Zoology Projects

Ongoing Projects

We are coordinating the New York Breeding Bird Atlas III, the state’s third Breeding Bird Atlas, from 2020-2025.

The Empire State Native Pollinator Survey is a three-year effort to determine the conservation status of hundreds of species of bees, flies, beetles, and moths.

NYNHP is one of the few Natural Heritage programs to have a marine component. Read here about the New York Bight Whale Monitoring Program, which we coordinate for the NYS DEC.

We have been fortunate to conduct literature review, field inventory, and subtidal inventory in and around Plum Island, a federally owned island off the North Fork of Long Island.

We are a member of the Steering Committee for the New York Mammal Survey, which is compiling known distribution data for all of New York’s terrestrial and freshwater mammals and filling gaps with field surveys.

With funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, we compiled location and biodiversity data on vernal pools all over NY and conducted field work to fill gaps, with an aim toward helping the state formally define significant examples of these small, important, and declining ecosystems.

Flower flies (also called hover flies) are important pollinators that have been long neglected. We are working with NatureServe and other partners in the Natural Heritage Network to compile occurrence data and rank flower flies throughout the Northeast US.

Following up from our Conservation of Northeastern Odonata project, we collaborated with others in the Northeast to conduct field surveys and develop a conservation plan for endemic species of bluet damselflies.

We surveyed the pollinators of Fort Drum Military Installation in 2019.

Older Projects

We helped describe a new species of frog, the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (Rana kauffeldi), from New York and 8 other states. Read the species description, which was followed by a 10-state study culminating in a report and a second journal article. Media coverage included NPR, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Going Green.

Going Green: New Frog Species
Going Green: Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog

From 2004-2010, we coordinated the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey, the first statewide attempt to assess the distribution and status of New York’s odonate fauna.

In partnership with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and ESF, we recently conducted an intensive, three-year survey of New York’s only population of the Northern Barrens Tiger Beetle. Contact Chief Zoologist Matt Schlesinger for more information.

Conservation of Northeastern Odonata: We worked with other biologists and odonate enthusiasts in the northeastern US to determine dragonflies and damselflies of regional conservation importance. This project led to a report (PDF, 1.3 MB) and a journal article.

With funding from the Sarah K. de Coizart TENTH Charitable Trust, we updated hundreds of database records through incorporating information from our backlog and through new field surveys. Our reports: Maintaining the Accuracy of Biodiversity Information for Conservation, 2014-2016 (PDF, 1.9 MB);

We used NatureServe’s Climate Change Vulnerability Index to determine the Climate Change Vulnerability of 119 animal species in New York.

We conducted field inventories to assess the distribution and status of the state’s rarest tiger beetles, culminating in a journal article (PDF, 513 KB).

From 2004-2010, we surveyed for rare amphibians and reptiles and made recommendations on standardizing protocols.

Projects with Zoology Contributions

Our Zoology team contributes to a variety of NYNHP projects. Here are some examples.

Statewide Riparian Opportunity Assessment

State Parks Biodiversity Partnership

State Forest, Forest Preserve Inventory and Ecological Support

Freshwater Conservation Blueprint

Surveys of NYS DEC’s Wildlife Management Areas

Wildlife habitat connectivity in the Hudson Valley. We contributed to the PATHWAYS project, which examined the effects of changing climate on habitat connectivity for 26 of New York’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need. This resulted in a journal article as well.

We contributed to an analysis of habitat statewide for Species of Greatest Conservation Need for the NYS DEC’s State Wildlife Action Plan. Read our report (PDF, 1.6 MB) (1st of 5 PDFs).

NYC community classification: We worked with NYC’s Natural Areas Conservancy to create a community classification for their ecological plot data. Read our report.

Oct. 15, 2020 | Updated Feb. 11, 2021, 9:53 a.m.