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Iowa Multiple Species Inventory Monitoring (MSIM) Program

Principal Investigator:

Stephen Dinsmore

Student Investigator:

Shane Patterson (M.S.)


Karen E. Kinkead, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Kevin T. Murphy, Iowa State University


July 2015 to June 2018

Funding Source(s):

Iowa Department of Natural Resources, State Wildlife Grant

Goals and Objectives:

  • Conduct MSIM surveys for birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, mussels, butterflies, odonates, and crayfish on 50 Wildlife Management Areas annually during 2015-2018.
  • Conduct MSIM surveys on 10-20 additional properties in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
  • Enter collected data into the MSIM on-line database, submit county occurrence records to the appropriate Iowa WAP taxonomic subcommittee, provide additionally requested information to the IWAP subcommittees as requested, and change database records as advised.
  • Analyze data using (but not limited to): Proportion of area occupied and species density (where applicable) using habitat variables from the field and/or GIS where applicable.



In 2016 the MSIM program employed 5 field crews of 4 technicians each (20 technicians in total) stationed in Boone, Ruthven, Mt. Ayr, Tripoli, and Iowa City. Fieldwork for this project began with training on 15 April and ended on 15 October 2016. The field season began with a training session at the Boone Wildlife Research Station on 15-17 April 2016 to prepare field technicians for the field season and familiarize them with the MSIM protocols. We completed surveys implementing MSIM protocols at 66 study sites across Iowa (Figure 1). This total includes the 50 traditionally surveyed “permanent” MSIM sites, 12 additional public lands sites, and 4 private lands sites in an effort to expand MSIM data coverage beyond only public lands sites. All species observed during surveys were recorded with special focus given the Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). All collected data were entered into the MSIM online database.

This effort includes more than 3000 wildlife surveys conducted on these study sites and approximately 375 survey-related tasks such as site setup and teardown. We encountered many noteworthy sightings in several taxonomic groups including Blanding’s Turtle (6 sites), Eastern Hognose Snake (2 sites), Smallmouth Salamander (1 site), Timber Rattlesnake (1 site), King Rail (1 site), Cinnamon Teal (1 site), Blue-eyed Darner (2 sites), and Four-spotted Skimmer (3 sites); Meadow Jumping Mouse was unusually common at 16 sites. In addition to these rare/uncommon sightings we also had some species detected at all study sites including White-tailed Deer, Common Green Darner, Eastern Forktail, Widow Skimmer, American Goldfinch, American Robin, and Mourning Dove (there were no species of reptiles or amphibians found universally across all sites).


Future Plans:

Field work will continue in 2017, beginning with a 3-day workshop in mid-April to train new temporary technicians prior to the 2017 field season. We will also continue with several analyses of MISM data with the goal of publishing it in the peer-reviewed literature. Priority topics include analyses of Monarch and herpetofauna site occupancy.

Funding Organization: Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Duration: 07/01/2015 to 06/30/2018