Examples of publications authored by The Orianne Society staff members – Houston Chandler
The Orianne Society’s mission focuses on using science to inform the conservation of imperiled reptiles and amphibians. The scientific research that Orianne conducts is broadly aimed at filling knowledge gaps in our current understanding of rare species. Answering these questions will illuminate the processes impacting rare species and inform on-the-ground management actions or future conservation decisions for these species. At a basic level, this means that we collect data to better understand the unknown. For example, five years ago no one knew anything about Snake Fungal Disease (SFD) in Eastern Indigo Snake (Drymarchon couperi) populations or in the broader snake community in Georgia. Now we have multiple years of surveillance data, suggesting that SFD is fairly common in indigo snakes (Chandler et al. 2019) and is widespread geographically and taxonomically in the broader snake community (Haynes et al. 2020).
Snake Fungal Disease observations in Eastern Indigo Snakes from 2016–2018. Apparent cases were snakes with skin lesions and positive for fungal DNA, while possible snakes had skin lesions but were negative for fungal DNA – Chandler et al. (2019)
An important part of conducting science is sharing the results of your work with other scientists, partners, habitat managers, and the general public. This allows the work to be evaluated by peers but, more importantly for applied conservation research, gets the results in the hands of the people who can make management decisions. Furthermore, future work can then build off of previous results, improving our understanding of often complex processes that a single study cannot hope to completely explain. Too often the results of many hours spent in the field are kept under wraps for various reasons.
There are multiple methods for sharing the results of research projects. The first is to present the findings at some type of meeting, either with partners or other scientists. This can be an important way to share early results and let partners provide feedback before a project ends. However, results shared at meetings are generally ephemeral, with no way for people not in attendance to see the presentations. Writing up a study’s results either in a report or, better yet, in a scientific publication allows the results to be shared in a written format with a much broader audience. The nuances and issues surrounding publishing research in scientific journals are beyond the scope of this article but this format generally provides the most long-lasting output and adds the benefit of the results having gone through the peer-review process. One side note about publications, they are often locked behind paywalls on journal websites, but nearly all authors would be more than happy to share their work with you via email and answer questions about it!
A detector dog (C.J.) searching a Gopher Tortoise burrow for signs of indigo snakes – Dirk Stevenson
To better share and build a written record of the work that The Orianne Society has accomplished over the years, we recently updated the publications section of our website (link below). This page now contains full citations for all of Orianne’s publications, which are divided into four sections: peer-reviewed articles, natural history and distribution notes, reports, and other publications by Orianne Society staff (i.e., publications that do not have Orianne listed on the address line). This list currently includes 36 peer-reviewed publications that Orianne staff members have contributed to over the last decade. The papers cover a wide range of topics on a variety of species, ranging from using detector dogs to search for indigo snakes to sampling for hellbenders with eDNA. PDFs are provided for all publications, and we encourage interested parties to take a look at some of the fascinating work that we have completed!
The link to the publication section of the website is below, and the list of publications will continue to grow as we complete more projects, directly benefiting the conservation of many rare and imperiled reptiles and amphibians.
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.
Haynes, E., H.C. Chandler, B.S. Stegenga, E. Ospina, L. Adamovicz, D. Zerpa-Catanho, D.J. Stevenson, and M.C. Allender. 2020. Ophidiomycosis surveillance of snakes in Georgia, USA reveals new host species and taxonomic associations with disease. Scientific Reports 10:10870.