Exploring South Carolina’s Lowcountry

            Spring has officially arrived with the promise of warmer weather and longer days. This year we will be spending a majority of the spring and early summer working on several Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) research projects. The Orianne Society began working with Spotted Turtles all the way back in 2014 when we began monitoring […]

An Indigo Snake survey season for the record books

            As spring arrives in southern Georgia, we recently wrapped up the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) survey season.  From November 2018 ­through February 2019, we surveyed 20 sites for indigo snakes, visiting each site on three occasions.  Sixty surveys in four months does not sound like a lot, but it is always a good […]

The slimy salamander complex: A window into genetic divergence and the definition of a species

Travel to almost any deciduous forest in the eastern United States and you can potentially encounter one of the members of the slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) species complex.  Slimy salamanders are large members of the family Plethodontidae or lungless salamanders, which rely completely on cutaneous respiration for gas exchange (i.e., they breathe through their skin).  […]

Ornate Chorus Frogs

            On rainy nights in late fall and winter, small wetlands across the Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S. come to life with the frantic calls and movements of winter breeding amphibians.  Many amphibian species breed in seasonal wetlands that are most commonly inundated during predictable fall and winter rains.  These wetlands provide ideal breeding […]

Ecosystem Engineers: Creating Habitat for Others

Biologists have many ways to classify animals.  Species can be grouped together based on what they eat, their relationships with other species, the time of day they are most likely to be active, or their evolutionary history and genetic relationships to other species.  Ecosystem engineers are species that modify their environment in a significant manner, […]