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2022 Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference

2022 Wildlife Diversity Conference - New Critters on the Block


Discover the New Critters on the Block - at the 38th annual Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference. Hosted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the conference will be held at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Union in Columbus on May 11, 2022.

Webinar Recordings

Thank you to everyone involved in putting together another fascinating Wildlife Diversity Conference this year! If you missed the live event, or if you'd like to revisit a presentation, please click to view the YouTube recordings below:

50 Years in a Ditch, I was a Teenage Astacologist  Roger F. Thoma

Circling Back To A Curious Nature  Nicole Jackson

Step by Step: Carnivores make a comeback in the Buckeye State  Katie Dennison

Mammals of Ohio: Surprising Diversity in Form and Function  John Harder

Walleye Movement 101: Using Acoustic Telemetry to Inform Fisheries Management in Lake Erie  Matt Faust

Wetlands for Water Quality: ODNR’s H2Ohio Program  Eric Saas

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Conference Agenda

9:00 | Welcome

9:15 | 50 Years in a Ditch, I was a Teenage Astacologist
Mr. Roger F. Thoma, Aquatic Ecologist Emeritus, Midwest Biological Institute; Research Associate, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

10:00 | Mean Ants on the Block: Thieving Neighbors and Unruly Houseguests
Rachelle M. M. Adams, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, Museum of Biological Diversity

10:30 | Break

11:00 | Circling Back To A Curious Nature
Nicole R. Jackson, Environmental Educator and Columbus Audubon board member

11:30 | Step by Step: Carnivores make a comeback in the Buckeye State
Katie Dennison, Wildlife Biologist, Ohio Division of Wildlife

12:00 | Lunch

1:15 | Reptiles: Hangin' Tough in Modern Ohio
Greg Lipps, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Coordinator, The Ohio State University

1:45 | Mammals of Ohio: Surprising Diversity in Form and Function
John Harder, Associate Professor, Emeritus Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University and Guy N. Cameron, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati

2:15 | Break

2:30 | Walleye Movement 101: Using Acoustic Telemetry to Inform Fisheries Management in Lake Erie
Matt Faust, Fisheries Biologist, Ohio Division of Wildlife

3:00 | Wetlands for Water Quality: ODNR’s H2Ohio Program
Eric Saas, H2Ohio Program Manager, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Conference Date and Time

The conference will be held May 11, 2022 at the Ohio State University’s Ohio Union in Columbus, OH. Please check this site for changes due to covid-restrictions.

Visit Over Lunch

We have a box lunch, (turkey sandwich, hummus wrap, or Italian sub, two sides, dessert, and a drink) on site for those who pre-register, $18.00. Ordering lunch is not available after April 27. We hope you’ll join us and take advantage of the opportunity to visit with other attendees and our speakers.


Ohio Union, 1739 North High Street, Columbus, 43210 (OSU campus). Parking is available at the Ohio Union South Garage, located on the north side of the building with access from High Street and College Rd. Please have $13.00 cash ready upon entry. The garage is attached to the Union and has 800 visitor spaces.


Roger F. ThomaRoger F. Thoma has worked as an Aquatic Ecologist with MBI since 2008, and worked on MBI projects since 2004. He was most recently involved in finishing a three-year study of the conservation status of eleven Virginia crayfish and the genetics of a Virginia crayfish species complex. Other recent research activity includes the conservation status of seven Tennessee crayfish. He worked as a Research Associate with the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University (OU), during which time he collaborated on numerous projects with MBI. This followed 22 years as an Environmental Scientist at the Ohio EPA working on the development of biological criteria (IBI-fishes) and a Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index for Lake Erie shorelines, as well as other water quality assessment methods. Past projects included a statewide distributional survey of Indiana’s burrowing crayfish with emphasis on select ecological components, life history studies of four Appalachian crayfish species, and conservation studies of numerous Ohio crayfish species and the crayfish fauna of the Flushing Escarpment. From 1990-1991 he served as a biological expert with US EPA in Washington, DC. He received a B.S. in Fisheries Management from Ohio State University. He has discovered and described sixteen new species of crayfish and is currently working on descriptions of five others he discovered during his research with MBI. Although now officially retired, Roger continues to work on his many projects with crayfish research, describing newly discovered species, and writing a field guide to Ohio’s crayfish fauna.


Rachelle M. M. Adams, PhDRachelle M. M. Adams, PhD is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. She leads an integrative research program that focuses on the symbiotic species networks of fungus-growing ants. Her work spans the fields of systematics to behavioral and chemical ecology. She aims to understand the evolution of traits that are central for stability of symbioses over ecological and evolutionary time scales. She has recently published reviews on parasites that manipulate ant behavior, chemical eavesdropping in ant associates, and the diversity of alkaloids found in ants. Dr. Adams has taught Ohio Ant workshops for naturalists and 5th graders and has plans to expand the community of ant enthusiasts across Ohio. She received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. from The University of Montana. Before arriving at OSU in January 2016, she held postdoctoral appointments at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.



Nicole JacksonNicole Jackson is an alumna of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences of The Ohio State University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation and has worked in different capacities throughout the past decade as an environmental educator, facilitator, and freelance consultant for various non-profit organizations across Ohio.

A nature enthusiast, park advocate and urban birder, Nicole has always had a strong bond with nature and its beauty since she was a young girl. In June of 2020, Nicole along with a small group of Black STEM professionals and students, co-organized Black Birders Week. The event was a week-long series of online events that highlighted Black nature enthusiasts and increased the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when engaging in outdoor activities.

In 2018 she joined the Next Generation Advisory Board of the National Parks Conservation Association. This Council of diverse leaders and advocates explore effective methods of engaging younger generations in national park advocacy and protection. Nicole is a new board member of the Columbus Audubon and hopes to engage more communities of color to enjoy the benefits of birding in their neighborhoods.



Katie DennisonKatie Dennison is a Wildlife Biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. As the furbearer biologist, she oversees monitoring and research for the state’s 16 furbearer species. Katie started her career working with domestic animals before a volunteer opportunity at Zion National Park sparked her interest in working in wildlife management. She went on to earn an M.S. in Range and Wildlife Management from Sul Ross University where her master’s research focused on using camera traps to evaluate mountain lion density and prey availability in the Davis Mountains of west Texas. Prior to coming to Ohio, Katie worked on various other carnivore and furbearer research projects in Texas and Wisconsin.



Greg LippsGreg Lipps has been the Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Coordinator for the Ohio Biodiversity Conservation Partnership at Ohio State University since 2014. Prior to this, he worked at The Toledo Zoo and became a contract biologist following the completion of his Masters in 2005. His work has taken him to nearly every corner of the state, conducting surveys and working with partners to implement strategies for the conservation and recovery of a wide range of species. Recent work has focused on Eastern Hellbenders, Eastern Massasaugas, Blanding’s Turtles, and Spotted Turtles, all of which have experienced declines in Ohio. Greg was a contributing author and editor of both the Amphibians of Ohio (2013) and Reptiles of Ohio (2021). He has held leadership roles in both the Midwest and Ohio chapters of Partners in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (PARC), and in 2017 was recognized with PARC’s Alison Haskell Award for excellence in herpetofauna conservation. A lifelong resident of Ohio, Greg resides in the Oak Openings Region of southeast Fulton County.



John D. HarderJohn D. Harder is Associate Professor Emeritus of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University, where he taught courses in vertebrate reproduction, mammalogy, and conservation biology. His research on the reproductive biology and ecology of mammals has focused on marsupials and has involved field studies in Ohio, Australia, Venezuela, and Amazonian Peru. John’s interest in mammalian diversity in Ohio stems from his early work in compiling the Ohio Mammal Database and from a statewide survey of small mammal abundance, diversity, and habitat associations on 31 study areas throughout Ohio. His talk will feature topics from his new book, Mammals of Ohio, coauthored with Guy N. Cameron, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati.



Matt FaustMatt Faust is a fisheries biologist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife at the Sandusky Fisheries Research Station, where his duties are primarily focused on the management of Lake Erie’s walleye and yellow perch fisheries. He is also involved with several ongoing acoustic telemetry studies aimed at improving fisheries managers’ understanding ecology of native and non-native fishes within the Great Lakes. Matt holds degrees from The University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and is currently pursuing his PhD at The Michigan State University, where his research seeks to inform and improve stock assessment methods currently used in the Great Lakes and beyond. Matt grew up in southern Wisconsin and spent his summers at the family cabin up north chasing for bass, pike, and musky.



Eric SaasEric Saas is the H2Ohio Program Manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The H2Ohio initiative is Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s multi-Agency, collaborative water quality effort to ensure safe, clean water for all Ohioans. ODNR’s role within H2Ohio is to restore wetland ecosystems and their natural capacity to reduce surface water pollution. Eric has been working for ODNR since December of 2019; prior to that he monitored surface water and modeled water quality at Ohio EPA for over a decade. He is a Muskingum University and University of New Hampshire alum. In his spare time he’s either homebrewing, gardening or off somewhere exploring the outdoors with his family.




Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp and Pin for Sale

Be the first to purchase your 2022 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp when you register for the conference. For only $12.00 (a 20% discount), order your stamp today and receive it at the conference. All proceeds benefit Ohio’s wildlife diversity.

About the Wildlife Diversity Conference

Ohio’s event is the largest single-day wildlife diversity conference in the country. The first Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference was held at The Ohio State University in 1985 with 40 people in attendance. In 2020, approximately 1,000 people attended the daylong event.

Stay Connected!

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Visit our new Find a Destination web page to find locations to hunt, fish, trap and view wildlife in Ohio.