• piping plover
    Articles,  Wildlife

    Endangered Piping Plover Sighted on Sanibel

    Federally endangered piping plovers normally live five or six years, but one female in the Great Lakes is 14 years old (the oldest known piping plover in the region)!  One of her chicks that was born over the summer was recently spotted on Sanibel Island — roughly 1,500 miles from where the bird hatched in Michigan.  SCCF Shorebird Technician Aaron White helped gather the banding data, which contributes to important population information for this threatened species. Piping plovers are one of several “snowbird” species that winter on Sanibel, with others including red knots, dunlins, and short-billed dowitchers.  “This is the first re-sight of a banded fledge from this year’s breeding season,…

  • nubbins the sea turtle
    Articles,  Wildlife

    3-Flippered Sea Turtle Nests on Sanibel

    Nubbins is a special sea turtle who SCCF had the joy of encountering in May as she laid her eggs on Sanibel Island. Named for her missing rear flipper, Nubbins was tagged last year by SCCF Sea Turtle Biologist Savannah Weber while she was a graduate student with Florida State University’s Marine Turtle Research, Ecology, and Conservation Group (MTRECG). The MTRECG team at FSU, led by Dr. Mariana Fuentes, conducts in-water monitoring in a popular sea turtle foraging habitat off the coast of Crystal River, Florida, to determine the sea turtle population structure. Each turtle encountered gets measured, weighed, and tagged. Skin samples are also collected for stable isotope analysis, which can…

  • diamondback terrapin
    Articles,  Wildlife

    FWC Rule Aims to Reduce Terrapin Bycatch

    Drowning in crab traps is a major threat to diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin), and as of March 1, all recreational crab traps in Florida are required to have specialized bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) installed to prevent the turtles from entering. The 2-by-6-inch BRDs can be seen in orange The new rule, issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is one SCCF has been advocating for since 2007 through the Diamondback Terrapin Working Group, a national collaboration of academics, scientists, and government officials who want to conserve the unique turtle species. “Some crab pots have been found with over 50 dead terrapins in them. Not only do active traps drown terrapins,…

  • Articles,  Wildlife

    Ohio, Michigan partner to conserve threatened Blanding’s turtles

    Having roamed the Earth for around 200 million years — including through the last mass extinction event — turtles appear to have evolution and survival on their side. But turtles now face unprecedented challenges in the familiar tunes of habitat loss, human encroachment and overexploitation. They are one of the most threatened taxa on the planet, with about 60% of all turtle and tortoise species at risk of extinction. Unfortunately, the story is the same for the Blanding’s turtle, a freshwater turtle native to the Great Lakes states, parts of central and eastern U.S. and southeast Canada. Recently petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act, the Blanding’s turtle is considered threatened…

  • Animals,  Articles,  Wildlife

    5 things to know about squirrels in Ohio

    Squirrels are essentially everywhere in Ohio. They’re so common, they’re almost invisible — most people don’t think twice when they encounter one. But successfully flourishing alongside humans without intensive management is somewhat of a remarkable feat in 2021 — one that few wildlife species can lay claim to.

  • Articles,  Science Writing,  Wildlife

    Research aims to tackle problems measuring biodiversity change

    We’ve all heard about dwindling biodiversity across the planet, but it turns out scientists have a difficult time actually verifying it.  Because it’s impossible to continually count every species in every location at the same time in the same way, studies on biodiversity are highly non-uniform, and they rarely look at one large area over a long period of time. Add in that biodiversity includes more than just how many species there are (it can also measure things like physical traits and genetic variation), and it becomes challenging to paint a picture of global biodiversity over time, said Marta Jarzyna, assistant professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at The Ohio State…