• 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,  Ohio State,  Wildlife

    It’s a scary time for bats

    While a spooky symbol of Halloween, bats around the world are facing threats of extinction. Bryan Carstens, a professor at The Ohio State University in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology who has studied bats for 20 years, explains what you need to know about the unique mammals. EEOB professor Bryan Carstens examines a few of the thousands of bat specimens housed at Ohio State’s Museum of Biological Diversity. How many species of bats are there? About 1,400. My PhD student is conducting research that suggests we might be missing another 400 to 500 species that are very genetically different from one another, but superficially look the same so…

  • Articles,  Wildlife

    Diving into sea anemone research

    Heather Glon has trouble keeping her head above water — mainly because her research requires her to travel around the world diving for sea anemones. Glon, a PhD student in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University, is attempting to gather a globally representative collection of Metridium, a type of sea anemone that thrives in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. By looking at relationships between genetics and geographic distribution, she hopes to understand how and why the anemones have evolved over time. “It’s a very variable group of sea anemones in terms of how it looks — it can be fat or skinny; big or small,”…

  • Articles,  Wildlife

    A look at the “Jane Goodall of penguins”

    Dee Boersma has been called the Jane Goodall of penguins. An adorably curious, roughly 2-foot-tall Magellanic penguin she’s named Turbo greets her year after year on the shores of Punta Tombo, Argentina, where Boersma has studied the health, behavior and population dynamics of penguins like Turbo for nearly 40 years. Boersma’s work with both Magellanic penguins and Galapagos penguins has led to an enormous, invaluable archive of species data and the creation of Marine Protected Areas in both Argentina and Ecuador. She has built nests out of lava rock in the Galapagos Islands to increase penguin reproduction; convinced the Argentinian government to move oil tanker lanes farther offshore, considerably decreasing the…

  • Articles,  Ohio State,  Science Writing,  Wildlife

    Machine learning helps predict endangered plant species

    There are many organizations monitoring endangered species such as elephants and tigers, but what about the millions of other species on the planet — ones that most people have never heard of or don’t think about? How do scientists assess the threat level of, say, the Torrey pine tree? Currently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature — which produces the world’s most comprehensive inventory of threatened species (the “Red List”) — more or less works on a species-by-species basis, requiring more resources and specialized work than is available to accurately assign a conservation-risk category to every species. Of the nearly 100,000 species currently on the Red List, plants…