Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

CENTER FOR BIODIVERSITY

Lawrence M. Page, Director

The mission of the Center for Biodiversity is to acquire and apply information pertaining to the diversity of life in order to protect, manage, and develop the biotic resources of Illinois in accordance with long-term environmental goals.

The Center has three major research areas: systematics and biotic inventories, ecology, and conservation biology. Major research programs are statewide inventories of native and introduced organisms, long-term monitoring of natural and disturbed communities, studies of exotic species, and systematic studies of organisms for which we have taxonomic expertise.

In 1994 the National Biological Service (NBS) was formed as a unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Illinois was selected as one of four states to be a State Partner; others were Arizona, Maryland, and North Carolina. The Survey was designated by the State General Assembly as the official Illinois contact with NBS. Within the Survey, the Center for Biodiversity took responsibility in developing the partnership with NBS.


Following the development of a contractual agreement with NBS, the Survey identified the following five projects as ones likely to enhance our capacity for delivering biological information.

Project 1. Biological Collections: Database Development and Entry on Internet
Specimens in collections provide the distributional documentation upon which NBS programs can be developed. Computerizing collection-associated data and making them available on Internet with assistance from NBS will further increase the accessibility of the collections.

Project 2. Establishment of an Internet Host for Distribution of INHS Databases 
With assistance from NBS, the Survey has established a host computer serving Gopher, HTTP (Mosaic) and, soon, WAIS clients. Databases to be considered for the Internet in the near future include the databases on the Survey's biological collections, the Illinois Plant Information Network (ILPIN), the Illinois portion of the National Wetlands Inventory, and the Illinois portion of the National Breeding Bird Atlas.

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Project 3. Directory of Illinois Systematists, Ecologists, and Resource Professionals

The Directory of Illinois Systematists, Ecologists, and Field Biologists was first published in 1986, and a second edition was published in 1989. The third edition, with a changed name, will be the first to go on Internet. The directory consists of an alphabetical listing of respondents to a questionnaire, their addresses, phone numbers, and highest university degrees. Various areas of specialization and expertise also are provided. In addition, geographic areas in which respondents have extensive field experience are listed, as are the groups of organisms studied as taxonomic or ecological subjects, and specific areas of expertise.

Project 4. List of Species of Illinois
In 1991 a publication by the Survey listed the higher-level taxa found in Illinois and estimated the number of species in each taxon. The number of species in Illinois was estimated to be about 54,000; some groups (e.g., vertebrates) are well known, others (e.g., insects and fungi) are poorly known. A list of names of species found in the state, arranged in a taxonomic hierarchy and available on Internet, will help to stabilize names for investigators working with Illinois biota.

Project 5. Fishes of Champaign County: A Model for Long-Term Monitoring
Meaningful environmental indicators, as useful measurements of the biological integrity of ecosystems, must incorporate historical data. The 137-year-old Illinois Natural History Survey has the best historical and recent data on several groups of organisms. Large portions of the data are automated and, for some groups of organisms, have been analyzed for long-term spatial and temporal changes. The fishes of Champaign County, Illinois, have received as intensive and prolonged a study as any group of organisms in any area of equal size in the Western Hemisphere. The long period of observation has furnished an unusual opportunity to evaluate the ecological changes that have occurred in highly developed agricultural and urban regions and to relate these changes to the distribution and abundance of stream fishes.

 


Public Service

Center for Biodiversity staff members serve on a variety of boards and advisory committees, and participate in societies dedicated to protection, management, and development of the biotic resources in accordance with long-term environmental goals. Included among these boards and societies are The Nature Preserves Commission; Illinois Endangered Species Technical Advisory Committees on Plants, Fishes, and Invertebrates; Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois; the Illinois Native Plant Society; Upper Mississippi River Conservation Commission; Illinois Council on Forestry Development; and the Indiana Mollusk and Crustacean Technical Advisory Committee.

Most members of the Center for Biodiversity are experts on certain groups of organisms and are eminently qualified to provide an identification service for other scientists, extension biologists, government agencies, and Illinois citizens. About 30,000 specimens are identified by Center scientists each year. In addition to identifications, information on distributions, population sizes, long-term trends, ecological requirements, and other natural history subjects is provided on a daily basis to Illinois citizens, other state and federal agencies, and private organizations. In the past year, more than 150 visitors came to examine specimens in the Survey's collections, and 20,000 specimens were loaned to other institutions.

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Long-term databases at the Survey document the invasions of exotic species. Whereas many native species are disappearing, species from elsewhere in the world are becoming established in Illinois at a rapid rate. Some species are deliberately introduced; others become established accidentally. Most of the invading species come from Europe and Asia, which have climates similar to ours. The invaders often do extremely well and outcompete our own fauna and flora. 

Recent invaders that are having major negative impacts on native species include the zebra mussel, rusty crayfish, garlic mustard, purple loosestrife, and an anthracnose that attacks dogwoods. Several scientists in the Center for Biodiversity are studying the impacts of these invaders on native species and natural areas and are looking for ways to control them. Several members of the Center donate time to teach university and other classes. Dr. Leland Crane, an expert on fungi and use of the electron microscope, teaches a University of Illinois course in mycology and offers instruction to Survey staff on the proper use of the scanning electron microscope. Dr. Kenneth Robertson teaches plant taxonomy, Dr. Christopher Phillips teaches a seminar on natural resources, and Dr. Lawrence Page teaches ichthyology, all at the University of Illinois.

As in past years, Center scientists gave a large number of professional and public presentations on various aspects of biodiversity. Dr. Donald Webb gave 12 presentations on forensic entomology, cave biology, and insect systematics. Mr. John Taft gave several talks at conferences and workshops on plant communities. Dr. Joyce Hofmann and Ms. Ruth Green participated in a large number of presentations to school classes and meetings devoted to public understanding and appreciation of biodiversity. Ms. Green was chair for the Fourth Central Illinois Prairie Conference, and Dr. Hofmann is a member of the Board of Directors of the Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois. Dr. Kenneth Robertson serves on the board of the Illinois Native Plant Society, is an advisor to the Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois, and presented several talks on native plants. Mr. Kevin Cummings gave several talks on aquatic biodiversity to professional groups.

 


Special Recognition

Dr. Christopher Phillips is coordinator for the Central Division of the Declining Amphibian Population Task Force. Dr. Leland Crane is a consultant to the Nomenclature Committee for the Mycological Society of America and a resource person for the International Association of Plant Systematists. Dr. Donald Webb is president of the University of Illinois Chapter of Sigma Xi, chairs the Literature Review Committee of the North American Benthological Society, and is a member of the Common Names and Computer Information committees of the North American Benthological Society. Mr. Mark Wetzel is a member of the American Fisheries Society Committee on Common and Scientific Names of Aquatic Invertebrates and a member of the Literature Review Committee of the North American Benthological Society.  page25.gif

Dr. Weidong Chen serves as chair of the Mycology Committee and chair of the North Central Regional Committee on Diseases of Landscape Plants of the American Phytopathological Society.  Dr. Geoffrey Levin is a research associate of the Missouri Botanical Garden; a member of the editorial board ofMadroño, the journal of the California Botanical Society; and chair of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists' Environment and Public Policy Committee. Mr. Kevin Cummings serves on the American Fisheries Society Endangered Freshwater Mussels Committee and the Conservation Committee of the American Malacological Union. Mr. Christopher Taylor serves as cochair of the Crayfish Subcommittee of the American Fisheries Society Endangered Species Committee. Dr. Lawrence Page is a member of the board of governors and of the executive committee of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, and is treasurer of that society. He also serves on the governing board of the North American Native Fishes Association and is a research associate of the University of Kansas Museum of Natural History.

During the past year, scientists in our Center published 25 papers in peer-reviewed journals and books. This is in addition to unpublished reports, grant and contract proposals, and other products generated by our scientists.

Also, one of the best indicators of the significance of a scientific research program is its ability to attract funding for its support. During the past year several grants and contracts were obtained from state, federal, and private agencies for programs in the Center. New or ongoing research support was provided by the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Conservation, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board, Illinois Nongame Wildlife Protection Fund, Illinois Groundwater Consortium, University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Illinois Research Board, National Science Foundation, National Biological Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The H. H. Ross Memorial Fund, created to honor Dr. Herbert H. Ross, a distinguished entomologist at the Survey from 1929 to 1969, and to provide small grants for systematic research, provided funds to Mr. Mark Sabaj for his research on minnows. The P. W. Smith Memorial Fund, created to honor a distinguished herpetologist and ichthyologist at the Survey from 1942 to 1979, and to provide small grants for natural history research, provided funds to Mr. Jonathan Armbruster for his research on catfishes.

 


Research Reports

Research in the Center for Biodiversity reflects our interest in understanding the biodiversity of Illinois. The following 68 summaries highlight the variety of research currently being conducted.

Mating behavior of spring cavefish

J. Armbruster, L. Page
The spring cavefish is found in springs and caves of southern Illinois. During early winter, spring cavefish disappear into the springs to spawn, but it is unknown how they do so. A related species, the northern cavefish, spends its entire life in caves, and females carry their young in their gills until the young are old enough to care for themselves. It is unknown whether this behavior is found in all cavefishes or is related to the degree of cave adaptation. By determining the mating behavior of the spring cavefish, important insights into the evolution of cave adaptation will be made and management plans for protected caves can be improved.

Status survey of darters
P. Ceas, L. Page
Darters of the Etheostoma squamiceps complex are environmentally sensitive fishes that live in cool, clear pools of headwater streams in southern Illinois and the southeastern United States. Two species, the crown darter and the lollypop darter, have limited distributions in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee and are being considered for federal listing as endangered species. With funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a survey is being conducted to determine the distribution and abundance of these fishes and identify threats to their survival. The species found in Illinois, the spottail darter, occurs only in a few streams in the Shawnee Hills.

New species of darters
P. Ceas, L. Page
Darters are small, freshwater fishes that are integral to the natural functioning of aquatic ecosystems of eastern North American. Among the most interesting are the orangethroat darters of the Etheostoma spectabile complex. These fishes exhibit unusual ecological requirements because they live in very small headwater streams in the central Mississippi Basin. Isolation in headwaters has resulted in tremendous differentiation among populations, and an ongoing study has confirmed the existence of at least seven undescribed species. Several species occur in isolated upland areas that may deserve protection.

Rubbernofishes of Southse catfishes of South America
P. Ceas, L. Page
The herbivorous rubbernose catfishes of the genus Chaetostoma play a vital role in maintaining the natural balance of the montane stream ecosystems in Central and South America. Recent expeditions to Venezuela, conducted to enhance our understanding of factors maintaining biodiversity on a global scale, have resulted in the discovery of a previously unknown species inhabiting streams that flow from the northern slopes of the Venezuelan Andes. Little information exists on the biology of this group of neotropical fishes, and a study aimed at identifying the taxonomic diversity of Chaetostoma has been initiated.

Molecular systematics of Protista
W. Chen
Pythium is the largest genus of Oomycetes and is a member of the order Peronosporales. The phylogenetic relationship of Pythium with other genera of Oomycetes was assessed using ribosomal DNA sequences. The nuclear small subunit rDNA of Pythium arrhenomanes was amplified using polymerase chain reaction, and nucleotide sequences were determined. The rDNA sequence was aligned with those ofPhytophthora megaspermaLagenidium giganteum, and other eukaryotic organisms. Phylogenetic analyses of the aligned sequences, using criteria of maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining methods, showed that Pythium arrhenomanes is more closely related to Lagenidium giganteum than to Phytoph-thora megasperma, which is discordant with the current classification system.

How aquatic Ascomycetes are related
W. Chen, L. Crane, C. Shearer 
Because little is known about relationships of fungi living in different habitats, a study of these relationships was recently initiated with funding from the National Science Foundation. Morphologically similar species of fungi found in freshwater and marine habitats will be compared using rDNA sequences. DNA sequences of species of Loculoascomycetes-- Kirschsteiniothelia elaterascus (freshwater), K. maritima(marine), K. aethiops (terrestrial), and Helicascus kanaloanus (marine)-- will be studied using polymerase chain reaction. Sequences will be aligned and phylogenetically analyzed using maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining methods to estimate relationships among species from different habitats.

Fungal diseases of garlic mustard
W. Chen
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive weed in forested natural communities in the midwestern and northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. It is now widespread in Illinois and threatens the floristic structure, particularly the herbaceous layer, of natural communities. No effective control measures are available for controlling this invasive weed. Survey scientists, in cooperation with plant conservationists at the Illinois Department of Conservation, have found several garlic mustard diseases caused by fungi, such as Alternaria sp., Fusarium solani, and Sclerotinia sclertiorum. The potential of these pathogens as biocontrol agents of garlic mustard is being evaluated.

Dogwood anthracnose in Illinois
W. Chen, J. Schwegman (Illinois Department of Conservation)
Dogwood anthracnose is a destructive disease of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). The disease is caused by a fungal pathogen called Discula destructiva, and the disease has caused significant losses among dogwoods, particularly in the South. This anthracnose has not previously been known to occur in Illinois. However, a diseased specimen of flowering dogwood recently collected near Ramsey in Fayette County has been shown to be infected by the anthracnose pathogen. The occurrence of the disease is cause for considerable alarm, and a study on the distribution and characteristics of the pathogen is being initiated.

A new freshwater Ascomycete
L. Crane, C. Shearer
During a latitudinal survey of freshwater Ascomycetes in North America, an unusual, undescribed species was found on submerged woody debris in southern Illinois, Arkansas, and Florida. This new fungus is characterized by a soft, membranous fruit body and asci that contain two spores. The spores are cylindrical with broad ends, have nine transverse septa, and are surrounded by a sheath. The new species, to be namedBoerlagiomyces websteri, appears to be restricted in its distribution to southern areas of North America and may be restricted to warm water.

Leptosphaeria on asteraceous hosts
L. Crane, C. Shearer, A. Khashnobish 
Many pathogens and other fungi are specific to particular host species. Identification of the fungi and their host-plant relationships are important for understanding the species ecology and developing management protocols. Types and other specimens of 10 species of Leptosphaeria living on asters were recently examined. The placement ofLeptosphaeria carduorum and L. dolioloides in Ophiobolus and Nodulosphaeria, respectively, is confirmed. Leptosphaeria agnita var. ambigua was found to be the same as L. agnita while L. agnita var. chrysanthemi is elevated to species level as L. chrysanthemicola. The placement of L. helminthospora, L. plurisepta, and L. tetonensis in Leptosphaeria is supported.

Freshwater mussels of Illinois
K. Cummings
A new Freshwater Mussels of Illinois (Mollusca: Unionacea) is being prepared. This monograph will reflect changes in nomenclature, provide keys for identification, include distribution maps, and update the biological literature since the 1967 publication of P. W. Parmalee's Fresh-water Mussels of Illinois. A computer database containing verifiable collections-based information on the distribution of Illinois mussels has been completed and includes data from the Survey, the University of Illinois Museum of Natural History, the Illinois State Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and six out-of-state museums.

Freshwater mussel bibliography
K. Cummings, A. Bogan (Carnegie Museum), G. Watters (Ohio State University), C. Counts (University of Maryland)
Bibliography of the Naiades or Freshwater Mussels (Mollusca: Bivalvia: Unionacea) of North America North of Mexico is being prepared. The bibliography will contain references to books, book chapters, journal articles, obscure "gray literature" (government documents, reports, etc.), theses, and dissertations. Over 3,600 references have been compiled and entered into a database. The editors anticipate that bound, floppy disc, and CD-ROM versions of the bibliography will be available to facilitate searching by various topics and make the information readily available to researchers.

Directory of museums with mollusks
K. Cummings
Survey researchers compiled a directory of museums with collections of mollusks. The list contains 46 museums in the United States and 9 others in Europe, Australia, and South America. The list includes the name, address, phone, fax, and e-mail address of the curator and respective institution. A database of over 900 scientists, natural resource managers, and others interested in freshwater mollusks has been compiled to facilitate communication among those interested in studying and preserving this endangered group of animals. Both the collections list and personnel directory will be placed on the INHS World Wide Web server in the coming year.

Catalog of freshwater mussels of the world
K. Cummings
The preparation of a type catalog of freshwater mussels (Unionacea) of the world is in preparation. To date, over 1,800 nominal taxa of freshwater mussels have been entered into a computerized database. The database contains information on the original name, author, date, citation, page number, reference to figured specimens, type locality, deposition of type material, and names used in earlier monographs. The literature citations are linked to a bibliography containing over 6,500 references on freshwater mollusks. The editors hope that the database will be placed on the INHS World Wide Web server in the coming year.

Bird surveys
D. Enstrom, S. Amundsen
Under a contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), surveys of bird populations are conducted throughout Illinois. Surveys focus on endangered and threatened species, but also provide information on other species. This information is used by IDOT to assess the suitability of proposed road construction sites. Surveys are under way in Cass, Jo Daviess, Kankakee, Lake, McDonough, Saline, Schuyler, St. Clair, Wabash, and Winnebago counties.

Mating behavior of red-winged blackbirds
D. Enstrom, K. Yasukawa (Beloit College)
The effect of color on the mating behavior of red-winged blackbirds is being assessed in both field and laboratory experiments. In field experiments, red wing patches of males will be manipulated in order to assess the effect of color on male aggression, pairing success, and mating success. In laboratory experiments, the effect of color on male attractiveness will be assessed. These results will provide the first direct evidence of the importance of female mating preferences to the evolution of bright coloration in this species.

Male attractiveness in song birds
D. Enstrom, E. Ketterson, V. Nolan, Jr. (Indiana University)
In a series of experiments on dark-eyed Juncos, a monogamous sparrow, the hormone testosterone has been linked to behavioral changes that enhance the attractiveness of males to females. In another set of experiments, age-related differences in male attractiveness have been identified, and links between testosterone, age-specific behavioral differences, and male attractiveness have been established. Current experiments are designed to investigate the effect of plumage variation on male attractiveness. Results will address the nature of male attractiveness and the mechanisms controlling the evolution of gaudy male characteristics.

List of Illinois organisms
S. Hill
The total number of species occurring in Illinois has been estimated to be at least 53,754. Some groups (e.g., vertebrates) are well-known; others (e.g., insects and fungi) are poorly known. A list of the names of species found in Illinois is being compiled and will be available to anyone attempting to work with data on Illinois organisms. A list of names, arranged in a taxonomic hierarchy and available on Internet, will help stabilize names and provide a reference to those working with Illinois biota.

Systematics of the Malvaceae
S. Hill
The Malvaceae is a plant family containing, among other species, cotton, hibiscus, and okra. Illinois has 24 species of the family, of which 9 are native. Two are endangered in Illinois: Iliamna remota (Kankakee mallow) and Malvastrum hispidum (globe mallow). Systematic treatments of the Illinois genera Malva [introduced], Malvastrum[native], and Alcea [introduced], as well as three other genera from other parts of North America, are being prepared for The Flora of North America project sponsored by the Missouri Botanical Garden. The study will greatly improve our knowledge of this interesting plant family in Illinois.

Plant surveys
S. Hill
Surveys for endangered and threatened plants and natural plant communities of Illinois are being conducted throughout the state. These surveys are designed to assist in the planning of future roadways and highway and bridge construction. Areas recently studied included crossings of the Fox River in Kane County, interchanges in Cook and Henry counties, and the widening of U.S. Route 45 in Saline County. During the surveys, plant specimens are collected and added to the Survey herbarium. The specimens and associated data assist in the development of the Survey herbarium and in the ability to monitor the status of the plants of Illinois.

Endangered and threatened mammals
J. Hofmann
Under contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation, mammal surveys are conducted throughout Illinois. Emphasis is given to surveys and habitat assessments for endangered and threatened species, especially the federally endangered Indiana bat. Methods include live trapping of small terrestrial mammals and mist netting of bats. Project areas for 1994-1995 are located in Hancock, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, McDonough, Pike, Rock Island, Saline, Wabash, and Winnebago counties. These surveys provide information on the current distribution and abundance of endangered and threatened mammals in Illinois.

Maps of biologically significant streams
K. Hunter, L. Page
To more easily locate and evaluate streams designated in an earlier study as those that are most biologically significant in Illinois, the Illinois Geographic Information System was used to map the segments and to overlay them with current data on biological resources. The maps show the intersections of the streams with natural divisions of Illinois, with natural areas and nature preserves, and with localities for federal and state endangered or threatened species.

Fighting fishes
C. Johnston (U.S. Forest Service), J. Armbruster, C. Laird
In fishes common to small Illinois streams, males fight to control nesting sites. Often, fights take the form of a parallel swim. Two males line up side by side and swim for a short distance to assess each other's size and condition. Males of three species observed (common shiners, creek chubs, and creek chubsuckers) only perform parallel swims if they are of equal or nearly equal size. Interestingly, males often perform parallel swims with males of other species. Because males of several species are competing for the same nest sites, interspecific fighting is understandable; however, this study is one of the first to observe interspecific displays in animals.

Minnow life history study
C. Laird, L. Page
The range of the Mississippi silvery minnow, Hybognathus nuchalis, includes most of the Midwest, yet few aspects of its ecology are known. Once widespread and common in the central portion of the Mississippi River drainage, it has now disappeared from large portions of its range, including the entire Tennessee River and much of Illinois. Monthly samples of Mississippi silvery minnows have been collected from Sugar Creek in Edwards County, where the species remains common, in order to describe various life history traits and attempt to determine the cause of the species decline.

Exotic fishes in Illinois
C. Laird, L. Page
Exotic fishes are those that were not present in Illinois when Europeans first arrived. Thirteen exotic species reproduce in Illinois, and nine more are stocked occasionally or arrive periodically from adjacent states. These fishes can be harmful to native fishes, including endangered and threatened species, and disruptive to aquatic ecosystems. Economic costs, such as the loss of the lake trout fishery in Lake Michigan due to the invasion of the sea lamprey, are sometimes associated with the introductions of exotic species. A publication on the exotic fishes of Illinois is being prepared to discuss their Illinois distributions, summarize their ecological characteristics, and provide a key to their identification.

New publication on North American flora
G. Levin
Contributions from many botanists are being compiled for a multivolume publication, The Flora of North America, which will cover all the vascular plants in North America north of Mexico. The Survey's contributions will include treatments of two genera, Acalypha(three-seeded mercury) and Drypetes (Guiana plum). Acalypha is well represented in Illinois, with 6 of the 19 North American species being present in the state. These include the state-threatened large-seeded mercury (A. deamii). Drypetes occurs in North America only in southern Florida.

Systematics of three-seeded mercuries
G. Levin
A group of five species in the plant genus Acalypha (three-seeded mercury) has confused taxonomists for much of this century. Some of these species, all of which grow in Illinois, are widespread, but others are quite rare, including the state-threatened A. deamii (large-seeded mercury). These closely related species may hybridize, thereby blurring the distinctions among them, though some researchers contend that hybridization is very rare or absent. By combining statistical analysis of morphology with data from both chloroplast and nuclear DNA, it is hoped that the relationships among these species and the role of hybridization can be clarified.

Systematics of Drypetes
G. Levin
Drypetes (Guiana plum) is a large genus of tropical forest trees, two of which reach the rare Caribbean hammocks of extreme southern Florida. Research is under way to update the taxonomy of the genus, which includes many undescribed species. The results of this work will help biologists working to conserve tropical forests and help researchers understand the distributional processes that have led to Drypetes being found on five continents. Taxonomic treatments will appear in various regional floras, including The Flora of North AmericaThe Flora of the Greater AntillesFlora Malesiana, andFlora de Equador.

Glochidial descriptions using the SEM
G. Mottesi
Previous descriptions of freshwater mussel larvae (glochidia) have relied on the light microscope; however, recent use of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) has resulted in much better data on the surface sculpture, hinge ligaments, and micropoints. The availability of improved data allows for identification of glochidia to the species level. A study is under way to describe glochidia of eight species of mussels, all of which are in the subfamily Lampsilinae (Unionidae). Once mussel larvae are identified to species, fish hosts can be determined. Knowing the fish hosts is vital to understanding mussel life cycles.

Glochidia on Embarras River fishes
G. Mottesi
Glochidia, freshwater mussel larvae, are released into the water by the female and attach to fish. They encyst externally on the fins or internally on the gills. In previous studies it has been found that amblemine glochidia encyst only on minnows, whereas lampsiline glochidia encyst on sculpins, sunfishes, basses, and darters. A study is under way to identify the fish hosts of the subfamilies Ambleminae, Anodontinae, and Lampsilinae in the Embarras River, Illinois, and to determine whether the previous findings on host specificity also apply to populations of mussels in this river.

Relationships among fishes
L. Page
 Darters are common fishes found in the eastern United States. Twenty-five species are found in Illinois. One of the largest monophyletic groups of darters, the snubnose darters (22 species), is presently classified in two subgenera in the genus Etheostoma. Phylogenetic analysis of morphological data suggests that the species should be distributed among four subgenera. An improved hypothesis of their genealogy will enable scientists to explain their ecology and distributions and suggest ways in which darter habitats can be managed and protected.

Floristic survey in Alexander County
L. Phillippe
A list of plants for five areas in the Shawnee National Forest was prepared for the Jonesboro Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, based on field work conducted in 1994. A total of 1,993 specimens was collected and deposited in the Survey's herbarium. Six Illinois endangered plants (Carex laxiculmisCarex nigromarginata,Carex wildenowiiEupatorium incarnatumMelothria pendula, and Urtica chamaedryoides) were found in the five areas, emphasizing the biological richness of the region. A map with locations of rare plants and approximate population sizes was prepared for the Forest Service.

Distribution of pond-breeding amphibians 
C. Phillips
In the past 25 years, herpetologists have observed drastic population declines and disappearances of many amphibian species worldwide. It is not known whether the declines are due to natural population fluctuations or are related to environmental degradation. In an ongoing long-term monitoring project, data on the distributions and population sizes of several species of pond-breeding amphibians in east-central Illinois are being collected. This is the first step in defining natural population cycles for these species and will serve as baseline data for investigating possible declines in amphibian populations in Illinois.

Collison Marsh amphibians and reptiles 
C. Phillips, J. Serb
Collison Marsh is a high-quality wetland complex located in the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area in Vermilion County. An ongoing survey of the area concentrates on two species that require high-quality wetlands for their survival, Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) and the four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum). One individual of each species was observed at this site in 1990. The objective of this study is to document the continued presence of these two species in the wildlife area and to establish baseline population censuses for future comparison.

Reptiles and amphibians of Illinois
C. Phillips, R. Brandon (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale), E. Moll (Eastern Illinois University)
A field guide to the reptiles and amphibians of Illinois is being prepared that will help wildlife managers, law enforcement officials, teachers, and professionals identify the herpetofauna of the state. The guide will include a section on collecting and conservation, a checklist of the species, an illustrated key, and a detailed account for each species. The latter will contain characters useful in identification, a range map, and information on habitat, diet, and conservation status. This will be the first guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the state to include color photographs of all species.

Hybridization in minnows
M. Sabaj, L. Page
Hybridization, the act of cross-fertilization between species, occurs frequently in minnows. It is especially common among pebble nest-building chubs and associated minnows that spawn over the chub nests. Two species of nest builders, the hornyhead chub and the creek chub, are widespread in Illinois. Seven species of Illinois minnows are known to use the chub nests for their own reproduction. Hybrids among nest builders and associates are identified by comparing their morphology and DNA to those of the suspected parental species. Research is under way to understand the significance of such hybridization to the evolution and diversification of North American minnows.

Barrens burn study 
J. Taft
Barrens, savanna-like communities in an otherwise forested landscape, are one of the rarest community types in the Midwest. They are gradually vanishing due to the unnatural absence of fire. This study compares changes in the ground cover, shrub, and tree strata at a prescribed-fire treatment site and a nearby fire-free control site in Pope County using baseline data from permanent plots. The response to two prescribed fires over a six-year period includes an increase in herbaceous species density, diversity, and total cover. Though diversity continues to increase with each fire, warm-season prairie grasses unexpectedly show significant decline in importance.

Flatwoods burn study
J. Taft
Studies on the ecology of flatwoods remnants reveal them to be fire-dependent systems. Prescribed fire can maintain or enhance vegetational diversity and long-term stability in high-quality remnants. A study of a flatwoods near Mt. Vernon, Illinois, measures the response of ground cover, shrub, and tree strata to fire in a degraded remnant. Permanent plots were established and baseline data were gathered prior to the first management fire. A fire-free unit serves as a control. This study will help determine the degree to which post-oak flatwoods can be restored following disturbance and an extended fire-free interval.

Demographic study of Amorpha nitens 
J. Taft
Three populations of the smooth false indigo (Amorpha nitens) are known in far southern Illinois, all from a single stream drainage. These populations are the northernmost known for the species. Morphological measurements recorded over five years suggest that this small shrub may be limited by poor reproduction at the northern extent of its range. However, contrary to first assumptions, freeze damage alone may not completely explain the poor reproduction found during some years. These long-term monitoring results yield valuable life history data for this endangered species.

Des Plaines River valley floristic survey
J. Taft, M. DeMauro (Will County Forest Preserves District), D. Mikulic (Illinois State Geological Survey)
A survey of plants in the Des Plaines River valley near Lemont is being conducted to document the existing vegetation within a segment of the valley scheduled for a new highway crossing. The data gathered will be used to reconstruct presettlement plant communities from remnants of native vegetation and soils data. These results will be useful in guiding plant community restoration efforts on the extensive public lands within the valley.

Floristic quality indices for Illinois flora
J. Taft, G. Wilhelm (Morton Arboretum), D. Ladd (The Nature Conservancy [Missouri])
Floristic quality assessment is a method designed to evaluate the natural quality of vegetation remnants. Coefficients of conservatism, ranking relative species aggressiveness, were assigned to each taxon in the Illinois vascular flora. Coefficients from compiled species lists provide a mean value and site index indicative of relative floristic quality, particularly the recovery potential of degraded remnants of native vegetation. Floristic quality assessment is most useful when used as a complement to quantitative data and together they can provide a measure of vegetational changes over time.

Fish surveys
C. Taylor
Under contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation, researchers conducted fish surveys in streams throughout Illinois. Emphasizing endangered, threatened, and rare species, these surveys were done in association with future roadway or bridge construction projects and included sites on the Apple, Fox, Galena, and Kankakee rivers as well as over 30 streams in the Des Plaines, Fox, Kankakee, Illinois, Mississippi, and Wabash drainages. The surveys documented the continued existence of several species with restricted or declining ranges in Illinois and provided up-to-date information on the fish fauna of Illinois streams.

Exotic crayfish
C. Taylor
The rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, is a large, aggressive species that is rapidly expanding its range in North America, displacing native crayfishes in the process. Native to Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, this species is now known to have been introduced into New England, Ontario, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico. The rusty crayfish was first captured in Illinois in 1973, and since then it has been collected at over 20 locations in the northern portion of the state. Current studies are assessing the range of the rusty crayfish in Illinois and its impact on native Illinois species.

Evolutionary relationships of crayfishes
C. Taylor
With over 350 species known from North America, crayfishes constitute a major portion of our aquatic fauna. The genus Orconectes is primarily composed of members that inhabit the flowing waters of streams and rivers. The evolutionary relationships among members of this genus, 10 of which occur in Illinois, are unclear. Ongoing research using external morphology will assist in our understanding of how crayfishes in the genusOrconectes are related to one another and how they affect the aquatic ecosystems of Illinois.

Crayfish status in the U.S. and Canada
C. Taylor
Numerous North American crayfish species are known to have extremely small ranges. These species are vulnerable to decimation and possible extinction. Recent work done in collaboration with crayfish researchers from around the United States has suggested that over 45% of the crayfish species of the U.S. and Canada are in need of protection or monitoring. A manuscript listing conservation status and state distributions for all of the 338 crayfish species currently known from the United States and Canada is being prepared for publication.

Evolution of roses
K. Robertson
The rose family (Rosaceae) includes many familiar plants in Illinois, native and cultivated, including spireas, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, apples, pears, and hawthorns. Scientists disagree about how to classify this family. Previous studies have concentrated on the subfamily Maloideae (pome fruits). Work published in 1994, done in collaboration with scientists at Washington State University, used the chloroplast generbcL to generate new data. These molecular data support some traditional groups of genera that are considered to be closely related, while other groups of genera are realigned.

Contributions to flora publication 
K. Robertson
Botanists from throughout North America are preparing manuscripts on their taxonomic specialties for a major new project that will cover all the flowering plants, conifers, and ferns of the North American continent (excluding Mexico). The Survey's contributions will include treatments of the Haemodoraceae (bloodwort family), the genusErythronium (trout lily, dogtooth violet) of the Liliaceae (lily family), and numerous genera of the Rosaceae (rose family). The multivolume publication will be titled The Flora of North America.

Corridors for Tomorrow
K. Robertson
Most of Illinois has been converted to agricultural, industrial, and urban uses at the expense of natural habitats. The Corridors for Tomorrow project is investigating the use of interstate highway corridors to provide additional habitat for native species of plants and animals. This project will provide biological and aesthetic benefits as well as promote within the general public a sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from protecting our natural heritage. In the past year, lists of native plants were prepared, raptor bird perches were installed at selected sites, and preliminary landscaping plans were prepared.

Plant survey of Site M
K. Robertson, G. Levin, L. Phillippe
The Illinois Department of Conservation recently purchased from Commonwealth Edison Company an area of some 15,524 acres in Cass County; the site is known as Site M. A mosaic of cropland, pastureland, forests, and hill prairies, the site will be developed by the Illinois Department of Conservation as a multi-use facility for both conservation and outdoor recreation. During 1994, scientists from the Survey conducted an inventory of all higher plant species that occur at Site M, with a special emphasis on endangered, threatened, and rare species. Natural community types also were determined. This information will be used by IDOC in planning for the site's development.

Taxonomic revision of Jacquemontia
K. Robertson
The genus Jacquemontia is a member of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), found mostly in tropical America. One species occurs sporadically in Illinois. The results of a long-term taxonomic review of the genus in the United States, West Indies, Mexico, and Central America is nearly complete. A total of 29 species are recognized and an upcoming publication will include an identification key, descriptions of each species with illustrations, and distribution maps.

Woody plants of Illinois
K. Robertson
During 1994, a list was published of all native and naturalized woody plants that occur in Illinois. A total of 315 species of woody plants are native to Illinois, representing 56 families and 113 genera. There are 167 native species of trees, 166 shrubs, and 31 lianas (some species belong to more than one category). The largest plant family, in terms of species, is the rose family (Rosaceae), with 74 native species. The oak family (Fagaceae) and the willow family (Salicaceae) are next, each with 22 species native to the state. One hundred twenty-five species of woody plants have been introduced and naturalized in Illinois.

Hill prairies
K. Robertson, M. Schwartz, J. Olson, B. Dunphy, H. Clarke
Hill prairies are islandlike patches of prairie vegetation occurring on otherwise wooded steep slopes. In Illinois, hill prairies appear intermittently along the Mississippi River, along the Illinois River from Peoria southward, and in a few localities in east-central Illinois. Hill prairies are decreasing in size because of the encroachment of woody vegetation. Rates of area change for nine hill prairies were examined using a series of aerial photographs taken from approximately 1940 to 1988. On average, these hill prairies lost 63% of their area and became fragmented into smaller units. Field studies showed that sites losing a larger portion of area also had lower species richness.

Directory of Illinois systematists
K. Robertson
Illinois is fortunate in having a large number of biologists who conduct research in Illinois that is systematic or ecological in nature or who have considerable field experience with state ecosystems. Most are affiliated with universities, museums, botanical and zoological gardens, and government agencies. The Survey has previously published two editions of a directory of such specialists, and work is under way on an update. A computerized database is being compiled from information obtained from a questionnaire that was mailed to more than 1,400 people. The completed database will be available as a printed document and through the Internet.

Mussel surveys in Illinois
H. Kitchel, M. Wetzel, M. Harris, C. Taylor
Population studies are under way on unionid mussels in Illinois streams associated with Illinois Department of Transportation bridge and highway construction projects. These surveys focus on sites that may provide habitat for endangered, threatened, or other rare species. Sites surveyed during 1994 included several locations within the Apple, Des Plaines, Embarras, Fox, Galena, Iroquois, Kankakee, Mackinaw, Mississippi, Rock, Saline, Vermilion, and Wabash rivers drainages. These surveys document the occurrence and abundance of mussels in Illinois, providing current information on the mussel resources of the state.

Monitoring of freshwater mussels
H. Kitchel, J. Berlocher, M. Wetzel
In response to the decline of freshwater mussels in North America, federal and state governments have enacted legislation to protect rare species. Because of a planned bridge replacement on the Kankakee River in Kankakee, site of a rich mussel bed, a relocation and long-term monitoring plan for mussels occurring nearby was developed. In August 1987, over 4,000 mussels representing 20 species were relocated to upstream areas. Information compiled during annual surveys of transplant sites suggest that relocation may result in the reduction of damage to mussel communities from localized impacts, and may be a reasonable conservation strategy.

Systematics of New World stiletto flies
D. Webb, M. Irwin
A revision of the New World stiletto fly genus Chromolephida was published, and revisions of the genera DicholglenaPandiviriliaTabudaTabudamima, andViriliricta are being prepared for publication as part of an ongoing study of the systematics and zoogeography of the family Therevidae. These revisions update the descriptions of valid species, describe the numerous new species found, and provide keys for species identification. The ultimate objective is to revise all of the New World genera and to determine their phylogenetic associations with relatives in the Eastern Hemisphere.

Springs of Illinois
D. Webb, M. Wetzel, L. Phillippe
A study of 10 springs in the Sinkhole Plains Region of Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois has been initiated. Springs in this karst region of Illinois are highly susceptible to nitrate and pesticide contamination from agricultural runoff. Baseline data on the hydrogeology, water chemistry, and plants and animals found within these springs are being collected and compared with data on six springs recently studied in the Shawnee Hills.

Stoneflies of Illinois
D. Webb, M. Harris
A study of Illinois stoneflies (Plecoptera) was expanded in 1994 to compare the spatial and temporal distributions of stoneflies to distributions documented by Frison during the 1920s and 1930s. Frison's stonefly collections provide a historical record made prior to many of the environmental changes that have affected Illinois. Based on an intensive collecting effort between 1990 and 1994, reductions in the number of species and spatial distributions of several species are evident.

Names of aquatic worms of North America
M. Wetzel
The Committee on Names of Aquatic Invertebrates prepares checklists of names to achieve uniformity in vernacular and scientific nomenclature. Committee members M. Wetzel of the Survey and K. Coates of the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, cochair the subcommittee on aphanoneuran and clitellate Annelida and are responsible for compiling the list of scientific and common names of nonpolychaete annelids in North America north of Mexico. To date, over 830 species distributed among 27 families and 195 genera have been included.

Systematics of aquatic worms in Illinois
M. Wetzel
The Survey's annelid collection consists of approximately 245,000 identified and 55,000 unidentified specimens, including members of the Aphanoneura, Branchiobdellida, Hirudinea, terrestrial and aquatic Oligochaeta, and Polychaeta. Although the collection contains specimens from all over the world, the vast majority of the material has been collected from Illinois over the last 22 years. A computerized database that can be searched and sorted by various criteria is being compiled. During 1994, over 5,000 identified specimens were added to the Survey's annelid collection. Presently, 131 species of aquatic worms, representing 71 genera and 15 families, are known to occur in Illinois.

Bibliography of aquatic worms
M. Wetzel
An annotated bibliography of aquatic annelid worms of North America, including the groups Acanthobdellida, Aphanoneura, Branchiob- dellida, Hirudinea, Oligochaeta, and selected Polychaeta, is being compiled. It will include all references discussing aquatic worms. To date, over 3,000 citations have been entered into a computer database. These include journal articles, books, scientific reports, meeting and symposium proceedings, and government documents.

Directory of annelid systematists
M. Wetzel
A directory is being prepared that will provide names of systematists, ecologists, and field zoologists who conduct research on freshwater, estuarine, marine, and terrestrial annelid worms. Institutional affiliation, postal and electronic mail addresses, telephone numbers, and a summary of the researcher's areas of taxonomic, ecological, and geographical interests and expertise will be included. A directory distributed in 1982 includes over 250 scientists from 38 countries. During 1994, a revised questionnaire was distributed to previous respondents, to researchers who have expressed interest in this directory, and to authors of journal articles discussing one or more aspects of annelid biology.

Surveys for aquatic macroinvertebrates 
M. Harris, M. Wetzel
Under contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation, surveys are being conducted for macroinvertebrates in aquatic habitats in Illinois. These surveys are conducted in association with highway and bridge construction projects and emphasize areas that may provide habitat for endangered and threatened species as well as other species with restricted or declining ranges in Illinois. One long-term study focuses on aquatic macroinvertebrates associated with calcareous seeps at the base of dolomitic bedrock bluffs along the north side of the Des Plaines River in Will County. This study, which includes analyses of water quality on seep discharges, represents the first extensive investigation of this aquatic system.

Surveys for aquatic resources in Illinois 
M. Harris, H. Kitchel, C. Taylor, M. Wetzel
Under contract with the Illinois Department of Transportation, INHS researchers are monitoring water quality and conducting surveys for fishes, unionid mussels, and other aquatic macroinvertebrates in Jo Daviess and Stephenson counties. Sampling sites are located within the Apple River, Galena River, Pecatonica River, and Rush Creek drainages. These surveys are being conducted in association with proposed highway and bridge construction projects and emphasize areas that may provide potential habitat for rare species. The study represents the first extensive investigation of aquatic resources in these two counties.

Horsehair worms in Illinois 
M. Wetzel, D. Watermolen (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)
The phylum Nematomorpha, commonly called horsehair or gordian worms, has no obvious close relationship with any other living organisms. Most horsehair worms are observed among vegetation near ponds and streams. As larvae, these worms are parasites of insects and other invertebrates, usually grasshoppers and crickets. Over 230 species of nematomorphs have been described worldwide. Four, and possibly as many as 16, genera occur in North America. To date, only two species of horsehair worms are known to occur in Illinois, although a third species known from states surrounding Illinois most likely occurs here. A study of horsehair worms in Illinois was begun in 1994.

Longhorn beetle guide
D. Yanega, J. Bouseman
Longhorn beetles typically bore in the wood of living or dead trees and shrubs, and are a major component of the forest ecosystem. They are diverse, obvious, easily collected, and, consequently, have great potential as ecological indicators. A field guide to northeastern longhorn beetles is being prepared for publication. The sensitivity of biomonitoring measures is largely dependent on the level and accuracy of identification. This field guide will allow non-experts to reliably identify over 300 species, thus representing a potentially valuable tool for monitoring of forest ecosystems.

CTAP volunteer biomonitoring
D. Yanega, M. Schwartz, R. Blair (University of California, Davis)
Biomonitoring uses organisms whose abundance or health reflect conditions within the environment. Field manuals for statewide volunteer biomonitoring, using both traditional and novel protocols, are being written to allow citizens to track changes in Illinois' natural resources over time. Eventually, effective means of data storage and data entry will be developed so that the Survey can cooperate with numerous other state and federal agencies concerned with ecological studies. By standardizing volunteer data, the value of the data will be increased and become an important part of Illinois' attempts to understand and protect its natural resources.

Reptile and amphibian diversity in Illinois 
F. Burbrink, C. Phillips, E. Heske
A wildlife corridor is a linear habitat that connects two or more areas of larger habitat. Corridors promote immigration of organisms from one habitat to another, thus helping to maintain species diversity in the larger habitats. The research conducted here will determine the numbers and types of reptiles and amphibians that use the Cache River system as a corridor connecting two large habitats, Heron Pond and Horseshoe Lake. Results from this research will be used to develop management plans for the conservation of endangered and threatened amphibians and reptiles in Illinois through the use of a wildlife corridor.



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