Science Initiative

Collecting a Snake Fungal Disease Sample - David Hutto

One of the major challenges in conservation and wildlife management is the fundamental lack of information describing a host of important topics, including the basic natural history of focal species, the status and trends of wild populations, the effects of environmental change on populations, and the effects of potential mitigation strategies.  To confront this challenge, science is a fundamental aspect of The Orianne Society’s mission to conserve reptile and amphibian populations and the ecosystems that they depend on.  The existing information describing both reptile and amphibian natural history and status is often surprisingly poor when compared with other groups of animals.  Identifying and filling these existing knowledge gaps improves our ability to make informed conservation and management decisions for rare species. 

Our work sits on the dynamic intersection between natural ecological processes and a rapidly changing world that is being impacted by human activities on all sides.  This means that conservation goals can often be a moving target as new threats arise and old threats subside.  Implementing science as an iterative process where we are constantly building on and improving upon past knowledge allows us to keep up with a rapidly changing landscape.  Ultimately, integrating science across our Conservation Action and Communication initiatives allows us to maximize the benefits of our work, contribute meaningfully to both the scientific and conservation communities, and be ready to address the complex challenges facing reptile and amphibian populations in today’s world.

The Orianne Society broadly focuses on applied conservation research, with the goal of directly benefiting the conservation or management of at-risk reptiles, amphibians, or the ecosystems that they depend on.  We conduct research projects that examine the ecology and natural history of at-risk species but also work on common species that allow us to answer important ecological questions.

Palpating Spotted Turtle for eggs - Tracy Karplus

The Orianne Society works on a variety of research projects across our focal landscapes and species.  Learn more about the projects that we are currently working on, who we are working with, and some of the results and products from these projects.

Scoping a Gopher Tortoise Burrow - Houston Chandler

One of the primary goals of our Science Initiative is to make the results of our research broadly available to others by publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Our publications page lists and contains copies of all publications authored by The Orianne Society staff.

Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander - Houston Chandler

Graduate students perform an incredible amount of research on a wide variety of topics related to conservation and management, but finding funding for short-term projects can often be difficult.  The Orianne Society provides small grants for graduate student research that benefits the conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles.  Read more about our Grant Program here.

Setting Spotted Turtle Traps - Houston Chandler