EAST ALTON – Over the next two years, scientists at
the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC ℠)
are investigating dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) throughout Central and
“Odonata are a
relatively well-known and charismatic group of insects and have key functional
roles both within terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and across
terrestrial-aquatic boundaries,” Wildlife Ecologist John Crawford said. “They
are also important indicators of water quality and overall ecosystem health.”
The primary goal
of this project is to address current knowledge gaps and develop a baseline of
population data as well as determine possible species of conservation concern
for state and regional agencies. These data are needed to develop future
conservation and management plans.
is needed to understand current population distributions, rarity and
vulnerabilities of Odonata throughout Illinois,” said Crawford. “Overall, there
is not a comprehensive statewide collection of data and what we do have is
mostly from the Chicago area due to a large naturalist following in that
sampling is taking place in Southern Illinois at both stream and wetland sites
on public lands, mainly within the Shawnee National Forest. There will be a
total of 30-40 sites and includes both aquatic and aerial sampling methods. The
sampling also aligns with the flight season for Odonates which takes place from
June to October.
This project began
in 2021 with the creation of an occurrence database gathered from historical
records from museum collections including the Illinois State Museum, Illinois
Natural History Survey and included naturalist database records including
iNaturalist and OdonataCentral. From there, maps were created to highlight
regions that have been previously under-sampled and pinpointing locations being
project is being funded through the state wildlife grant program, originating
with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and administered by the Illinois
Department of Natural Resources.
information about Odonata in Illinois visit https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/education/Pages/WildAboutDragonflies.aspx or contact Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC ℠ )
in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to
the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center
aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related
to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and
their associated communities.