Posts tagged with endangered species. View all posts

Map of the Month: Freshwater Mussels: Key Indicators of Ecosystem Health

Freshwater mussels play an important role in the health of freshwater ecosystems by providing food and habitat for other aquatic species, stabilizing stream bottoms, and filtering the water in our lakes and rivers. The Rio Grande basin is home to three mussel species suffering from habitat loss and growing human populations in this area may be threatening the water systems necessary for their survival.

Protecting military readiness and the gopher tortoise at the same time

A first-in-the-nation conservation plan, crafted by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and wildlife agencies in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, protects at-risk gopher tortoises while helping military bases to continue training and testing missions across the tortoise’s Southern turf.

As deadly screwworms reduce Key deer herd, IRNR and Texas A&M help multi-agency effort

After being eradicated from the United States for more than 30 years, New World screwworm flies reappeared in the lower Florida Keys this year. Screwworms have infested the endangered Florida Key deer population, which is spread across 11 islands. Approximately 130 deer, mostly males, have been killed by or euthanized due to the infestation, according to researchers.

Scientists search for rare snake in East Texas longleaf pine forests

While many people try to avoid snakes, a group of researchers are doing everything they can to find snakes, specifically the rare Louisiana pine snake.

The nonvenomous, 6-foot-long snake lives in gopher burrows, coming out only to go from one burrow to another or to mate. Its only habitat is the longleaf pine savannahs in eastern Texas and western Louisiana. But today, that habitat is almost gone, said Dr. Toby Hibbitts, a researcher at the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) and curator of amphibians and reptiles at the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections at Texas A&M.

Hibbitts is working with Dr. Wade Ryberg, another IRNR research scientist, and colleagues from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service on the project.

“With the loss of habitat, populations are crashing in Texas and Louisiana,” Hibbitts said.

The snake’s numbers have never been that abundant, Hibbitts said. In fact, the snake was undiscovered until the 1920s.