Research on Animals


Amphibian Monitoring

Beever 2006


Long-term Monitoring of Amphibians

The goal of this study is to design a monitoring program for populations of wetland-breeding amphibians. This information will allow researchers to test if changes in amphibian numbers and locations occur over time.

Green Frog
Green Frog

Van Zoeren 2006

State of Michigan Frog & Toad Survey

This monitoring program began in 1989 to determine population levels of all frog and toad species in the park by systematically surveying 10 sites, three times/year.

Loon die-off
Common Loon die-off

Alice VanZoeren 2007


Common Loon investigations related to Great Lakes botulism E outbreaks on Lake Michigan

Recent die-off of loons along the Lake Michigan shoreline at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore from botulism E outbreaks presents a unique opportunity to investigate aspects of Common Loon population ecology and contaminants levels and would provide an understanding of what portion of the loon population (i.e. age class, sex, and geographic area) is most vulnerable from botulism E outbreaks on the Great Lakes. This proposed research will contribute to a long-term investigation of the population ecology, behavior, and contaminant levels in Common Loons nesting in the North America.

Piping Plover adult
Piping Plover Adult

Alice Van Zoeren 2006

Great Lakes Piping Plover - Population Studies and Recovery Activities

This study obtains data (demographic information, causes of mortality, reproductive success, nest site location, breeding habitat variables) on Sleeping Bear Dunes' Piping Plovers to aid in understanding the biology and conservation needs of the larger Great Lakes Piping Plover population.

Piping plover nest site selection

Piping plover nest cups and two random selections of the same size will be collected from within the nest exclosure. Nest substrate characteristics will be compared. Similarities and differences of the surrounding habitats will also be evaluated. A. Young

American Woodcock Hen
American Woodcock hen brooding with chicks under her breast

John Wyman 2006

AmericanWoodcock, Jack Snipe Brood and Hen Capture and Banding

This study is focusing on the collection of data for Woodcock and Jack Snipe longevity, post-nesting movements, annual survival, speed and path of migration, wintering range, breeding habitat, and hatching dates through the use of bands and band recovery.
Brook trout with transmitter
Brook trout with transmitter

Hank Bailey


Brook trout population evaluation in Otter Creek

Brook trout are native to Lake Michigan and many of its tributaries, in addition to other Great Lakes. It is known that some brook trout populations exhibit migratory behaviors where juvenile fish leave Great Lakes tributaries to spend most of their adult life growing exceptionally large in the open waters of Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes only to return to their natal streams to spawn. Historically, it is known that anandromous brook trout commonly referred to as “coasters” were relatively abundant in nearshore waters of northern Lakes Michigan and Huron in addition to Lake Superior. These populations not only provided valuable recreational and subsistence fishing opportunities, they promoted genetic diversity and vigor to Great Lakes brook trout populations. Little is known what populations, if any, exist in Lake Michigan that still exhibit this behavior. Otter Creek in Benzie County is known to have large brook trout residing within meters of Lake Michigan. It is not clear whether this population possesses a migratory element. The Grand Traverse Band is proposing to investigate the population of brook trout in Otter Creek to document the size and habits of this population and determine whether individuals exhibit anadromy through tracking movement using radio telemetry. Additionally, we propose to compare genetic material of Otter Creek brook trout to other local inland populations and Nipigon strains of brook trout to evaluate differences and similarities. These studies are proposed for to begin the fall of 2007 and continue through the fall of 2009. Download complete proposal (44 kb, pdf file).

Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail Butterfly

Ording 2006

The Island Populations of Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilio canadensis)

The initial aim of this long-term study had been to determine whether there were any behavioral / ecological / genetic differences between the island populations and the adjacent mainland populations of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies (Papilio canadensis) in the Great Lakes region. The early findings of this research indicated that the population of Tiger Swallowtails on and adjacent to South and NorthManitouIslands is actually a hybrid swarm, a genetic mixture of two closely related species, P. canadensis and P. glaucus. This hybrid swarm is over 150 km. north of the described hybrid zone for these two species. Identification of a hybrid swarm, on an island system, well isolated from the species boundaries is providing a unique opportunity to further investigate gene flow, mate preferences, and ecological factors that differ between these two species.

White-footed mouse parasitized by deer ticks
White-footed mouse parasitized by deer ticks

T. Lickfett

Exploring the role of vertebrate hosts in the invasion and emergence of Lyme borreliosis in southwest Michigan

Emergence of infectious disease often results from interactions among wildlife, domestic animals, humans, and microorganisms that cause disease in animals and can be transmitted to humans. I aim to explore the ecological mechanisms of emerging Lyme disease in Michigan. I will investigate the role of vertebrate hosts in the expansion of Ixodes ticks from focal sites of recent invasion in southwest Michigan. In the United States, Lyme disease accounts for over 90% of all reported cases of vector-borne disease, with over 150,000 cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since national surveillance
was initiated in 1982 (CDC 2003).


Last updated: December 21, 2017

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