Our zoological work focuses primarily on imperiled reptiles and amphibians in the southeastern US. Check out our current projects and recent press below to learn about our work.

Eastern Indigo Snake Reintroduction

The return of the eastern indigo snake as an element of the longleaf pine and associated ecosystems of southern Alabama is an important step toward complete ecological restoration of Coastal Plain ecosystems. Our reintroduction of the Eastern Indigo Snake is through a partnership with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. Our goal is to establish a viable population with the annual release of captive bred, immature snakes.
In 2021, we released 11 more snakes bringing to total released to 202. We have recaptured snakes over the years, some of which have been gravid females indicating reproductive success in the wild. We have also captured 2 wild-born snakes and wrapped up a 6-year monitoring study with over 4,500 vertebrate captures which will be analyzed soon. This project has been extended for another 5 years thanks to a State Wildlife Grant.
Flattened Musk Turtle & Black Warrior Waterdog Research
The flattened musk turtle (Sternotherus depressus) and the Black Warrior waterdog (Necturus alabamensisare two listed species endemic to the Cumberland Plateau physiographic province of the upper Black Warrior River watershed in Alabama, a designated strategic habitat unit (SHU). The flattened musk turtle was listed as threatened in 1987 and the Black Warrior waterdog was listed as endangered in 2018.
We are conducting population studies for both species in the Sipsey Fork and Brushy Creek, as well as genetic and habitat analyses for the Black Warrior Waterdog. We are using environmental DNA sampling to detect presence of these rare species in the Locust Fork as well, and have surveyed 175 river kilometers using an in-stream, canoe-based eDNA portable water filtration setup.
Check out our media coverage by clicking the stories below!
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