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  • INHS kit makes USDA news

    The Emerald Ash Borer Kit offered by INHS was featured in the December 28, 2007 News & Events section of the USDA's National Invasive Species Information Center website.

  • Illinois Birds: A Century of Change applauded by USFWS and IDNR

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources put out a press release praising the most recent INHS Special Publication. “This book demonstrates the importance of investing in long-term research to provide the information needed by natural resource managers to make wise, science-based resource management decisions.  It also emphasizes the importance of public-private, and state-federal partnerships in responding to landscape scale natural resource challenges,” said Marc Miller, Director of the Illinois DNR. “The long term data collected by these surveys provides the information necessary to evaluate changing bird distributions,” said Tom Melius, Midwest Regional Director of the Service. "Illinois Birds: A Century of Change is a benchmark in bird research that will inform current and future bird conservation priorities, and serve as a model for bird research across the United States.” The book was also reviewed in the Rockford Register Star, the BirdBooker Report and the Herald Review.

  • INHS ornithologists participate in Christmas Bird Count

    Les Winkeler, the outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan, accompanied Jeff Hoover, Dave Thomas and Matt McKim-Louder on the Cypress Creek Christmas Bird Count. With 64 species identified by their team, Jeff Hoover said, "This is the birdiest Christmas bird count I can ever remember." Winkeler also wrote a side piece about his adventure with the three INHS ornithologists, likening it to "playing in a foursome with Tiger, Jack and Arnie. It's like taking batting practice with George Brett, Rod Carew and Ichiro Suzuki."

  • Historic numbers of waterfowl in the Illinois River Valley

    INHS researchers at the Forbes Biological Station recorded the historic numbers of waterfowl this year in the Illinois River Valley. At migration’s peak, 329,590 mallards were counted, the highest number since 1999. Northern pintails (141,840), green-winged teal (179,620), gadwall (146,300) and northern shovelers (49,060) were present in the highest numbers since the survey began. Learn more about the waterfowl aerial inventories. Follow the Forbes Biological Station on Facebook.

  • Bald Eagles "making an impressive comeback"

    INHS Ornithologist Mike Ward was contacted about the increase in eagle sightings in the area. According to Ward, there were fewer than 20 eagle nests in Illinois in the 80s, whereas during the last spring bird count, there were an estimated 200 eagle nests.

  • Herons persist in Chicago wetlands despite exposure to banned chemicals

    Results of a study led by INHS wildlife toxicologist Jeff Levengood were published in the latest issue of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. The study reports that Chicago-area herons are still being exposed to banned pesticides.

  • William Anderson receives Award of Merit

    William L. Anderson was the recipient of the 2007 Professional Award of Merit from the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society on December 5th at the Annual Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference held in Madison, Wisconsin. The Wildlife Society’s Professional Award of Merit is given periodically to outstanding wildlife professionals, who live in the eight-state North-Central Section, for their contribution to scientific knowledge and their leadership over a period of several years. Read more about the award press releases from the DNR and the Illinois Natural History Survey.

  • Snowy Owls invade Illinois

    This winter, Snowy Owls have been sighted in Illinois almost daily. According to INHS Ornithologist Steve Bailey, "It's probably the biggest Snowy Owl invasion in years." He explains that this year's high lemming population led to an increase in young snowy owls. Bailey asks bird watchers to be responsible and keep their distance. Flushing an owl causes them to expend a great deal of energy and these birds have already migrated up to 1,000 miles. And as for those fabulous photographs of a snowy owl approaching the camera with talons outstretched? Those are often staged by photographers baiting the owls with captive raised mice. Bailey reminds bird watchers to "keep the bird's welfare in mind," and not lure the owls towards dangerous roadways with store bought mice that may harbor diseases.

  • Mild weather confusing to plants and animals?

    With warm temperatures this winter, some people have been concerned about the effect on plants and animals. A Northern Leopard frog and a Western Chorus frog were among the interesting finds causing a stir this winter. INHS Herpetologist Michael Dreslik said that this particular sighting was not much to worry about as these frogs are cold tolerant with Western Chorus frogs beginning to breed in mid-February. Lake County News-Sun

  • Miscanthus, a biofuels crop, can host western corn rootworm

    Dr. Joe Spencer, INHS Insect Behaviorist, and Sathyamurthy Raghu, INHS Affiliate, recently published a paper in PLos ONE. This paper is the first to identify Miscanthus, which is a crop that can be used for biofuels, as a host to corn rootworm. Corn rootworm is estimated to be a billion dollar yearly problem to the United States’ corn industry as the as the corn rootworm damages the plant's roots and leads to a significantly decreased yield.

  • Illinois scientists look for signs of disease that killed millions of bats

    White Nose Syndrome, a fungal infection devastating to bat populations, has not yet been detected in Illinois bat populations. As a preventative measure, Illinois caves on public lands have been closed to the public since 2010. This winter an interdisciplinary team of INHS researchers will begin surveying caves in Illinois for evidence of White Nose Syndrome, taking tissue, air and soil samples. Their goal is to form a more complete understanding of the cave environment including the fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms present.

  • Conservation efforts help some rare birds more than others, study finds

  • Cat disease Toxoplasmosis found in muskrats and minks

    INHS Graduate student Adam Ahlers led a study on the prevalence of Toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by cats. The researchers found antibodies for Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, in 18 of 30 muskrats and 20 of 26 minks tested for the disease in central Illinois.

  • Coming back strong: Illinois Bald Eagle populations on the rise

    Bald Eagle populations in Illinois are on the rise. In 1980, Bald Eagles were found breeding only in extreme Southern Illinois, but in surveys during 2008, nesting pairs were found in 67 Illinois counties. Part of the increase is attributed to the ban of DDT in 1972, but according to INHS Ornithologist Mike Ward, that was just the beginning. Environmental regulations have led to cleaner waterways (enabling eagles to more easily catch fish) and eagles have become more comfortable around humans. Being able to be near people gives them a lot more places to breed in Illinois, Ward said.

  • Preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer

    Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, epidemiologist with INHS, recently spoke with Eilee Heikenen-Weiss for the Eight Forty-Eight program on Chicago Public Radio. The show discusses Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and DNR efforts to sample populations and prevent the spread of the disease. View the transcript or listen the audio* for the January 17, 2008 episode. * Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of animal dissection

  • Applications for Luckmann Award sought

    Dr. William H. Luckmann served as a researcher and administrator for applied entomological programs at the Illinois Natural History Survey from 1949 through 1984. Applications for the William H. Luckmann award are now being accepted. Additional information about the award, including deadlines and requirements, can be found on the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois website.

  • Threat of Zika in Illinois low, but precautions can be taken

    INHS Medical Entomologist Ephantus Muturi was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the threat of Zika virus in Illinois. Muturi says that Aedes aegypti, which transmits Zika, has been found in Illinois but does not thrive in our climate. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopinctus, is found in Illinois, but has not been found to transmit Zika, though more research is needed. 

  • Contaminated sediments affecting wetland mice

    Jeff Levengood and Ed Heske recently published an article entitled "Heavy metal exposure, reproductive activity, and demographic patterns in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) inhabiting a contaminated floodplain wetland" in Volume 389, Issues 2-3 of Science of the Total Environment.The article discusses the effects of using contaminated sediments from Lake DePue, Illinois to create a wetland that is home to white-footed mice. View the Science of the Total Environment article at ScienceDirect. Accessible through subscription only.

  • Illinois Natural History Survey Chief to retire

    David Thomas, Natural History Survey Chief since 1997, will retire on February 29, 2008. View the complete press release here.

  • Survey scientists researching moist-soil resources for waterfowl

    Natural History Survey scientists, Joshua Stafford, Aaron Yetter, Chris Hine, Randy Smith, and Michelle Horath have been continuing the moist-soil research of Frank Bellrose from the Forbes Biological Station and F. C. Bellrose Waterfowl Research Center in Havana since 2005. In an article featured in the March 2008 issue of Outdoor Illinois, the scientists discuss their research, the work of Frank Bellrose, and management issues for moist-soil habitats.

  • Natural History Survey part of proposed University of Illinois unit

    During his February 20, 2008 State of the State and Budget Address, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich proposed a plan to merge the Illinois Natural History Survey, Geologic Survey, Water Survey and Waste Management and Resource Center into a new University of Illinois unit, the Institute for Natural Sciences and Sustainability. The proposed plan would remove the Surveys from the Department of Natural Resources effective July 1, 2008. More information about this proposal is available from the University of Illinois News Bureau, State Journal-RegisterPrairie State OutdoorNews-Gazette, and The Pantagraph.

  • INHS researchers described more than 100 new species in 2013

    Last year, INHS researchers described over 100 species new to science. The Prairie Research Institute Library wrote a nice summary of the papers published by INHS scientists in 2013. Prairie Research Institute Library Blog

  • Bumblebee populations declining

    The bumblebee crisis was discussed in a February 21, 2008 post to the North Carolina State University Insect Museum blog. The article discusses what factors are contributing to the bumblebee's decline and mentions research done by Solter labs. Lee Solter is an Associate Scientist and Insect Pathology Research Leader with the Illinois Natural History Survey.

  • Few Chicagoland wetlands left without non-native species, study finds

    The wetlands in and around Chicago are overwhelmingly invaded by non-native plants, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers. The study, which pulls together species occurrence data from over 2,000 wetlands in the urban region, is the first to describe wetland invasion patterns on such a large scale in the Chicagoland area.

  • Winter tips for bird feeders

    Christopher Whelan, an avian biologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, recently offered some tips for keeping overwintering birds in your yard. The tips were featured in the Like an Eagle-Soar blog and were offered through the National Wildlife Association.

  • Winter bald eagle count a new record

    In an article published February 23, 2008 in The Daily Journal, Survey scientist Randy Nyboer discusses the this year's record bald eagle count. Though the count is unfinished, it has already surpassed previous records. Visit this website to view the complete article.

  • Corn rootworm management webinar

    INHS Behavioral Entomologist Joe Spencer presented a talk on "Rootworm Biology and Behavior" in the webinar "Corn rootworm Management in the Transgenic Era." Over 300 people attended this webinar, archived at the link below.

  • White Nose Syndrome confirmed in Illinois

    INHS researchers and their collaborators have confirmed the presence of White Nose Syndrome (WNS)—a disease fatal to several of our bat species—in Illinois. Read more about WNS and the work INHS researchers are doing to understand the disease on the INHS website.

  • New director starts May 1, 2008

  • On the hunt for first flower of spring

    Environmental Almanac, written by Rob Kanter, describes searching for skunk cabbage. Kanter, along with INHS Wetland Plant Ecologist Rick Larimore, headed out to the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area in Vermilion County to see this "first flower" of spring. Kanter and Larimore were successful in their quest to find skunk cabbage. Skunk cabbage is able to bloom so early in the year because it generates enough heat to grow in the frozen ground. It gets it's name from the rotting flesh smell it exudes to attract ground pollinating insects. 

  • Greater Prairie Chickens can't endure without human help

    Researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey report that the greater prairie chicken cannot persist in Illinois without help.

  • Variation in effectiveness of RNAi treatment in western corn rootworm

    INHS Behavioral Entomologist Joseph Spencer and his colleagues in Crop Sciences and Entomology recently released a study in the journal Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology with findings that there is variation in the effectiveness of RNAi treatments on western corn rootworm (WCR), a major agricultural pest.

  • INHS botanists reconstruct 226 year history of fire in Southern Illinois

    By looking at the scars in the growth rings of 36 old-growth post oak trees, INHS botanist Greg Spyreas, affiliate John Ebinger and Illinois State Museum botanist William McClain found that there had been more than 100 fires in Southern Illinois between the 1770s and 1996. This repeated burning stabilized prairies and kept the woodlands open until the mid-1800s when fires appear to have been suppressed by the settlers in the area for a 30 year period. Fire suppression altered the plant community by allowing fast-growing, shade-loving species to survive. The study was published in the journal Castanea. Read news coverage of the story by the Science BlogScience Codex, and Earth Times.

  • INRS Naturally Illinois Expo attracts thousands

    The Naturally Illinois Expo, held March 11th and 12th, was attended by a record 1700 students from 22 Illinois schools on Friday. On Saturday, many of these students returned to share the Expo with their families. There were 54 exhibits from the 5 surveys. INHS scientists provided exhibits on plants, backyard insects, fossil insects, turtles, mammals, birds, aquatic pollutants, mosquitoes and their diseases, crayfish, fish, mussels and exotic invasive species. Other favorites included Kids' Fossil Dig, Archaeological Dig, Weather on Your Birthday and Biofuels.

  • Thinking ahead: Corn rootworm management for 2018

    Illinois corn growers in the northern and central parts of the state have come to expect some rootworm damage, but University of Illinois entomologists say putting management plans in place now could help growers avoid major losses.

  • Early Warm Weather brings early insects

    INHS Behavioral Entomologist Joe Spencer told WBEZ that the early warm weather means bugs can mature faster, allowing them to emerge much sooner than they are normally expected to, but this does not necessarily mean there will be more of them.

  • "Periodic table for flies" mapped

    The Fly Tree of Life project has mapped the 260-million-year evolution of the order Diptera. The 152,000 named species of flies are ecologically important as disease vectors, pollinators, and decomposers and this groundbreaking project will facilitate future research into the convergent evolution of traits such as blood feeding and wing-loss. Read the study's abstract here.

  • Preserving nature through art

    Smile Politely has an excellent article discussing the visiting art exhibit, "Nature Sketches by Gladys and Ruth Dudley", currently on display at the Forbes Natural History Building. In the article, INHS biological control specialist Sue Post discusses what makes the sketches in the collection so fascinating. The exhibit will be on display through the spring. No special arrangements or fees are needed to view the sketches, which on on display in the first-floor North West hallway.

  • Entomologists stifled by Indian bureaucracy

    An international collaboration to study insects in the Western Ghats mountains in southern India is stalled due to a hold up by the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). INHS' Paul Tinerella and Michael Irwin are involved in trying to keep the project moving along. View the complete Nature article

  • Long-term fish monitoring in large rivers

    INHS scientists examined five long-term fish monitoring programs in large rivers in the U.S. They outline best practices in Fisheries Magazine.

  • Illinois Birds: A Century of Change receives more attention

    Co-author Mike Ward was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the recently published "Illinois Birds: A Century of Change." Mike Ward said that the results of the most recent studies were somewhat encouraging. "There's definitely reason to be concerned for certain species of birds, but I don't think we're at the worst point in the last 100 years. I think the worst point was definitely somewhere between the 1950s and now, when our waters were really contaminated and there was a wider use of nasty pesticides. There's reason for concern today, but on the flip side there are definitely triumphs."

  • US Army Corps releases report on Asian carp and electric barriers

    The US Army Corps of Engineers released a report on the operation of the electric barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. This study focuses on the smaller individuals, which may be better able to cross the barriers. Prior research by Illinois Natural History Survey scientists about the efficacy of the electric barrier systems for adult fish is cited.

  • New lecture series named for renowned aquatic biologist

    In recognition of James Karr's contributions to aquatic biology and environmental management, a new James R. Karr Lecture in Aquatic Biology will kick off on Friday, April 14 with an inaugural address from its namesake.

  • Program gathers data to combat tickborne disease in Illinois

  • INHS scientists seek new sites for mussel relocation

    INHS researcher Jeremy Tiemann is part of a team working to relocate endangered mussels from a bridge construction site in Pennsylvania to Illinois rivers. The first mussels (relocated in 2010) were given PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags to allow monitoring and after a year and a half, approximately 80% of the relocated mussels had survived. An additional 1200 were transplanted in 2012, and now, new locations are being sought for additional transplants.

  • Dinosaurs may have had lice

    A recent article in Biology Letters, authored by INHS Ornithologist Kevin Johnson and his colleagues Vincent Smith, Tom Ford, Paul Johnson, Kazunori Yoshizawa, and Jessica Light, reveals that the ancestors of the lice found on modern day birds and mammals began to diversify prior to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs at the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary, 65 million years ago.

  • Mosquito larvae exposed to stress may be better able to transmit viruses

    In a recently published article in Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, INHS Medical Entomologists Ephantus J. Muturi and Barry Alto revealed that exposing mosquito larvae to temperature and insecticide stress may actually increase their ability to transmit viruses. At 30°C but not at 20°C, Ae. aegypti larvae exposed to insecticide were more likely to transmit the virus compared to control treatments. These findings suggest that environmental factors experienced by aquatic stages of mosquitoes contribute to the risk of arbovirus transmission.

  • Tri-Point students work and learn with INHS herpetologists

    A group of students from Tri-Point Jr. High visited the herpetology collection at INHS and conducted field work with Herpetologist Andy Kuhns. The students were able to help with surveys for amphibians and reptiles at Ballard Nature Center. In addition to finding several species of reptiles and amphibians, the students learned about their habitats, biology and conservation.

  • Largemouth Bass behavior inherited from parents, but also learned

    INHS Fisheries Geneticist Dave Phillipp and his lab have studied Largemouth Bass for decades. His findings, including that vulnerability to being caught by anglers is inherited and that bass can learn from negative experiences, were featured in a news story picked up by media across the country.

  • Waterfowl study helps evaluate Illinois River habitat

    INHS Waterfowl Biologists have been monitoring restored wetlands along the Illinois River to determine if restoration efforts have been successful for waterfowl populations. Chris Young of the State Journal Register went along and documented the diving duck surveys.