile specimens more accessible for study

    The biological collections of the Illinois Natural History Survey are among the largest in the nation, with nearly 10 million specimens collected over the past 150 years. These collections document our natural heritage and can be studied to understand variations within and between species, changes over time, and countless other topics. Many of the specimens are fragile and must be stored and handled with extreme care. As part of a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers at INHS are working with several other institutions to digitize collections, taking high resolution images from a variety of angles. Scientists from around the world will be able to see the images of the specimens and physically handle only the ones that they need for closer examination. For more information on the invertebrate side of the project, check out the InvertNet website.

  • New miniature grasshopper-like insect is first member of its family from Belize

    A new species of Neotropical Orthopteran has been described by INHS Entomologists Sam Heads and Steve TaylorRipipteryx mopana belongs to a group of small and unusual insects related to grasshoppers that includes the North American pygmy mole crickets. This new species comes from the Toledo District of southern Belize, an area of tropical rainforest that is largely unexplored by entomologists. It was named in honor of the Mopan, a Mayan people that live primarily in the area of Belize where the species was discovered. The entomologists will return to the region this coming spring to study the local insect fauna in more detail.

  • Environmental factors affecting growth rates of popular sportfish in the Illinois River

  • IL endangered birds found with DDT byproducts in Chicago marshes

  • Planting native plants may reduce risk of west nile virus

    A recent study by INHS graduate student Allison Gardner, INHS Medical Entomologist Ephantus Juma Muturi and their colleagues found that leaf detritus in standing water can influence reproduction in mosquitoes. Leaves from invasive honeysuckle and autumn olive, yielded higher emergence of adult Culex pipiens mosquitoes (the vector for West Nile Virus). Leaves of native blackberry resulted in high numbers of eggs, but low adult emergence.

  • bluegill fish

    Friendlier fish may be quicker to take the bait

    The bluegill on your dinner plate might have been more social than the rest of its group, according to a new study from the University of Illinois, and its removal from the lake could mean major changes for the remaining population.

  • INHS researchers discover 4 new species in Illinois caves

    Scientists from the Illinois Natural History Survey at the Prairie Research Institute at University of Illinois have discovered four new species of springtails—minute ancient relatives of the insects—in the caves of the Salem Plateau in southern Illinois.