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Rhode Island Natural History Survey » Events
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Animals &Bioblitz &Events &Exec's Blog &Natural History &News &Plants &Rare Species dgregg on 14 Jun 2010

BioBlitz 2010 A Success

The teams are just back in from BioBlitz 2010 and I’m sure people are working hard to unload gear, hang out sleeping bags and tents out to dry, and catch up on sleep. Thank you all for your tremendous efforts that made the event such a success. Thanks to the Block Island community for their help and hospitality. The preliminary count is 916 species, which is great by any standard and for an island and rainy weather, it is terrific. We have a lot of work to do to cross check the numerous data sheets, especially for the marine organisms, and we look forward to receiving the many specialist reports, so I am confident that the final number will be higher, perhaps approaching the magic 1,000 barrier.

A special shout-out to the art team. It was great to have you with us this year, you added a lot and helped put the biodiversity and the event into a whole new light. Should we be looking forward to a gallery show in the fall? Can’t wait.

Platanthera flava

Platanthera flava

Notable finds: American burying beetle, pale green orchid, wood duck, spiny skate, jonah crab, citrine forktail. We will post more details on the finds as they come in.

One special and sad note: Doug Greene, who had just done lichens for the BioBlitz, collapsed on his way to the ferry and, despite the best efforts of emergency medical personnel, died on the island. Doug helped in 7 RI BioBlitzes, incl. the 1st one, in 2000, and contributed to many other science efforts. We will be sure to get word out about a service or other memorialization when we know more.

Doug Greene, at the 2007 BioBlitz at Trustom Pond
Doug Greene, at the 2007 BioBlitz at Trustom Pond

Animals &Conferences &Events &News dgregg on 31 Mar 2010

Register Now for April 9 Amphibian Conference

Registration for the 14th annual Ecology of Rhode Island Conference, to be held April 9 at the Quonset O Club in North Kingstown, is open NOW. This year’s subject is Emerging Threats to Amphibians. The conference will examine a range of factors affecting the survival of this delightful group of organisms, and will concentrate on two diseases newly detected in Rhode Island–ranavirus and chytrid fungus. Panamanian amphibian conservation expert Edgardo Griffith is the keynote speaker. Griffith has been on the front line of the battle to save rain forest frogs from chytrid fungus. Other speakers include biologists and veterinarians expert in amphibian rearing. There will be a discussion session to address the management of ponds and wetlands in light of amphibian diseases.  Posters, displays, and good company will round out the day. There is a lot to learn from a frog and, as usual, people with diverse backgrounds and expertise will get a lot out of the RINHS annual conference. It should be of interest to amateur naturalists, conservationists, pet amphibian fanciers, and land managers, as well as vets and researchers. Please plan on coming. Registration closes soon. For registration materials and more details on the program, visit the CONFERENCE PAGE. The program for the day is available HERE.

Animals &Conferences &Events &News &Research dgregg on 08 Mar 2010

2010 Conference Registration OPEN

2010 Conference Registration is NOW OPEN
Emerging Threats to Amphibian Conservation in New England with Attention to Chytrid & Ranavirus
Friday, April 9, 2010 ~ 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Quonset O Club, North Kingston


For the 2010 RINHS conference, experts in chytrid fungus and ranavirus have been invited to discuss the biology and potential ecological impact of these water-borne pathogens, monitoring strategies, and potential management responses, on amphibian populations. At the end of the conference, a moderated discussion will focus on ways to continue the investigation of the situation in Rhode Island and on possible management responses.

Invited speakers:
Edgardo Griffith, El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, Panama. Keynote.
Tim Georoff, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Itraconazole Bath Treatment of Potential Carriers.
Carlos Rodriguez, Wildlife Conservation Society, Captive Surveillance with Necropcsy
Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England, Probiotic Treatment and Pathophysiology in Panama
David Skelly, Yale University, Discussion Moderator – ongoing investigation & management possibilities in RI
Additional talks on the Rhode Island chytrid study, ranavirus in RI wetlands & New York State, historical presence, origin & evolution of chytrid in New England, chytrid prevalence in Honduras, posters & displays.

The 2010 RI Distinguished Naturalist Award presentations will be held at 8:30 a.m. Watch this space for an announcement of the winner(s).

This year’s conference is sponsored by:
EPA Region 1
Roger Williams Park Zoo
American Association of Zoo Keepers
Zoo New England–Franklin Park Zoo/Stone Zoo

For more information on RINHS conferences, including details of past conferences, please visit the Conference Page of our website.

Events &Skills Workshops &Training jbarnes on 20 Jan 2010

Contractor Info Sessions Feb 2 & 8

30 minute informational sessions about the FHWP projects, bidding process, and Forest Invasive Management Certification will be held Feb 2nd & Feb 8th,  4:30pm at Weaver Auditorium in the Coastal Institute building on URI’s Kingston campus. MAP/DIRECTIONS

Events &Invasives &Training dgregg on 14 Jan 2010

Contractor Qualification Training March 5 & 8


Forest Invasive Plant Management Certification: March 5th & 8th 2010

The Forest Invasive Plant Management Certification will provide contractors with the necessary technical knowledge to control invasive species in and near forests using best management practices. This certification will also qualify contractors to bid on 2010 and 2011 Forest Health Works Projects.  The March 5th & 8th certification combines classroom and field-based training and will cover:

  • Invasive plant ID
  • Best management practices for invasives
  • Invasive Site visits and control demonstrations
  • Bidding Process
  • & More (Tentative Agenda coming soon)

Intended Audience: On-Site, Hands-on Contractors

This certification is being offered in conjunction with the CRMC Coastal Invasive Plant Management Certification.   For more information, please contact jbarnes at RINHS dot org Or come to a 30 minute informational sessions about the FHWP projects, bidding process, and certification  Feb 2nd & Feb 8th, 4:30pm at Weaver Auditorium in the Coastal Institute building on URI’s Kingston campus. MAP/DIRECTIONS

The joint application is available HERE.  The fee for the Forest Invasive Plant Management Certification is $100 for 1.5 days of training which includes instruction, handouts, and March 5th lunch. $80 job training scholarships for contractors are available through the RINHS.  These funds are provided by the U.S. Forest Service through a grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

How to Apply for a Forest Certification Scholarship

To apply please submit:

  • The Application
  • $20 Check (Payable to RI Natural History Survey — don’t include the full $100)
  • A cover letter describing your business, your business goals, and why you would benefit from this training (no more than one page total).

Scholarship spots are limited to the first 15 qualifying applicants. Interested contractors should submit materials by February 19th.  For more information, please contact jbarnes@rinhs.org.

Animals &Conferences &Events dgregg on 08 Jan 2010

Amphibian Conservation Conference, April 9, 2010

Emerging Threats to Amphibian Conservation in New England, with Special Attention to Chytrid and Ranavirus

Friday, April 9, 2010
8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Quonset O Club, North Kingstown, RI

This year, the Rhode Island Natural History Survey’s annual ecology conference is focused on emerging threats to amphibians in New England and potential management responses. Experts in chytrid fungus and ranavirus have been invited to discuss the biology and potential ecological impact of these water-borne pathogens, monitoring strategies, and potential management responses. At the end of the conference, a moderated discussion will focus on ways to continue the investigation of the situation in Rhode Island and on possible management responses.

The chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has caused population declines and extinctions of amphibian species in western North America, Central America, South America, eastern Australia, and the Caribbean. Preliminary results of a recent chytrid fungus survey in Rhode Island, sponsored by Roger Williams Park Zoo, documented a widespread, uneven distribution of this globally significant pathogen. Ranavirus, another emerging infectious disease, is also present in isolated wetlands throughout New England and has been implicated in recent catastrophic mortality events.

Keynote Speaker: Edgardo Griffith, Herpetologist and Director of the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center, Panama. No one is more experienced with the chytrid devastation or responded to it better than Griffith. His initiatives have been featured in National Geographic and promoted by David Attenborough and Jane Goodall, among others.

Researchers and wildlife managers working on threats to amphibians in New England including pathogens, polluted run-off, habitat loss/fragmentation, and climate change are invited to offer papers for presentation in oral or poster form. The organizers are particularly interested in hearing from researchers working on chytrid, ranavirus, or other pathologies or able to place emerging pathogens among other threats to amphibian conservation in southern New England. Student submissions are encouraged.

Abstracts should be less than 200 words, text only (no tables/graphs), left justified, arranged as follows:
Author(s), Affiliation(s), address, e-mail, phone number
(Skip a line)
Body of abstract

Submit abstracts electronically, attached as a Word file to: abstract@rinhs.org with preference for an “oral presentation” or “poster presentation” indicated in the subject field.

The submission deadline is 5 p.m., Monday, March 1, 2010. All submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the RINHS Program Committee. If more oral presentations are requested than the schedule allows, the committee may ask presenters to consider poster presentations instead. All presenters must register for the conference.

The conference is sponsored by Rhode Island Natural History Survey, Roger Williams Park Zoo, University of Rhode Island Department of Natural Resources Science, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Display space and additional sponsorship opportunities are available, contact RINHS.

RINHS conferences are widely regarded for convening a broad spectrum of people sharing a curiosity about southern New England’s animals, plants, geology, and ecosystems. They are excellent venues for researchers and organizations to showcase what they do in a collegial environment. For information on past RINHS conferences, including abstracts, visit our conference page.

Animals &Lectures &News dgregg on 17 Sep 2009

Shark Lecture, Sept. 29, Following RINHS Annual Meeting

RI Natural History Survey 2009 Annual Meeting
Mark D. Gould Memorial Lecture Series kick-off
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
5:00PM  and 7:00PM

RINHS (now in our 15th year!) will host our 2009 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 29th.
Please join us for refreshments & pizza at 5:00pm, followed by a 5:30pm annual meeting during which we will look back at events and discoveries of the past year, and preview several exciting projects which are on the horizon. This is a good opportunity to meet the Survey’s staff and Board of Directors.

The Annual Meeting is free and open to the public, and will be held in room 010 of the new Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences (CBLS) building on the URI – Kingston Campus. For directions, see below.

Reservations are not required, but if you think you’ll attend, a reply to Kira Stillwell for head count would be helpful.

Mark D. Gould Memorial Lecture Series 2009-10 Kickoff
will follow the Annual Meeting, beginning with a coffee and dessert buffet at 7:00 p.m.

Sharks in New England: A Closer Look
Dr. Gregory Skomal, Massachusetts Shark Research Program

Conservation and management of sharks, often misunderstood creatures, is recognized as an important issue in ocean ecosystems worldwide. This presentation will highlight current research being conducted by the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, and will include new information on the biology and ecology of our local shark species.

Dr. Gregory Skomal, is an accomplished marine biologist, underwater explorer, photographer and author. As the Principal Investigator of the Massachusetts Shark Research Program, he has been studying and diving with sharks for over 25 years. He has written numerous scientific research papers and has appeared in a number of film & television documentaries, including programs for National Geographic, Discovery Channel and PBS. His most recent book, The Shark Handbook, explores the world of sharks, and will be available for purchase and signing following the talk.

This lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in room 100 (auditorium) of the new Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences (CBLS) building on the URI – Kingston Campus.
Doors open at 7:00pm for fellowship, coffee & dessert buffet. The lecture will begin at 7:30pm.

The 2009-2010 RINHS Mark D. Gould Memorial Lecture Series is sponsored by the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The meeting and lecture will be in the CBLS building, located on Flagg Road in the Kingston Campus of URI. From the west, take Rt 138 to Plains Road. Follow Plains Road to the first stop sign (in front of the Ryan Center) and turn left. Turn right onto Flagg Road. CBLS is on the right halfway up the hill. From the east, take Rt 138 to Upper College Road (the traffic light in Kingston Village). Follow Upper College Road to the end and turn left onto Flagg Road. CBLS is ahead 200 yards on the left. See the handy dandy map below for more information or call 401-874-5800 for assistance.
View RINHS events at URI, Kingston in a larger map

Lectures &News &Rare Species dgregg on 17 Sep 2009

Author McLeish to Speak on Rare Marine Animals

Audubon Society of Rhode Island
Lecture and Book Signing – September 17th at 7:00pm
Environmental Education Center, Bristol, RI
Basking with Humpbacks

Natural history author Todd McLeish will discuss the rare and threatened marine life found in New England waters, which is the subject of his latest book, Basking With Humpbacks.   He will share entertaining stories of his field trips with biologists who are studying these creatures to better understand their life cycle and the complex threats they face, including basking sharks, leatherback turtles, Atlantic wolfish, bay scallops, horseshoe crabs and harlequin ducks.  Following the lecture, he will be available to sell and sign copies of his books, including his previous title, Golden Wings and Hairy Toes: Encounters With New England’s Most Imperiled Wildlife. Lecture is Free! Registration is required.

Call (401) 245-7500 for more information or to reserve your space!

Events &Invasives &News &Plants dgregg on 07 Aug 2009

Help Pull Stiltgrass in Burlingame

Volunteers are needed to pull Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) at Burlingame State Campground, in Charlestown, RI, Thursday, August 13th, 2009, at 10:00 a.m.

RI Department of Environmental Management Park Naturalist Neil Anthes will lead the charge against this big-time bad guy of the plant world.

Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), is an annual grass, native to Southeast Asia. The grass is believed to have arrived in the US in a packing crate of china delivered from Asia, and was first noted in Tennessee in 1919. Since then it has spread north and east.

Japanese stiltgrass can be most readily identified by the iridescent, silvery mid-vein on the upper leaf surface, and the “stilt-like” nature of the roots as they extend down from each leaf node.


In Rhode Island, the grass is considered an “early detection” species, of which there are five known locations throughout the state. The Burlingame site is largest of these, and includes locations within the adjacent Audubon Society of RI’s Kimball Refuge. It is found at camp sites and trail sides throughout the campground.

Japanese stiltgrass is of particular concern in forest environments, as it is well adapted to growing in low light conditions. The grass grows rapidly from July to September, forming dense mats, which cover existing native vegetation. Over the course of two seasons, dense stands of Japanese stiltgrass can out compete, and replace native herbaceous species. The grass is tolerant of moist conditions and so has the potential to spread throughout the wetland habitats surrounding the campground and along the Watchaug Pond shoreline. The seeds are buoyant and are easily carried through drainage ditches and streams. The seeds are also equipped with awns at the tip, which facilitate dispersal. The awns attach to bicycle tires, boots treads, animal fur etc. and then are carried further into the surrounding woodland habitat.

Because it is an annual, pulling before seed-set is an effective eradication technique. Removal of the grass by hand is easy, as it has short fibrous roots. August is the ideal time to pull the grass, as most of the seeds have germinated but most plants are only beginning to flower.

Please bring gloves and plenty of water, insect repellent and a lunch.

For more information and to sign up please contact either Neil Anthes via email at the following address: undefinedrecords@yahoo.com or Hope Leeson at the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (401) 874-5800, or hleeson@rinhs.org

Events &Invasives &News dgregg on 14 Jul 2009

August is Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month

Rhode Island Tree Council Announces Dates for Asian Longhorned Beetle Survey Trainings

Rhode Island’s trees need your help!  Last August, the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) was found in Worcester, Massachusetts, less than thirty miles from Rhode Island. This invasive pest is responsible for the devastation of over 25,000 of Worcester’s city and residential trees. Through a cooperative effort with USDA and Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS), the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) is coordinating a comprehensive outreach & detection program for the Asian Longhorned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer, both highly detrimental invasive pests. RIDEM has partnered with the Rhode Island Tree Council to implement this program. Both RIDEM and the RI Tree Council will be conducting outreach and surveillance activities in August, during the peak time of the adult emergence of the Asian Longhorned Beetle, and need your help in the effort to keep Rhode Island ALB free!

The Asian Longhorned Beetle came to the United States in wood shipping crates from China and Korea over ten years ago and has wreaked havoc in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago. This beetle has the potential to wipe out millions of Rhode Island trees if it goes undetected. History has shown that public education is key to detection of this destructive pest.

RIDEM and the RI Tree Council are hosting sessions to provide information on the signs and symptoms of injury of these insects to increase awareness to you and the general public. In addition, we are also seeking volunteers to assist us in the survey activities planned during the month of August.

The upcoming dates of the training sessions are as follows:
9:30am-12pm, Thursday, July 16th at George Washington Management Area in Chepachet
9:30am-12pm, Friday, July 17th at The Warwick Public Library, small conference room
9:30am-12pm, Saturday, July 18th at Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, 399 Fruit Hill Ave., N. Providence
6pm-8:30pm, Monday, July 20th at The Warwick Public Library, large conference room

Surveys for beetles will be held in Warwick and Cranston in August, dates to be announced.

If you are interested in the trainings or surveys or you have any questions or need additional information visit www.ritree.org or contact the RI Tree Council’s ALB coordinator, Kate Sayles, at 401-764-5885 or albfreeri[at]gmail.com (make the usual substitution of [at] for @).

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