Research in the Phillips Lab
Illinois Natural History Survey
Population Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
Research conducted in my lab is in the broad area of population biology, especially the genetic, demographic, and behavioral parameters of populations of species -- in other words, life history or natural history. This includes traditional studies of single populations using capture-mark-recapture (via telemetry, visual surveys, trapping, drift fences, cover boards, etc.), but also documenting the distribution of genetic variation within and among populations (population structure) and disease dynamics, often-overlooked components of a species' life history. I am also interested in inventory and monitoring of populations, especially as it relates to issues of statistical rigor and design of protocols.
Specific projects that are currently being addressed in my lab include:
1) Population biology of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, Sistrurus c. catenatus, in Illinois. Sarah Wiley is currently conducting her dissertation research on the Eastern Massasauga.
3) The effect of ranavirus on pond breeding amphibians. This is Kelsey Low's dissertation project.
Terrestrial gastropods (land snails and slugs) are under-represented on most state lists of threatened and endangered species. This is especially true for Illinois where only one species (Iowa Pleistocene Snail, Discus macclintocki) is listed. Another 12 species are listed in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan as Species in Greatest Need of Conservation. At present, my investigations into terrestrial gastropods include the following specific projects:
1) Checklist and key of the terrestial gastropods of Illinois
2) Database of specimens of terrestrial gastropods of Illinois from major collections in the Midwest including geo-referencing and construction of a GIS layer.