Range-wide population viability modeling and assessment for Eastern Indigo Snakes
Description: As part of the ongoing recovery effort for Eastern Indigo Snakes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is interested in a comprehensive assessment of population viability across the indigo snake’s distribution. This project combines datasets from indigo snake research projects in Florida and Georgia as well as data from the captive breeding colony at the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. Viability assessments of known indigo snake populations will be used to directly inform conservation and management decisions by identifying at-risk populations, creating a better understanding of key demographic parameters, and informing efforts to supplement the existing captive breeding colony.
Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Moody Air Force Base, Virginia Tech, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fort Stewart, Auburn University, Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation, University of Georgia
- Chandler, H.C., J.M. Bauder, M. Elmore, and C.L. Jenkins. 2022. Delineating conservation units for the imperiled Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). Southeastern Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting. Virtual Conference. (5-minute talk)
- Chandler, H.C., C.L. Jenkins, and J.M. Bauder. 2022. Accounting for geographic variation in species-habitat associations during habitat suitability modeling. Ecological Applications:e2504.
- Bauder, J.M., H.C., Chandler, and C.L. Jenkins. 2021. A range-wide habitat and connectivity model for the federally Threatened Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Phoenix, AZ. (15-minute talk)
- Chandler, H.C., C.L. Jenkins, and J.M. Bauder. 2021. Creating range-wide habitat suitability and connectivity models for the Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi). Southeastern Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting. Virtual Conference. (Poster)
Effects of climate change on Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander phenology and population viability
Description: Many amphibian species migrate annually to breeding wetlands in response to cues from relatively predictable weather events. However, several studies have shown that, in some species, the timing of these seasonal migrations can shift as a response to a changing climate. The goals of this project are to identify the potential for phenological shifts (i.e., migration and metamorphosis timing) in the endangered Reticulated Flatwoods Salamander using a suite of future climate projections. The results of this analysis will then be used to better understand how phenological shifts could influence the viability of remaining flatwoods salamander populations.
Partners: U.S. Geological Survey, Virginia Tech, Eglin Air Force Base
Range-wide status assessment and conservation planning for Spotted Turtles
Description: Spotted Turtles are generally considered to be declining across their range due to a variety of factors, including habitat loss and collection for the pet trade. Despite these declines, making comprehensive status assessments and listing decisions is difficult because of sparse sampling data over much of the species’ range. This project brings together partners from Maine to Florida as part of a Competitive State Wildlife Grant to conduct systematic inventory surveys for Spotted Turtles and create a comprehensive conservation plan for the species. As part of this project, The Orianne Society completed multiple years of Spotted Turtle surveys in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.
Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Fort Stewart, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, The Spotted Turtle Working Group, American Turtle Observatory
- Meck, J.R., C.E. Petersen, R.E. Lovich, T. Akre, H. Chandler, B. Stegenga, L. Erb, M. Parren, J. Garrison, and L. Willey. 2021. Informing Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) conservation ecology and management on Department of Defense installations. Northeastern Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting. Virtual Conference. (15-minute talk)
- Mays, J., and H.C. Chandler. 2019. Grits, okra, and Spotted Turtles: Clemmys guttata down south. Spotted, Blanding’s, and Wood Turtle Conservation Symposium. Berkeley Springs, WV. (10-minute talk)
Ophidiomycosis surveillance in Georgia’s Eastern Indigo Snake populations
Description: Ophidiomycosis, commonly known as Snake Fungal Disease, has now been documented in a wide variety of snake species across the eastern United States. Little is known about the long-term effects of ophidiomycosis at the population level, although several studies have now documented the various responses of individual snakes to infection. Ophidiomycosis was first documented in an indigo snake from Georgia in 2015, raising concerns about the potential for this disease to negatively impact conservation efforts. Since that time, The Orianne Society has been monitoring the prevalence of ophidiomycosis in indigo snake populations across southeastern Georgia by collecting swab samples from all captured snakes.
Partners: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Wildlife Epidemiology Lab at the University of Illinois
- Chandler, H.C., M.C. Allender, B.S. Stegenga, E. Haynes, E. Ospina, and D.J. Stevenson. 2019. Ophidiomycosis prevalence in Georgia’s Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) populations. PLoS ONE 14:e0218351.
- Stegenga, B.S., H.C. Chandler, D.J. Stevenson, and C.L. Jenkins. 2019. Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola: Occurrence in south Georgia snake fauna and a new concern for Eastern Indigo Snake conservation. Southeastern Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting. Asheville, North Carolina. (15-minute talk)
Long-term monitoring of Spotted Turtle populations in Georgia
Description: Little is known about the demography of southern Spotted Turtle populations, and few populations have been monitored for longer than 2–3 years. In this study, The Orianne Society conducts annual mark-recapture surveys for Spotted Turtles at two focal sites in southeastern Georgia. The goal of this project is to better understand important demographic processes such as annual adult survival, which is often critical for stability in turtle populations. The data collected as part of this project will ultimately be used to model population viability over time.
Partners: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Stegenga, B.S., H.C. Chandler, D.J. Stevenson, and C.L. Jenkins. 2018. Ecology and reproductive biology of the Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) in Georgia. Southeastern Partners for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting. Unicoi State Park, Georgia. (Poster)
- Chandler, H.C., D.J. Stevenson, B.S. Stegenga, and C.L. Jenkins. 2017. Ecology and status of the Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) in Georgia. Southeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Annual Meeting. Little Rock, Arkansas. (Poster)
Occupancy monitoring for Eastern Indigo Snakes in southern Georgia
Description: One of The Orianne Society’s first major projects was the initiation of a long-term monitoring effort of indigo snake populations in southeastern Georgia. During each winter survey season, we visit sandhill habitats with Gopher Tortoise burrows to search for indigo snakes. Over time these surveys allow us and our partners to track indigo snake populations at some of the best-remaining sites in the southeast. This is currently the largest annual monitoring effort for indigo snakes across their range.
Partners: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, The Thompson Family, The Redding Family, The Wingate Family, The Gaskins Family, The Langdale Company
- Bauder, J. M., D. J. Stevenson, C. S. Sutherland, and C. L. Jenkins. 2017. Occupancy of potential overwintering habitat on protected lands by two imperiled snake species in the Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Journal of Herpetology 51:73–88.