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Biology
Augustana

Research

The research conducted at the field stations by Augustana faculty and students has been in the disciplines of natural history, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, and conservation biology. Green Wing Environmental Laboratory garners the majority of research projects because of it’s size, rural setting, and elaborate facilities.  Contact the Director of the Field Stations for species lists of plants and animals.
 

Natural History
We are currently studying the physical features and biota at each field station.  We would like to know how these three factors interact.

  1. Topography, relief, surface and subsurface hydrology
Climate within and among seasons: temperature (air, soil, water); precipitation; wind
Influence of glacial movement; soils
Historical analysis of land use (pre- and post-European settlement)
  2. Terrestrial and aquatic habitats
  3. Living organisms: bacteria, protozoans, fungi, plants and animals
Green Wing Environmental Laboratory
Biotic Inventories
Vascular plants, insects, butterflies, amphibians and reptiles, birds and mammals.
Monitoring of rattlesnake plantain, Goodyera pubescens

A small population of this showy, but inconspicuous orchid was discovered by Dr. Bo Dziadyk in early 2005. He and Amber Andress (’06) monitored the population throughout the spring, summer, and fall to identify the timing of reproductive activities. Results of this work are forthcoming.

Avian Natural History
Bird Diversity and Abundance

In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Kelly J. McKay and Dr. Steve Hager assessed avian richness and abundance at Green Wing. They recorded 140 species (62 North American Migrants, 59 Neotropical Migrants, and 19 Permanent Residents) and found that American Crows and Blue Jays were the most abundant.  This research was supported by a Summer Stipend from the Augustana Research Foundation and New Faculty Research Grant from Augustana College. It should be noted that since completion of this work 44 more species have been observed, bringing the total to 184.

Annual Winter Bird Count

A winter assessment of bird diversity and abundance at Green Wing has been conducted since 2003 by Dr. Steve Hager. This work coincides with and is similar in focus to the Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count. Field assistants for this work: Andrea Jaeger (’03), Brad Cosentino (’04), Jason Williams (’04), and Eric Johnson (’04).

Breeding Bird Survey

In 2005, Liz Ford (’07), Meg Ginn (’07), and Dr. Steve Hager began a three year study aimed at describing the breeding birds of Green Wing. The methods for this work were borrowed from the Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) project (see the Wisconsin BBA Web site for details). We documented 97 species: 66 (68%) species confirmed; 14 (14.5%) species probable; and 17 (17.5%) species possible. Another 27 species were observed, but did not breed. This research was funded, in part, by a Donald Anderson Fellowship.

  Avian Nest Productivity
 

In 2007, Chris Bertram ('08) completed a study of nest productivity in the birds at Green Wing. While he focused on two species, Red-winged Blackbird and Gray Catbird, data were also collected for the Brown Thrasher, Yellow Warbler, Tree Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, and Northern Cardinal. Average daily nest survival was low in all species. Weather and predators caused depredation of nests. Few nests were parasitized by the Brown-headed Cowbird. More data are needed to completely assess nest productivity. This work was funded through the Eli Lilly Fellowship for student-faculty research.

Land Use

An analysis of land use changes was conducted in 2004 by Katie Derner (’05) using Internet and GIS technologies. The results suggest woodland and wetland habitats changing from the early 1900s to the present due to various human activities. Katie’s supervisor was Dr. Charlie Mahaffey.

Surface Hydrology

Kyle Brill (’06) and Dr. Reuben Heine have mapped surface flow of the water through Green Wing, extending north of the property to include the Green River. There are plans to produce large-scale maps of this, as well as a smaller version to take into the field.

Collinson Ecological Preserve
Biotic Inventories
Vascular plants, invertebrates, butterflies, and vertebrates.
Dedication
The hill prairies on this preserve were dedicated on Sep. 22, 2007 as an Illinois State Nature Preserve and are now officially the Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies Nature Preserve.
Beling Ecological Preserve

Natural history studies are forthcoming at this site.

Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
Green Wing Environmental Laboratory
Terrestrial Habitat Structure

Forest structure was evaluated in the summer of 2005 by Dr. Bo Dziadyk and Amber Andress (’06). Results describing this work are forthcoming. This project was funded by a Donald Anderson Fellowship.

Aquatic Ecology

Dr. Kevin Geedey and Dr. Steve Hager conducted an experiment in 2005 to test the effects of various types of food on the developmental and growth rates of northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) tadpoles. Unfortunately, this research was cut short by the extreme drought that affected northern Illinois.  This project was funded by a Donald Anderson Fellowship.
 

Conservation Biology
Green Wing Environmental Laboratory
Long-term Monitoring of Amphibians

Declines and extinctions in many species of amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) have been documented throughout the world by biologists since the late 1980s (see the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program for more details). In 2000, Dr. Steve Hager began two long-term monitoring studies of the frogs and toads at Green Wing: 1) breeding chorus assessment and 2) evaluation of the prevalence of malformations. Together, this work will shed more light on an understanding of amphibian population dynamics in north central Illinois, and the upper Midwest in general.
 

Independent Investigators

We encourage research at the Augustana Field Stations by qualified individuals who are not associated with Augustana. Please see the Augustana Field Stations Handbook for information about the rules and regulations for research projects conducted by independent investigators.