RICE CREEK RESEARCH REpORTS 1996 RICE CREEK FIELD STATION OSWEGO STATE UNIVERSITY OSWEGO, NEW YORK 13126 JUNE 22, 1997
, I rII Rice Creek Research Reports 1996 In the summer of 1996, Rice Creek Field Station, with fmancial support from Rice Creek Associates and the Division of Continuing Education at Oswego State University, established a small grants program to stimulate research at the Field Station site. Two projects were supported during the 1996 season. Both involved the initial steps in what should become long term efforts to study and monitor natural populations of organisms resident on the Field Station properties; an important type of study which is difficult to maintain without the kind of ongoing institutional commitment that established field stations can provide. As I reviewed the results of this last year's projects it seemed that it might be an appropriate time to launch a .. new series of contributions which would provide an annual progress report of research activities at the Field Station. This frrst issue of Rice Creek Research Reports consists of progress reports from Diane Chepko-Sade and Peter and Nicholas Weber, the principal investigators for the projects supported in 1996, and brief summaries of long term projects being pursued by Peter Rosenbaum and myself. I am also including an index of occasional bulletins which have been produced at Rice Creek Field Station over the past twenty years. Many of these are still available and can be obtained directly from Rice Creek Field Station. Further information on the small grants program and on other activities at the Field Station can be found on the Rice Creek web page at .I :.1 Andrew P. Nelson, Director '1 Rice Creek Field Station August 26, 1997 Contents Butterfly Populations at Rice Creek Field Station: A Progress Report 1 Survey of Small Mammal Populations at Rice Creek Field Station 11 Flora of Rice Creek Field Station........................................................................................ 15 Overview of Recent Herpetological Research at RCFS 16 Research Related Publications from Rice Creek Field Station Inside back cover
Butterfly Populations at Rice Creek Field Station: A Progress Report! Nicholas F. A. Weber, Lafayette College, Easton, PA Peter G. Weber, Professor ofBiology, Oswego State University Purpose and Scope of Project: Since the arrival ofEuropean colonists, North American butterflies have been in a steady decline (Pyle, 1976). This decline, part of a general world-wide loss ofbiodiversity due to human-caused environmental changes, is now drawing increasing attention (e.g. Soule, 1991; Wilson, 1992). Along with birds, butterflies are indicators ofenvironmental change (Erhardt & Thomas, 1991). In populated parts ofthe world, it is important to characterize and regularly monitor species populations in protected habitats which serve as reservoirs of species (e.g. Peachey, 1979). Rice Creek Field Station (RCFS) is a 130 ha preserve in North Central New York State. It contains wooded patches in various stages of succession, several maintained fields, conifer plantations, abandoned orchards and a variety ofwetlands. Rice Creek, which has been impounded to create a 10.4 ha pond, flows through the preserve. The details ofthe species composition and population ofRCFS butterfly communities have not previously been described. Indeed, to the best of our knowledge, little is known of Oswego County butterflies aside from range maps given in Shapiro (1974). In 1996 we began a population study ofthe butterflies at RCFS. Our short term purpose was to create a checklist ofRCFS butterflies which could be made available to naturalists and teachers to promote interest in butterfly 2 In the long term we intend to create an annotated monograph characterizing the butterflies ofthe RCFS grounds, similar to that which exists for Oswego County birds (Fosdick, 1996). The monograph will characterize, over several seasons, the Station's butterfly community in terms ofrelative population abundance for each species over a season and in each habitat. This progress report describes the results ofthe 1996 data collection effort. Materials and Methods: Sampling commenced on May 18, 1996, from which time on we sampled once per week until June 23 when we began sampling twice per week. Twice per week sampling continued until August 15 when we again reverted to once per week sampling until October 31, when weather conditions for butterfly activity deteriorated. We estimated the relative population abundance of each butterfly species by means oftransect sampling (Pollard, Elias, Skelton, & Thomas, 1975; Pollard, 1977; Pollard, 1979). We used the existing RCFS trails as transects, counting each butterfly encountered within 5m on either side of This investigation was carried out at Rice Creek Field Station with financial support by Rice Creek Associates and the Division of Continuing Education, Oswego State University. 2 Available from Rice Creek Field Station. Information also available at . I
the transect. Fields were sampled by fixed zig-zag transects (Fig. 1). This technique provides an index ofrelative abundance for each species in each habitat on a given date. We tried to ensure that the same butterfly individual was not counted twice, by not counting those individuals we were unsure of in adjacent parts of a transect. In addition to recording the number of individual butterflies, we also recorded the number of herb and shrub species in bloom along the transects. Unusual, new, or difficult to identify Fig. 1 Sampling Locations At Rice Creek Field Station ...... 1---Property Boundary species were captured, ------Cycle Trail Thompson Rd. cooled in an ice chest, 0 Blue Trail --@ --Open Field @} Red Trail --@ --Dam Access @. Abandoned Road .IT}. Green Trail CD-@] Climatic Data ,, -.... : .. :' ,II... .. ,.._. __ .... ..... ;.-...._ ,..." : ,,' "'" rEi :@'...to"QfA! '., B . I I'- I I .. ',."r::;-'l2 I "l::.J" 0 ...... \. ... CD .... ... ,.' .. .... I,. photographed, and released. This provided a permanent visual record of the butterfly for identification and verification without removing it from the population. We allocated butterflies to the following broad habitat categories: Field (mainly open area with grasses, forbs and few shrubs), Field With Shrubs (open area with D o@].' '. .. --Rice Pond --0 .. : ./'", Brownell Rd grasses and forbs but many tall shrubs), Woodland Opening (an area ofless than 0.5 ha surrounded by woods), Gardens (mowed lawns interspersed with planted herbs, flowers orshrubs),A1arsh CemeleryRd (lowland open areas, waterlogged for part of year), Swamp (lowland forest or shrub areas, waterlogged for part ofthe year), Abandoned Road, Successional Wood (young upland forest), Oldgrowth Wood (upland forest dominated by American beech [Fagus 2
Fig. 2 Number of Butterfly Species by Date 18 16 .!! 14 u8. 12 10 8 GI 6 4 2 o I .I I co ("') N "ll:t "ll:t (0 Ci5 o NN r::: Ci5 m Date grandifolia], American basswood [Tilia americana] and sugar maple [Acer saccharum ]), Spruce plantation (monoculture of spruce [Picea glauca or P. abies]). To determine whether butterfly abundance is related to micro climatic conditions, air temperature was taken with an Atkins thermocouple thermometer (model 39658-K), wind speed measured with an Anemo Deuta hand-held anemometer, relative humidity taken with a Taylor sling psychrometer and insolation measured with an A.W. Sperry digital light meter (model SLM-110). These measurements were taken in two lowland locations in the vicinity of Rice Creek, in a wooded upland and in an upland field location (Fig. 1). We expect to further build up this environmental data base before Fig.3 attempting to analyze it. Number of Butterflies Observed by Date 160 .....---------------.... Results:-i 140 120 Overall Description ofthe RCFS Butterfly :Community:= 80o 60 "g E 40 :1 As Figure 2 shows, the number of Z 20 butterfly species increased sharply in June,I I I II II'o"I I "1'1"'1'1'1 1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1'1. 1"'1 co ("') "ll:t "ll:t "ll:t coN peaked in early July when we recorded 17 (0 ;::: r::: co co Date species, and remained constant until the end of August, when the number of species flying again declined. In contrast, the number ofbutterfly individuals of all species showed two peaks: one in early July, when the number of species also peaked, and a second in mid August, the result of monarch Fig.4 Number of Plant Species Observed by Date 50 'uGI40 GI Q. o 20 E :1 Z 10 o .1 I II ("') N "ll:t "ll:t (0 N ,..... N (0 Ci5 Ci5 m Date 3 migration and a' concomitant increase in Pierids (Fig. 3). The -number of herb and shrub species in bloom showed the same inverted U shape as the number ofbutterfly species flying, except the peak occurred in early August (Fig. 4). We sought to determine if there was a relationship between either the number of butterfly species flying, or the total number ---L
ofindividuals in flight and the number of plant species in bloom. Figure 5 shows a significant increase in the number ofbutterfly species as the number of plants in flower increased (E(l,21) == 8.696,12< 0.008) and a moderate (r == 0.541, n==23), but significant 12 < 0.007), correlation between the number ofbutterfly species in flight and the number of plant species in bloom. In contrast, Figure 6 shows that the number ofbutterfly individuals in flight did not increase significantly with plant species in flower (E(l,21) == 1.17, N.S.), and showed a low correlation (r == 0.225, n==23) which was not significant 1.022, N.S.). We are confident that our sampling adequately characterized the butterfly fauna on the ReFS grounds in 1996 in terms ofthe number of species. This contention is supported by the species sampling effort curve given in Figure 7. The number of butterfly species inhabiting the Station grounds in any given season may well be around 36 as Figure 7 implies, although more years of sampling will be required to determine this. Fig. 7 Effort Curve As Figure 8 shows, the Station's butterfly fauna, in terms ofthe number 40 , 35 ofspecies, was dominated by 8. 30 members ofthe skipper family, : 25 z 20 Q) Hesperiidae (25.70/0 oftotal species), 1510 and the brushfoot family, 5 Nymphalidae (31.4% of total species). o 0'o Cumulative sampling Effort In terms of number of individuals, the fauna was dominated by skippers (39.7 % of all individuals) with brushfoots (13.5 %), whites and sulphurs (Pieridae) (1 9%), and monarchs (Danaidae) (15.6%) following with about equal dominance in individuals (Fig. 9). The Station's butterfly fauna, then, may generally be characterized as dominated by the Hesperiidae (skippers) and the Nymphalidae (brushfoots). This is not surprising since the former are largely inhabitants of woodland openings and fields, the latter ofearly to mid-successional woodlands and woodland-edges. These kinds of habitats abound on the ReFS grounds. 4 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Fig. 5 Number of Butterfly Species as Function of Plant Species in Bloom 18-------------------...... .! 16 o u o 14 U).e 12 10 ID 8 6 euE4 z 2 o o o 5 10152025 303540455055 Plant Species in Bloom Fig. 6 Number of Butterflies as Function of Plant Species in Bloom oo 0 140 o 0 .; 120 c; 100 .5'0 80 60 iE 40 20 o 00' (] 0 T o 5 1015202530 3540455055 Plant Species in Bloom o
Fig. 8 Percent Species in Family: May 18 Sept. 30, 1996 11 0A. goA. Pieridae (Whites, Sulphurs) 61 Danidae (Monarchs) IIPapilionidae (Swallowtails) lID Satyridae (Satyrs, Nymphs) 11A. 31A. Hesperiidae (Skippers) IINymphalidae (Fritillaries, Mourning Cloaks) IJ Lycaenidae (Hairstreaks, Blues) 260/0 Fig. 9 Percent Individuals in Family: May 18 Sept. 30, 1996 2% Pieridae (Whites, Sulphurs) II (Monarchs) ..Papilionidae (Swallowtails) IIDSatyridae (Satyrs, Nymphs) 16% mHesperiidae (Skippers) IINymphalidae (Fritillaries, Mourning Cloaks) IJ Lycaenidae (Hairstreaks, Blues) Detailed Description ofthe ReFS Butterfly Fauna:3 We recorded nine species ofskippers (Hesperioidea) three ofwhich, according to range maps given in Shapiro (1974), are new to Oswego Co. Ifwe assume, with our three added species, that the county contains 21 skipper species, we recorded 43% ofthe possible Oswego County skipper species at the Station in the 1996 season. We recorded 23 true butterfly species (papilionoidea) from six families, three ofwhich were new to Oswego Co. according to Shapiro. Again, ifwe assume, with our three added species, 3 To insure consistency, all common and scientific names are after Miller (1992). s
that the county contains 46 species oftrue butterflies, we recorded 57% ofthe possible species found in the county on the RCFS grounds in 1996. Butterfly Population Estimates Over Time and in Habitats: Figure 10 shows population estimates for each ofthe true butterfly species we recorded on Station grounds. Eight species were only encountered on one or two occasions as singles or twos, including ringlet (Coenonympha tullia), baltimore (Euphydryas phaeton), American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis), red admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Compton tortoise shell (Nymphalis vaualbum), white admiral (Basilarchia arthemis), black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), and spicebush swallowtail (Pterourus troilus). These were not included in the figure. Among the highest estimates were those for monarchs (Danaus plexippus) in early to mid September. Figure 11 gives similar population estimates, arranged in phenological order, for each of the nine skipper species on the Station grounds during 1996. Some ofthe highest counts of any butterfly species on the RCFS grounds were attained by the European skipper (Thymelicus lineola) in early to mid July. Fig. 10 Population Estimates for Papilionoidea (True Butterfly) Species over Time for 1996 Pterourus glaucus (Tiger Swallowtail) Celastrina alfliolus (Spring Azure) I 6 2> !4 I '0 1 i 2 oz M0 0 n 0 - 0 0 0 oat. Megisto cymela (Little Wood Satyr) SatylOdes appalachia (Appalachian Eyed Brown)II 30 .; 25 6 I 15 '> 4'0 10 i !5 r z0 53 M0 oat. 6
Number of Individuals II 5/18 5/26 619 6123 6130 7/5 7/11 7/17 i 7124. 8/2 8n 8/11 8124 9n 9121 1016 10127 NOOIberoflnclvlduais ,0,. i g ii' S' ct. 0 :3 iii' D I c 0' f 5 5118 5126 619 6123 6130 7/5 7/11 7/17 i 7124. 812 817 8/11 8124 9n 9121 10/6 10127 Number of Individuals Nlmber of Inclvlduals II Number of individuals II Number of Individuals 1 "tI:::r-I..ce' 'i 0 c 3 ;c n 0'.. i.en & ii I Q. CD Q. Z [I i 5/18 5/26 6J9 6123 6130 7/5 7/11 7/17 i 7/24. 8/2 an 8/11 8/24 9n 9121 1016 10127 C") '. a i (I) ." I CD CD a. '11 i' Nlmber of individuals tv mo tv".en CD0 5/18 0 5/26 619 :3 iii' "tI 6123 6130 i 7/5 iio -07/11 0 7/17 j 0i 7124 8/2 0 an a. Z 8/11 '
00 Number of Individuals 8n 8fl S/18 sns SI9 sn3 7/5 9fl 9n1 8/11 8n41... 1016 1M7, 7/11 7/17 7n4. Number of Individuals sns OJ Sn3 Q;" i S g.M1 'S'M7 '"tI &. 8n CD8flo 8111L: " it i: OJ c:; CD Number of Individuals a ()) j\j 5/18 5/26 6/9 6/23 6/30 7/5 7/11 7/17 i 7/24CD 8/2 8/7 8/11 8/24 9/7 I 10/27 hi = n o i g CD 3 -t e. i OJ c flE" } 2 o I en c-g: C ..::3Number of Individuals N 0; S/18 sns SI9 sn3 7/5 7/11 7/17 i 7n4 BnJ 1..----8fl 8/11 8n4 9fl 9n11 ..----1016 10n7 ...._------_-.1 Number of Individuals IV "" en CD 000000 IV0 S/18 sns SI9 sn3 7/S 7/11 7/17 .7n4 t 8n 8fl 8/11 8n4t 9fl 9n1 1 I 1016 10n7 J o' i i ;; I :1 n i en .a &? '"tI f"5' '"tI 5 j, n.=: . o n Q ....
Number ofIndividual. 0 .... "'(iJ".(JI 5/18 5/26 619 ()6123 o6130 7/5 } 7/11 e 7/17 lS' 7/24 .., 812 f.... an" 8/11 8/24 1 9/21 10/6 10127 tJ a ct Number of Individual 0"''''(7)000 5/18 619 6/23 6130 7/5 7/11 7/17 7/24 812 817 8/11 9n 9/21 10/6 10/27 Number of Individual '" ". (7) 5/18 5126 6/9 6130 7/5 7/11 7/17 7/24 8/2 an 8/11 9n 9/21 10/6 5/18 ! 619 CJ 6123:s 6130 7/5CJ= 7/11 ...: 7/17 Zg O!l 7/24i CD 8/2 3 817 m 8/11 CD C ... 9fT ..:: 9121 10/6 10127 5/18 5126 6/9"1J a ....i 6130 CD 7/5 n,e: 7/11 7/17 -0 c It!. 7/24 ct ut 8/2 fn an -S' 8/11 9n 9/21 10/6 1007 Number of Individual 0'" ". (7) Number of Individual 0 '" ". (7) Number of Individual "'".(7)oog.... t:j 0 0 0 0 0 0 5/18 l = CD 6123 ..!. &a 6130 -@ I!c C. 7/5 7/11 __ ..... 8-.. 7/17 < m .. i c i cit. 7124 a1 8/2 1 ;f 817 ;l fn fn 8/11 2r. " .. .. 9n -9/21 10/6 10/27 Number of Individual 0 .... '" (iJ 5/18 5/26 6/9 s "tj 8' :::r-6/30 :s (I) 7/5 () < m 7/11 7/17 C -C It tJC 9l. 7/24 -Dr a C ct ct ::s 8/2 It an fn .; 8/11 :g -It 9n 9/21 10/6 Number of Individual 5/18 619 6123 6130 7/5 7/11 7/17 7/24 8/2 an 8111 9n 9/21 10/6 10127 Number of Individual .... .... .... 0"''''(7)000'''''' 5/18 5126 6/9 6/30 7/5 7/11 7/17 7/24 8/2 an 8/11 9n 9/21 10/6 ctQ "1J 0 !0m-c :::r-C0_ tr 0 -:J: 0 g ifn -"1J& o= a Q". ., == .; o Q. 00 -c ., '-"" 00 U) = ;. -0 r-< cE0 ., C m en ,2; a o ., '#..
References: Erhardt, A. and J. A. Thomas (1991). Lepidoptera as indicators of change in the semi-natural grasslands oflowland and upland Europe. In Collins, N. M. and J. A. Thomas (Eds.), The conservation ofinsects and their habitats (pp. 213-236). London: Academic Press. Fosdick, C.R. (1995). The birds ofOswego County: An annotated checklist, Bull. No.7, Rice Creek Field Station, Oswego, NY. Miller, J.Y. ( Ed.). (1992). The common names ofNorth American butterflies, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. Peachey, C. (1979). The butterflies ofBernwood Forest, England, Atala, 7,61-63. Pollard, E. (1977). A method for assessing changes in the abundance ofbutterflies. Biological Conservation, 12, 115-134. Pollard, E. (1979). A national scheme for monitoring the abundance ofbutterflies: the first three years. Proceedingsofthe British Entomological andNatural History Society, 12,77-90. Pollard, E., D.O. Elias, J.Skelton, & J.A. Thomas. (1975). A method of assessing the abundance ofbutterflies in Monk's Wood National Nature Reserve in 1973. Entomologist's Gazette, 26, 79-88. Pyle, R.M. (1976). Conservation oflepidoptera in the United States. Biological Conservation, 9, 55-75. Soule, M.E. (1991). Conservation for a constant crisis, Science, 253,744-750. Shapiro, A.M. (1974). The butterflies and skippers ofNew York (Lepidoptera:Papilionoidea, Hesperioidea), Search: Agriculture, Entomology, 12 (4), 1-60. Wilson, E. O. (1992). The diversity oflife, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 10
Survey of Small Mammal Populations at Rice Creek Field Station! B. Diane Chepko-Sade,2 Visiting Assistant Professor ofBiology Oswego State University During the spring, summer, and fall of 1996, I conducted a preliminary survey ofsmall mammals at Rice Creek Field Station. I will eventually assess population "densities and compare these populations with other small populations in similar environments mentioned in the literature and at two other locations in northern New York, Fort Drum and Cranberry Lake Biological Station, where annual surveys are also in progress. I conducted the survey with repeated captures ofmarked individuals over a five month period to follow individuals through at least one breeding season, and to begin to develop an estimate of age structure, reproductive rates, mortality, and turnover rates ofthe populations. Such basic background information will be useful in designing future 'research projects and in designing field exercises for undergraduate courses. Previous small mammal trapping at Rice Creek Field Station had indicated the presence of Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), and Shorttailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) but we knew little of the abundance.ofany ofthese species. A report by John Weeks (1988) indicated dramatic changes in the vegetation cover and land use at the station between 1962 and 1986. Those changes have continued up to the present, 10 years since the last cover map ofthe station was made, with many areas undergoing succession, and reverting to mixed deciduous woodland. As the vegetation matures, we can expect to see different species of small mammals in the different habitats present at the station. The major vegetation types indicated on the Land Use map for the station drawn up in 1986 (Weeks, 1988) are grassland, mature woodland, shrubland and conifer plantation. A part ofthe grassland area has been maintained by mowing through the present, but much ofthe shrubland has grown up to young deciduous woodland. The changes in land use patterns at Rice Creek Field Station mirror those seen in much of Oswego County, and in much ofthe Northeastern United States, as small farms have been abandoned and allowed to undergo back to deciduous woodland. Bird species that were common in rural farmlands, such as bobolinks, bluebirds, and meadowlarks, are becoming rarer, not because ofdestruction ofhabitat, but because ofnatural succession back toward a climax vegetation. Many grasslands formerly maintained by farmers to grow hay for farm animals are reverting to woodlands, providing more habitat for woodland birds, but less for birds ofopen meadows. changes can also be expected to affect small mammal species. Open grasslands favor meadow voles, white-footed mice, and meadow jumping mice, but as grasslands give way to woodlands, the cooler mbister environment will favor red-backed voles, deer mice, and woodland jumping mice instead. It will be interesting to monitor the small mammal population from year to 1 This investigation was carried out at Rice Creek Field Station with' financial support by Rice Creek Associates and the Division of Continuing Education, Oswego State University. 2 Dr. Chepko-Sade was assisted in this investigation by undergraduate research assistant Luke Tarbox.
year as these changes take place, and track succession in the small malnmal population as a function of plant succession. The small mammals that might be found in the field, shrubland, and woodland habitats at Rice Creek Field Station include: Northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) Masked shrew (Sorex cinereus) Pigmy shrew (Sorex hoyi) Smokey shrew (Sorex fumeus) Water shrew (Sorex palustris) Star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) Hairy-tailed mole (Parascalops breweri) Meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) Woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis) Meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) Southern red-backed vole (Clethrionomys gapperi) Southern bog lemming (Synaptomys cooperi) House mouse (Mus musculus) White-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) Woodland Deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus gracilis) Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea) Long-tailed weasel (Mustelafrenata) Having a small mammal survey in progress at the Field Station also provides an opportunity for teaching students some ofthe methods used in field research on small mammals. Biology student volunteers recruited from the Biology Club and from my fall term" classes helped with the trapping during September and were enthusiastic about the opportunity for hands-on experience in biological field research. Objectives of the 1996 Small Mammal Survey: The objective ofthe 1996 survey was to conduct an initial survey of small mammals occurring at Rice Creek Field Station in each of the major upland habitats represented there. This survey will serve as a baseline for future work such as monitoring species diversity and the effect of habitat changes on mammalian populations at the station. It will provide future investigators with information on the presence, size, and distribution of various species populations. Methods Used: Trapping grids were set up in four areas: 1) mature forest, 2) open field and adjacent shrubland/pioneer woodland, 3) conifer plantation, and 4) large open field. Grids are 70 meters by 70 meters, each set with 64 traps placed 10 meters apart. The traps were medium sized 12
Sherman live traps (3 "x3 "x9") baited with sunflower seeds. They were originally scheduled to be set for approximately one trapping during the night and one trapping during the day on each grid each week between May and October of 1996. In fact, the amount oftime required to set up and survey the grids, a bad case ofpoison ivy contracted by the field assistant, and commitments at another field station limited trapping to a fraction ofthis time. Nevertheless, we did manage to survey all ofthe grids and mark them with relatively durable wooden markers and survey flags, and we did manage to trap at each site for part ofthe summer and fall. Our data are less complete than hoped, but will serve as a starting point for further systematic survey in the same sites. Small mammals trapped were weighed and measured, age was estimated (adult or juvenile) based on weight and reproductive condition, and reproductive condition was recorded (Larson and Taber, 1980). Where possible, animals were marked with aluminum ear tags. Animals were then released at the site ofcapture. Results: A total of 131 small mammals were trapped during ten trapping periods between 3 June and 29 September 1996: Frequency of Individuals Trapped by Date Split by NocturnallDiurnal Total Count Nocturnal Count Diurnal Count IUD 3, 1996 1 0 1 IUD 4, 1996 2 1 1 lull, 1996 6 0 6 luI 2, 1996 5 5 0 luI 8, 1996 7 0 7 luI 9, 1996 6 2 4 luI 16, 1996 12 9 0 luI 17, 1996 7 7 0 Sep 17, 1996 44 40 4 Sep 29, 1996 41 0 18 TOTAL 131 64 41 Disparity between totals is due to missing values for split variables.
Observed Species Frequencies by Site Forest Field/Shrubland Pine Wood 0Een Field Totals Blarina brevicauda 25 6 11 26 68 Peromyscus leucopus 1 1 2 o 4 Sciurus carolinensis o o 3 o 3 Sorex cinereus o o 1 o 1 Tamias striatus 29 3 5 2 39 Tamiasciurus hudsonicus 1 1 o o 2 Zap-us hudsonius '0 5 1 8 14 Totals 56 16 23 36 131 Proposed Small Mammal Survey for 1997: The four areas surveyed in 1996 will be trapped at weekly intervals from May 15th through October. Powder tracking of some individuals will be carried out to obtain estimates of home range size. Some trapping ofwetland areas around the pond will be conducted if time Population size will be calculated for each species in each grid, using the Lincoln-Peterson index where data are scant, and the Schumacher-Eschmeyer procedure where data are adequate (Davis and Winstead, 1980). Floristic information on the four trapping grids will be collected in conjunction with the ongoing floristic survey of the Field Station property discussed on page 15 ofthis report. Literature Cited: Davis, D. E. and R. L. Winstead, 1980. Estimating the Numbers of Wildlife Populations, In Wildlive Management Techniques Manual, Ed. S. D. Schemnitz, The Wildlife Society, Washington, D. C. Larson, J. S. and R. D. Taber, 1980. Criteria of Sex and Age, In Wildlife Management Techniques Manual, Ed. S. D. Schemnitz, The Wildlife Society, Washington, D. C. Weeks, J. A., 1988. Guide linesfor Environmental Management atRice Creek Field Station, Rice Creek Field Station Bulletin No.6, Oswego, N. Y. 14
Flora of Rice Creek Field Station Andrew P. Nelson, Visiting Assistant Professor ofBiology SUNY Oswego Rice Creek Field Station at Oswego State University occupies an area of approximately 130 ha (325 acres) situated on the southeast lake plain ofLake Ontario. Vegetation on the property includes old growth farm woodlot, second growth forest, brush lots, abandoned orchards, mown fields, conifer plantations, ponds, and marshes. The site is approximately 2.4 Ian (1.5 miles) directly southwest from the Lake Ontario shore. Most ofthe second growth vegetation on the property is now nearly thirty years old. An herb garden, some ornamental landscape plantings, and an area ofmown lawn have been established near the field station's buildings. Some native woodland and wetland and a few exotics have been introduced into a wildflower display area. The mature forest in the immediate area includes beech-maple and hemlock-northern hardwood communities which are widespread in New York State plus maple-basswood forests which contain a mixture of species with both northern and southern affinities. The landscape in the vicinity ofthe city ofOswego contains small patches ofmature woods intermixed with successional woodlands, shrub lands, and fields, agricultural properties, and rural and suburban residential areas. Oswego itself is a port city located on Lake Ontario at the mouth ofthe Oswego River. J. T. Hickey (1971) listed 344 species ofvascular plants from the field station properties. A concerted effort to update and expand upon Hickey's work was begun in 1994. In early 1996 this undertaking was expanded to inciude the mosses and liverworts. A list ofthe known flora ofRice Creek Field Station, current to December 1996, is included in the Field Station's world wide web site at The list includes 534 species with 3 liverworts, 18 mosses, 1 horsetail, 9 ferns, 14 conifers, 381 dicots, and 108 monocots. It is annotated to indicate which species are: 1) V ouchered by a specimen in the Field Station herbarium. 2) Positively identified and documented on the property subsequent to September, 1994. 3) Found in the Wildflower Display Area. 4) Cultivated in the Herb Garden. 5) Cultivated in landscape plantings. The content ofthis list, including annotations, will be updated annually near the beginning of the calendar year. Reference: Station. IN Hickey, John T. 1971. The Flora ofthe Vascular Plants ofthe Rice Creek Biological Field: Shearer, Robert I. (ed.) 1974. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 1 No.2. SUNY Oswego.
Overview of Recent Herpetological Research at ReFS Peter A. Rosenbaum, Associate Professor ofBiology, Oswego State University Rice Creek Field Station (RCFS) is the study site for several herpetological research projects. All projects were conceived and designed by faculty and integrate undergraduate students in one way or another. Some projects are more appropriately called "student research projects" as the primary responsibility for data collection and analysis is delegated to students. In "faculty research projects," data collection and analysis is directly carried out or supervised by faculty members; students actively participate in this work as field and/or laboratory assistants. Students earn academic credit for these research experiences via either Independent Study in Biology (Biology 399/499), Problems in Biology -Field Herpetology (Biology 392/592), Field Herpetology (Biology 388) or Problems in Zoology (Zoology 497). Student Research Projects: Turtle Census: Observations ofthe resident turtles in Rice Pond began in 1986. To date, only snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) and midland painted turtles (Chysemys pieta marginata) have been found to inhabit Rice Pond. Initially, nesting behavior was the focus ofobservations. In 1991, a census ofthe nesting turtles in Rice Pond was initiated as a student research project. In 1992, census data was expanded by the addition oflive trapping along with observations of nesting females. In 1995, census data was transferred to a computer database integrating previously collected census data. During the past three field seasons (1995-1997), student research projects that focused on turtle nesting and turtle trapping were conducted. At this writing, over 70 snappers and 120 painted turtles have been documented. Nesting Turtles: Intimately tied to the turtle census is the study ofnesting female turtles. RCFS has an eruption ofterrestrial turtle activity that begins in late May early June and lasts into early July. During this time, female aquatic turtles boldly venture upon terra firma to locate nest sites, dig nests and deposit eggs. As noted above, observation of nesting turtles was initiated in 1986. Student projects on nesting turtles occurred during the 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 & 1997 field seasons. Monitoring Snapping Turtles &Painted Turtles by Radio Telemetry: In June, 1995, five adult female snapping turtles from Rice Pond were outfitted with radio transmitters. Thereafter, their movements and behaviors were monitored, primarily by students. Four ofthese five snappers are part ofa toxicology study (see below); the fifth turtle was the subject of a student research project in the summer of 1995. All five turtles were monitored by Independent Study students during the Fall, 1995, and Spring, 1996, semesters. 16
During the summer of 1996, these female snapping turtles were again monitored by student researchers. Also, the movements and behaviors oftwo. adult male painted turtles were the subjects of student projects. In 1997, two "naive" snapping turtles reared in captivity for 22 months from egg (1995 hatchlings) were outfitted with radio transmitters and released. Two students are currently monitoring the nlovements and behaviors ofthese turtles. We plan to monitor these turtles for at least the next year. Amphibian Vocalization Survey: The systematic monitoring ofthe calling amphibians at RCFS utilizing a modified version of the Long Point Bird Observatory's Marsh Monitoring Protocol (Chabot, 1995) was initiated in 1995. Six (6) observation stations were established at ReFS. This season will mark the third year ofdata collection from these stations. In 1996, Oswego High.School students under the supervision of science teacher Janet Mallon learned the amphibian portion ofthe Marsh Monitoring Protocol and collected data on calling amphibians during April, May and early June. This data was integrated with data generated by college students who made observations later in 1996. In 1997, early season observations were made by one member oflast year's college marsh monitoring team. A new team of SUNY Oswego students is presently collecting late season data. "Herp" Atlas: The New York State Department ofEnvironmental Conservation is currently collecting data on the distribution ofreptiles and amphibians in New York State (Breisch, 1997). Data on the herpetofauna (i.e., reptiles amphibians) at and around RCFS has been submitted to the New York State Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project. This work is ongoing and has expanded to include student projects at sites outside ofOswego County. Faculty Research Projects: Snapping Turtles As Biomonitors: The snapping turtle has been suggested as an ecosystem bioindicator by numerous investigators although it has not yet been extensively employed. The International Joint Commission has recently selected the snapping turtle as an ecosystem health indicator for the Great Lakes. Numerous facets ofthe snapping turtle's natural history make it an especially desirable species for Great Lakes pollution research. This turtle species is common throughout the Great Lakes system and has acosmopolitan distribution from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan in southern Canada south to the Gulf ofMexico and from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Rocky mountains. Within this extensive range, snappers are potentially found in any freshwater habitat but are primarily associated with permanent bodies offresh water such as streams, lakes and ponds.
Snappers are non-migratory, have limited home ranges (for individual snapping turtles it may be only 3-4 hectares) and most animals are believed to remain in the same home range in consecutive years. Snapping turtles are the largest fresh water turtle species found within the Great Lakes basin. Turtles are long lived species and snappers have a documented captive life expectancy of at least 57 years. As maximum life span in captivity correlates with natural life expectancies, wild snappers may reach or exceed this captive record. Snapping turtles are relatively easy to collect from the field, and they directly interact with many components of their ecosystem. Snappers are omnivorous and occupy the upper trophic levels of the food chain. Snapper's diverse diet consists of significant fractions of fish (mostly smaller forage fish), vegetation, carrion, and a variety of animals including amphibians, reptiles, birds and bird eggs, crustacea, and other invertebrates. As adults, snappers have no predators, except for hUlnans. Among wildlife species used as environmental monitors, the snapping turtle's position in the food chain, diet, and longevity is most analogous to humans. Along with their long, sedentary life span, snappers have the capability of concentrating both organic and inorganic contaminants. Snappers have high tolerance for organochlorine compounds. Humans continue to consume snapping turtles throughout most oftheir range. In 1993, a collaborative research project was initiated between myself: James J. Pagano and Richard N. Roberts ofthe SUNY Oswego Environmental Research Center (ERC), and Patrick W. O'Keefe of SUNY Albany. The goals of this research are (1) to determine if snapping turtles are reliable indicators of environmental contamination, and (2) to determine if a congener specific relationship exists between the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) found in snapping turtle eggs and parental fat. Snappers at RCFS were utilized as relatively clean controls and compared to turtles and eggs from industrial polluted sites associated with Lake Ontario. This work was supported by a grant from the Great Lakes Research Consortium. In 1995, an experiment designed to measure the metabolism, storage, excretion and transfer of toxic substances in snapping turtles was initiated at RCFS. This is collaborative research between myself and James J. Pagano and Richard N. Roberts of SUNY Oswego ERC. Some tissue samples have been analyzed by James Olsen at SUNY Buffalo. This work is ongoing. Students assist in this research as field assistants and as lab assistants at ERC. This work was supported by a grant from the SUNY Oswego Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee. In 1996 and 1997, blood samples from some RCFS turtles were analyzed for glucose levels by David A. Gapp, ofHamilton College, who is investigating whether a diabetes-like syndrome he has observed in snapping turtles is another kind of bioindicator of exposure to one or more environmental contaminants. 18
References: Breisch, A.R. (1997). Volunteer Handbook. New York State Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project. NYSDEC Wildlife Resources Center. Delmar, N.Y. Chabot, Amy (1995) Marsh Monitoring Program. Long Point Bird Observatory. Ontario, Canada.
Research Related Publications from Rice Creek Field Station Bulletins: Shearer, R. I. (ed.) 1974 Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin. Vol 1. NO.1. SUNY Oswego. Contents: Li mnologi cal Data Collected From Little Sodus Bay-----------------------------------------------------------------4 Kundell, J. E. A Chemical and Physical Comparison ofLittle Sodus Bay, Port Bay, Sodus Bay, and I rondequoi t Bay ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7 Spafford, R. A. The Distribution ofMicro crus taceans at the Mud-Water Interface ofLittle Sodus Bay --32 Del Prete, K. Phosphate and Nitrate Study ofLittle Sodus Bay During Winter Ice Cover and Early Spring, 1972 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------45 Tritman, N. D. Chlorophyll and Phaeophytin Determination ofa Phytoplankton Community During and After I ce Cove r ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------52 Shearer, R. I. An Investigation ofthe Vertical Distribution ofthe Meiiobenthos ofLittle Sodus Bay ------59 Bocsor, J. G. Seasonal and Vertical Distribution ofZooplankton in Little Sodus Bay------------------------66 Hickey, John T. 1971. The Flora ofthe Vascular Plants ofthe Rice Creek Biological Field Station. IN: Shearer, Robert I. (ed.) 1974. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 1 No.2. SUNY Oswego. Maxwell, George R., Gerald A. Smith, Patricia A. Ruta, and Thomas L. Carrolan. 1976. Preliminary Bird and Associated Vegatational Studies for Navigation Season Extension on the St. Lawrence River. IN: Shearer, Robert I. (ed.) 1974. 'Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 3. SUNY Oswego. Smith, Gerald S., Andrew Bieber, Michael K. Bollenbacher, Joseph D. Brown, Theresa A. Dillon, Deborah Dosch, Carol J. Elliott, Angelo Giordano, and Paul T. Meier. 1977. Habitat and Wildlife Inventory: Guide to Coastal Zone Lands, Oswego County, New York. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 4. SUNY Oswego. Smith, Gerald A. and James M. Ryan. 1978. Annotated Checklist ofthe Birds ofOswego County andNorthern Cayuga County, New York. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin NO.5. SUNY Oswego. Weeks, John A. 1988 Guidelines to Environmental Management at Rice Creek Field Station. Rice Creek Field Station Bulletin No.6. SUNY Oswego Fosdick, Craig. R. 1995. The Birds ofOswego County: AnAnnotated Checklist. Rice Creek Field Station Bulletin No.7. SUNY Oswego Check Lists.(pocket Maxwell, George C. (undated), Birds ofCentral New York, Daily Field Check-List. Rice Creek Biological Field Station. SUNY Oswego. Weber, Nicholas, 1997. Field Check List ofButterflies. Rice Creek Field Station, SUNY Oswego Publication is out of print. Photocopies may be available on request. A fee will be charged.