Schauss' Swallowtail Butterfly Habitat Assessment
Mentor: Kevin Kalasz
Schauss' Swallowtail butterflies have a restricted range in south Florida and their population has been a focus of concern for many years. Working with Kevin Kalasz and Jeremy Dixon at Crocodile Lake NWR, student would collect data on the extent and condition of Schauss' host plants (wild lime and torchwood) at the refuge and develop a plan that would optimize availability of those plants to the butterflies. This project may not be completed during one semester but it is expected that a motivated student could accomplish a significant amount of the work.
Stock Island Tree Snail Assessment
Mentor: Shawn Christopherson
The Stock Island tree snail (SITS; Orthalicus reses reses, not including nesodryas) is an arboreal snail inhabiting the hardwood hammocks of the Florida Keys and Miami-Dade County. The most recent status surveys for SITS are a decade old. Updated range-wide surveys are needed to help determine the current status of SITS and other at-risk tree snails, as well as the distribution/abundance of the New Guinea flatworm (NGF; Platydemus manokwari), a newly identified non-native predator. The student would conduct range wide surveys of conservation lands to assess status and trends of tree snail populations. Considering location and time availability of the intern, the list of targeted lands would include Miami-Dade County preserves and private lands within Miami-Dade County where access has been granted. Other potential sites include Federal lands (Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades NP, Biscayne NP, Crocodile Lake NWR, National Key Deer Refuge), State lands (Florida Keys WEA, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical SP), and private lands within Monroe County where access has been granted. This information will help guide future conservation and recovery efforts: e.g., long-term monitoring, population/habitat management, NGF control, and listing decisions.