programs Endangered Species and the Economy

Research funded by Comptroller's Office

Subject University Summary of tasks covered by funded research Due date or status of final reports Contact
Aquatic Survey of the Delaware River Texas State University Conduct a survey for all fish, turtles and mussels living in the Texas reach of the Delaware River Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Black Rail
Laterallus jamaicensis
Texas State University
  1. Estimate nest and fledgling success, population change associate with anthropogenic factors.
  2. Evaluate population resiliency and residency of Texas coast populations
  3. Complete a range wide literature review
  4. Map locations of and population levels of Black Rail
Report Available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Black-Spotted Newt Notophthalmus meridionalis University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  1. Address range wide data gaps for species
  2. Refine model with habitat characteristics, natural conditions, and land management practices via a robust, range-wide survey
  3. Document repeatable environmental DNS sampling methodology
11/30/2020 Colin McDonald
512-936-8591
Bluehead Shiner
Pteronotropis hubbsi
Sam Houston State University
  1. Determine historic and current distribution along with habitat characteristics of Pteronotropis hubbsi in Texas, with a focus on Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake
  2. Study the ecological and life history requirements
  3. Develop models and maps that help identify distribution, important habitat and potential human activities that may impact the current status of the Bluehead Shiner in Texas
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Desert Massasauga
Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii
University of Texas at Tyler
  1. Conduct research studies to address the status of the Desert Massasauga rattlesnake, Sistrusus catenatus edwardsii, in Texas
  2. Analyze genetic structure of specimens to determine taxonomic status, especially compared with the Western Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus
  3. Assess population structure for identifying potential conservation units
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus arenicolus Texas State University
  1. Describe minor and major aquifers in the study area
  2. Investigate the occurrence of perched aquifers in the study area
  3. Assess historical trends in water levels
  4. Assess existing and planned uses of groundwater in the study area
  5. Model projected impacts to groundwater levels
Report Available Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus arenicolus Texas A&M University Determine the feasibility and best methodology for translocating dunes sagebrush lizards to establish new self-sustaining population and enhance conservation opportunities for the species. 12/31/19 Colin McDonald
512-936-8591
Freshwater Mussels (Central and West Texas) Texas A&M University
  1. Conduct surveys in the Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, San Antonio, Nueces and Rio Grande river systems
  2. Conduct genetic analysis on the Quadrula species
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Freshwater Mussels (Central Texas - Colorado, Brazos, Guadalupe) Texas State University
  1. Conduct surveys in the Colorado, Brazos, and Guadalupe river systems
  2. Study physiological responses to potential environmental stressors including temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, salinity and desiccation study
  3. Conduct environemtal flow anaylsis
  4. Conduct a mark-recapture study to examine mussel responses among seasons
  5. Determine suitable host fish, captive propagation of juveniles, and improved rearing techniques for juveniles
Reports available*
Final report 2/28/2020
Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Freshwater Mussels (East Texas) University of Texas at Tyler
  1. Conduct surveys in the San Jacinto, Trinity, and Neches river systems
  2. Conduct genetic analysis on Triangle Pigtoe
  3. Study physiological responses to potential environmental stressors including siltation, nitrogen and temperature
Report 1 available*
Report 2 - 1/31/19
Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Landscape Level Habitat Assessment for Desert Massasauga and Spot-tailed Earless Lizard Texas Tech University
  1. Create a habitat map that includes the distribution of all vegetation types and anthropogenic land uses for 2014-2019
  2. Validate habitat map with widespread field surveys
  3. Analyze habitat map and imagery for landscape-level habitat configuration, fragmentation, and connectivity metrics
  4. Compare the distribution of vegetation types and land uses across three time-periods at study sites representative of the species range in Texas
  5. Create an influence diagram for assessment of landscape change due to disturbances, invasive species, and conservation efforts
3/15/22 Chelsea Jones
512-475-5315
Louisiana Pine Snake
Pituophis ruthveni
Texas A&M University
  1. Summary of literature and evaluation of available data
  2. Sample historic range in Texas to determine the present range and estimated total population
  3. Assess habitat that supports P. ruthveni including current anthropogenic impacts on the habitat and suggestion on how to restore the habitat
  4. Analyze suitable, available habitats in Texas that could maintain P. ruthveni, including a determination of how habitat fragmentation would affect populations
  5. Identify potential threats to populations
Report available* Colin McDonald
512-936-8591
Monarch Butterfly
Danaus plexippus
Sam Houston State University
  1. Determine current status of monarch butterfly population in east Texas, including threats natural and man made
  2. Look at overwintering population in east Texas and dynamics of non-migratory group
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Monarch Butterfly
Danaus plexippus
Texas A&M University Commerce Pilot study in northeast Texas to look at the threats to monarch butterflies from imported fire ants Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Monarch Butterfly
Danaus plexippus
University of Texas at San Antonio
  1. Conduct roadside and site specific surveys for milkweed and monarch butterfly populations
  2. Do seed viability and germination experiments, greenhouse experiments with milkweed and field experiments to understand propagation of various milkweed varieties
  3. Organize outreach and education to share research developed through the above tasks and make presentations to the public about pollinators
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Plains Spotted Skunk
Spilogale putorius interrupta
San Angelo State University
  1. Review the current and historical records to establish past and present distribution in Texas
  2. Identify and quantify availability of priority habitat within range
  3. Complete surveys to verify existing population
  4. Conduct genetic analysis to determine population connectivity and general levels of genetic variation in Texas, describe variability across subspecies and determine if hybridization occurs

Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Plains Spotted Skunk
Spilogale putorius interrupta
San Angelo State University
  1. Conduct temporal and spatial analysis of home range dynamics, landscape level habitat selection, and microhabitat usage in the Katy Prairie ecosystem
  2. Evaluate species response to previous and current habitat management strategies
  3. Conduct maternal denning and daytime resting location analysis
  4. Evaluate cause-specific mortality and survivability between sexes, age classes and different habitat types
  5. Analyze density and relative abundance at survey sites and extrapolate findings across the Katy Prairie ecosystem
8/31/21 Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Prairie Chub
Machrybopsis australis
Texas State University
  1. Conduct surveys to review and quantify historical and current occurrences and abundances of Prairie Chub within the upper Red River Basin
  2. Quantify habitat factors at multiple scales and assess relationship with species distribution
  3. Determine population genetic structure throughout the range of the Prairie Chub and quantify the extent to which interspecific hybridization is affecting the gene pool
  4. Asses the effect of geography and habitat alternation on population genetic structuring, gene flow among populations, and the degree to which hybridization is occurring
  5. Quantify life history information including food habitats, reproductive periodicity, longevity, age groups and growth rates
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Rio Grande Cooter Pseudemys gorzugi University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  1. Estimate the presence of the Rio Grande Cooter and identify habitat association in the Rio Grande and Pecos River watershed.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of environmental DNA and drone-based surveys
12/31/19
Colin McDonald
512-936-8591
Spot-tailed Earless Lizard
Holbrookia lacerata
University of Texas at Austin Complete a viability analysis of the spot-tailed earless lizard across its range by conducting surveys, looking at genetics, distribution, diet, potential threats, behavior, morphology and historic collections 12/31/19** Colin McDonald
512-936-8591
Sprague's Pipit
Anthus spragueii
Texas State University
  1. Estimate change in the wintering population statewide over the past 10 years
  2. Examine the landscape-level land cover associations of Sprague’s Pipit
  3. Develop a temporal model of potential wintering abundance and distribution of the Sprague’s Pipit
  4. Conduct ground-based surveys
  5. Identify protected areas that currently harbor a substantial number of pipits
  6. Develop an efficient and reliable on-site survey method that could be used to survey pipit havens in the future
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Sprague's Pipit
Anthus spragueii
Texas A&M University
  1. Using previously collected surveys develop models of Sprague's pipit wintering habitat in Texas.
  2. Categorize the probability of grassland conversion, identify areas of concern and compare conservation costs to land values.
  3. Determine extent of Sprague’s pipit conservation efforts in Texas
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
Texas Kangaroo Rat
Dipodomys elator
Texas Tech University
  1. Conduct surveys and review historical information to understand distribution and abundance in Texas
  2. Quantify habitat characteristics
  3. Conduct genetic analysis
  4. Develop species distribution model
10/31/19 Colin McDonald
512-936-8591
Western Chicken Turtle
Deirochelys reticularia mairia
Texas A&M University
  1. Literature Review and synopsis of current understanding of Deirochelys reticularia miaria
  2. Range wide survey to assess current status of species
  3. GIS model of suitable habitat in Texas, which will identify habitat needed to support D. r. miaria populations in Texas
  4. Final report with conclusion on threats and recommendations on management of D. r. miaria, if needed, in light of knowledge gained from proposed research
Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676
West Texas Freshwater Mussels Texas A&M University Conduct research studies and address the status of freshwater mussels in the Rio Grande River drainage, including the Devils and Pecos rivers Report available* Melissa Salmon
512-463-4676

*Please contact the Comptroller's office for a copy of this report.
**Partial report available.