Ecoblitz Research

Publishing the Biodiversity Found in Indiana Forests

The Indiana Forest Alliance is committed to science-based advocacy when it comes to the protection of our state forests. We best protect Indiana’s native hardwood ecosystem by utilizing and collaborating with scientists, experts, and researchers from leading universities to prove the value of preserving the natural diversity of Indiana’s public forests.

Articles Appearing in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences

Bishop, L., et al. (2019, July). Results of the Indiana Forest Alliance Ecoblitz at Morgan-Monroe / Yellowwood State Forest in Indiana. In Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science (Vol. 128(2):153–169).

Cover of the 2019 Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science.Abstract: The Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) sponsored an extended biodiversity survey (i.e., Ecoblitz) between 2014 and 2018 within the Back-Country Area of Morgan Monroe and Yellowwood State Forest in Indiana. Teams of scientists, self-trained specialists, and volunteers reported 3077 species of mammals, birds, herpetofauna, fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, spiders, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, singing insects,beetles, flies, true bugs, fungi, lichens, non-vascular plants, and vascular plants to date; insect analysis is ongoing. Forty of these are included as federal or state-listed species with one federally-endangered species and nine state-endangered species. The extensive lists of species also resulted in numerous state and county records. The Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) of the plant community shows that this forest has very high remnant natural value. Besides species lists, valuable ecological data were collected concerning habitat distributions (i.e., lichens, plants, herpetofauna, and spiders), reproductive success (endangered species and forest birds), and forest use by native bees. The results of this study contribute to the knowledge needed for the conservation mission of state forest land. Lists of species are available on the IFA web site.

Milne, M. A., et al. (2019, July). More Spiders in Indiana: 100 New and Updated Distribution Records. In Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science (Vol. 28(1):87–105).

Abstract: Spider species richness is understudied in Indiana. To better determine what species exist within the state, spiders were collected from various locations around the state, including Yellowwood State Forest, Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Indiana Dunes National Park, McVey Memorial Forest, Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, White River Woods, Glacier’s End Nature Preserve, Ouabache State Park, various Purdue Agricultural Centers, and various private properties in western Indiana. Spiders were caught using pitfall traps, sweep nets, Berlese funnels, and aspirators. Additionally, many spiders collected from Indiana housed in The Field Museum in Chicago, IL were examined and re-identified. Herein, we report 100 new distribution records new or not previously documented in Indiana, which includes one new family (Euctenizidae) and 25 new genera (Anasaitis, Anthrobia, Chinattus, Drapetisca, Emertonella, Episinus, Floricomus, Gea, Goneatara, Hypositticus, Iviella, Maymena, Myrmekiaphila, Ocrepeira, Phlattothrata, Phruronellus, Rugathodes, Sassacus, Scironis, Scotinotylus, Singa, Souessoula, Stemmops, Strotarchus, and Synaphosus). With these additions, Indiana now has over 550 known spider species. (IFA Ecoblitz data is included in this research report.)

Bishop, L., Milne, M. A., Foster, B. (2018, July). A Survey of Spider Diversity in Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forest. In Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science (Vol. 127, No. 2).

Abstract: As both predators and prey, spiders are important components of forest ecosystems, yet there is a paucity of information about spider species assemblages in Indiana forests. Between 2014 and 2017, the Indiana Forest Alliance sponsored an extensive taxonomic survey, called an Ecoblitz, in Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forests in Indiana. During this Ecoblitz, 128 spider species were collected. Of these species, 31 were new distribution records for Indiana. Of the total number of species collected, 62% were collected in the bottomland habitat, 60% on slopes, and 19% on ridges. Only 10% of the total species were found in all three habitats. In pair-wise comparisons of habitats, species composition differed between habitats even when species richness was similar. Likewise, collection of spider species during the day differed in composition from those collected at night with only 26% collected during both periods. These data emphasize the benefits of multi-year surveys, such as the Ecoblitz, and the importance of sampling in multiple habitats as well as during the day and the night. The high number of new distribution records in our sample reinforces the premise that spiders as a group are underrepresented in scientific studies of forests in Indiana.

Lendemer, J. C. (2017, July). Lichens and allied fungi of the Indiana Forest Alliance Ecoblitz Area, Brown and Monroe Counties, Indiana incorporated into a revised checklist for the State of Indiana. In Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science (Vol. 126, No. 2).

Abstract: Based upon voucher collections, 108 lichen species are reported from the Indiana Forest Alliance Ecoblitz area, a 900 acre unit in Morgan-Monroe and Yellowwood Slate Forests, Brown and Monroe Counties, Indiana. The lichen biota of the study area was characterized as: i) dominated by species with green coccoid photobionts (80% of taxa); ii) comprised of 49% species that reproduce primarily with lichenized diaspores vs. 44% that reproduce primarily through sexual ascospores; iii) comprised of 65% crustose taxa, 29% foliose taxa, and 6% fruticose taxa; iv) one wherein many species are rare (e.g., 55% of species were collected fewer than three times) and fruticose lichens other than Cladonia were entirely absent; and v) one wherein cyanolichens were poorly represented, comprising only three species. Taxonomic diversity ranged from 21 to 56 species per site, with the lowest diversity sites concentrated in riparian corridors and the highest diversity sites on ridges. Low Gap Nature Preserve, located within the study area, was found to have comparable species richness to areas outside the nature preserve, although many species rare in the study area were found only outside preserve boundaries. Sets of rare species arc delimited and discussed, as are observations as to the overall low abundance of lichens on corticolous substrates and the presence of many unhealthy foliose lichens on mature tree boles. Sixty-four species are newly reported from Indiana and the delimitation of new reports is based on a newly presented modern checklist of Indiana lichens. The new checklist of Indiana lichens includes 222 species, with an additional 72 historically reported taxa considered questionable reports that require verification based on reexamination of the original vouchers.

Reports and Articles Documenting Ecoblitz Research

Join the Action!

Are you interested in volunteering your expertise? Do you have special skills such as taxonomy or identifying plants, animals, insects, mushrooms, or other forest-dwelling life? If so, join us! We would love to include you in our Ecoblitz. Find out how you can participate.

Contact IFA’s Conservation Director, Rae Schnapp, for more information.