#25: Danielle Husband – Wetlands Systems, Playas, and Dragonflies!

#25: Danielle Husband – Wetland Systems, Playas, and Dragonflies! Nature's Archive


My guest today is Danielle Husband. Danielle (Instagram) is a graduate student studying dragonflies and damselflies at the McIntyre Lab at Texas Tech University. In particular, she is studying the west Texas playas, salinas, and urban catchments, and their suitability for odonates.

Danielle Husband in the field

Today’s episode is full of great topics. We discuss the importance of wetlands in general, and drill down into the specifics of the semi-arid environment of west Texas. The playas and salinas of west Texas are fascinatingly unique, and also play a critical role in the groundwater system of the Ogallala Aquifer.

The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest groundwater sources in the world, and critical for much of the United State’s agriculture. Aquifers are being drawn down throughout the world, and the Ogallala is no exception. Playas and other wetlands and waterways “recharge” these aquifers, but is it enough to offset the extraction? Danielle describes the challenges of recharge and aquifer depletion.

We then dive into Danielle’s primary area of research – odonates. She covers the basics of odonata life history, including some differences between damselflies and dragonflies. And did you know some dragonfly species are migratory? Danielle also describes how she constructed the odonate surveying protocol she uses in her field research, some of the interesting discoveries she has made, and helpful tips for naturalists to find and identify dragonflies.

It was a wide-ranging and fun discussion that I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Be sure to find Danielle on Instagram, too.

While you are welcome to listen to my show using the above link, you can help me grow my reach by listening through one of the podcast services (Apple, Google, Stitcher, etc) linked on the right. And while you’re there, will you please consider subscribing?

Links To Topics Discussed

People, Organizations, and Websites

Dragonfly Pond Watch Project – Monitoring program for migratory dragonflies that anyone with regular pond or wetland access can participate in.

Dragonfly Society of the Americas

Golden Gate Raptor Observatory

McIntyre Lab at Texas Tech University

Odonata Central

Books and Other Things

IUCN Global Wetland Outlook Report – from 2018

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West by Dennis Paulson – one of the best field guides I’ve found – a bit large for the field but worth it

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East by Dennis Paulson – the Eastern USA version of the above

Dragonflies and Damselflies: A Natural History – by Dennis Paulson

Ogallala Blue: Water and Life on the Great Plains – by William Ashworth

Playas of the Great Plains – by Loren Smith (University of Texas Press)

Urban Areas Create Refugia for Odonates in a Semi-Arid Region – by Danielle M. Husband and Nancy E. McIntyre

Note: links to books are affiliate links

Music Credits

Opening – Fearless First by Kevin MacLoed

Closing – Beauty Flow by Kevin MacLoed

Both can be obtained from https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/

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