Science

Research/Birders

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge depends on quality research to inform management decisions. By working in conjunction with various agencies, universities and individuals we are able to gain a better understanding of the habitat, wildlife, and natural processes in the area. This research is then utilized in various aspects of Refuge resource management. Researchers are required to obtain a special use permit in order to conduct research on Refuge property.


Southern Illinois University

Swamp rabbit abundance and habitat selection across a successional sequence in a bottomland hardwood forest at multiple scales-Southern Illinois University

This research will quantify swamp rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus) abundance and habitat selection across a successional sequence in a bottomland hardwood forest at multiple scales.

Metapopulation dynamics of the marsh rice rat in southern Illinois- Southern Illinois University

This research will estimate the occupancy, extinction and colonization rates of marsh rice rats (Oryzomys palustris) in southern Illinois.

Effects of Altered Hydrology on Floodplain Forests in the Cache River Basin- Southern Illinois University

This research will characterize the effects of hydrologic modifications on the composition and structure of forests along the Cache River. This study will enhance our understanding of the effects of hydrologic alterations on the growth of two dominant floodplain species, as well as the trend of regeneration of tree species along the Cache River.

A Comparative Study of the Population Dynamics of Five Amaranthaceae Species-Southern Illinois University

Japanese Chafflower (Achyranthes japonica) is a new invasive species to southern Illinois and there is very little information about the species. This species is in the Amaranthaceae family, which also consists of several agricultural weeds.  The overall objective of this study is to determine the comparative life history and relative competitiveness of closely related weedy species when challenged with a dominant species.   The expected benefits of research/monitoring this species is to learn more about this new invasive species life history characteristics and compare it to other species within the same family.

Monitoring insect emergence and riparian anuran diet in response to the addition of flow in the lower Cache River, Illinois-Southern Illinois University

The purpose of this study is to observe how differences in flow affect insect emergence, and how these effects translate up the trophic ladder, specifically to riparian anurans.

Results of this study will help to guide future restoration efforts involving the potential reconnection of the lower and upper segments of the Cache River.

   

University of Illinois /Illinois Natural History Survey

Factors associated with occupancy of Barn Owl nest boxes in Illinois-University of Illinois/Illinois Natural History Survey

This research will describe the use of nest boxes by Barn Owls (Tyto alba) in Illinois, estimate their breeding population, learn their breeding success rates, and determine landscape characteristics that influence their choice of nest sites.

This is expected to improve management practices for Barn Owls and to provide information on their status as a listed species in Illinois.

Habitat use and movements of brown-headed cowbirds in a bottomland forest undergoing restoration-University of Illinois/Natural History Survey

Several important behaviors of Brown-headed Cowbirds, (Molothrus ater) an avian brood parasite, are poorly known. The objectives of this study are to better understand 1) how female cowbirds use the landscape during the breeding season, 2) when juvenile cowbirds leave their host parents and where they go to, and 3) whether female cowbirds play a role in the dispersal of juvenile cowbirds. Knowledge of these facets of cowbird behavior could help manage cowbirds which are responsible for the decline of many songbird species.

Wetland Management Strategies that Maximize Marsh Bird Use in the Midwest Illinois Natural History Survey

This work will study the occupancy and density of breeding marsh birds in randomly selected wetlands throughout the state of Illinois from April - June.  Passive and active call playback surveys will be performed in early morning to elicit vocal responses from marsh birds, which will be documented when detected either aurally or visually.  Distance sampling will be used to estimate population densities.  Occupancy and density will be examined in reference to wetland type, hydrology, and wetland management strategy. 

Information collected through this project will provide better data on the distribution and density of marsh bird species throughout Illinois.  Furthermore, these data will help to determine wetland restoration and management strategies that maximize marsh bird use and their respective populations.  As a result, managers will use this information to guide future wetland restoration and management plans. 

Identifying wetland availability and quality for focal avian species of the Illinois Wetland Campaign-Southern Illinois University/Illinois Natural History Survey

This research will determine the proportion of NWI listed wetlands are both inundated and provide focal species with the necessary resources when they need them.  This research will provide better estimates of wetland availability and quality to serve as the basis for management decisions involving wetlands and the focal avian species that use them.