Natural History Research

Information for Visiting Researchers:

Natural History Collections and Natural Areas

The Ohio History Connection welcomes research in our natural history collections as well as in our natural areas. Potential researchers should forward to the Natural History Curator a proposal that outlines the goals, objectives, and methods of the project. The proposal should include a discussion of which collections or natural area the research is intended to address. Potential benefits and impacts of the research must be discussed. This should include detailed discussion of any destructive sampling such as extraction for DNA, radiocarbon dating, collecting of specimens or tissues from specimens at field sites, potential trampling of habitat or any other impact to the collection item or the habitat. A brief vita or resume, including the credentials of the researcher and relevant publications should also be included. If the researcher is an undergraduate, a letter of recommendation from the supervising professor should be provided. Researchers will also be asked to send a signed, hard copy of our Protocol Acknowledgement by Researchers.

For natural areas managed by the Ohio History Connection, researchers need to submit a proposal even if their activity is limited to observations (bird surveys, butterfly monitoring, etc.). This is important not only for monitoring any off-trail hiking, but also to provide us with valuable scientific information to assist us in our land management and educational programs.

Each researcher is required to submit an annual report at the end of the calendar year detailing any observations and preliminary findings. For on-going research, a final report is required within six months of the end of the project. As noted in the Protocol Acknowledgement by Researchers, any reports, thesis or publication resulting from the work should also be copied to our office. We maintain a complete file of previous research at our sites and in our collections and this is a highly valuable resource for our own purposes and for other researchers.
Other details required for application are available in the Protocol Acknowledgement by Researchers. Proposals may be sent by e-mail to facilitate the process, but the signed copy of the acknowledgement must come by surface mail. 

To apply, or for more information, contact:
Robert C. Glotzhober, Senior Curator, Natural History, Ohio History Connection, 800 East 17th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43211-2474. Phone 614-298-2054. E-Mail:

NOTE: Archaeological Researchers need to refer to the instructions and information on the Archaeology Research page.

Pleistocene Database—Report Ohio Finds!

Several years ago Glotzhober met with a group of other researchers interested in logging together all records of Pleistocene animal discoveries from Ohio. This was intended to fill gaps, add detail, and add new finds to the records briefly listed by geologists Michael Hansen in his chapter on Pleistocene mammals in the 1996 publication Fossils of Ohio (see the publications web page of the Ohio Geological Survey at One of the goals was to have a single and quick way to pull up reference data either by species or county and this way help provide public information to the many queries several us receive, as well as providing a reference source for researchers interested in Ohio’s Pleistocene. The process is ongoing and slow as data is gathered from old newspapers and journals as well as new information which is constantly coming to light. Anyone discovering a new find, or aware of older finds in obscure places, is asked to contact Bob Glotzhober at 614-298-2054 or at

OHS Staff Recent Research

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).

Former curator Carl W. Albrecht wrote his PhD on skippers (family Hesperiidae), and was a co-founder of the Ohio Lepidopterists. This group was formed to provide a baseline survey of Ohio’s Lepidoptera. The group then worked with the ODNR, Division of Wildlife to produce a listing of state endangered and threatened species. The Ohio Lepidopterists continue to study butterflies and moths, and have since worked with the Division of Wildlife to produce a butterfly monitoring program which provides critical information on population changes within this group of animals. More information can be found by visiting the web site of the Ohio Lepidopterists.

Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). 

Senior Curator Bob Glotzhober has been working with Odonata since the early 1980s. He was a member at large of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas from 1994 to 1995. In 1990 he founded the Ohio Odonata Survey, which later morphed into the Ohio Odonata Society, for which he served as the first president. The survey mirrored the Lepidoptera survey, discovering to date 164 species of dragonflies and damselflies in Ohio and maintaining a database with more than 29,000 records of specimens, published records and photographic records.

In 1998 Glotzhober became a member of the Hines Emerald Dragonfly Recovery Team. The Hines Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) is the only federally listed dragonfly. He has been part of three different attempts to survey Ohio for this species – which was first discovered to science by OHS’s first curator of natural history, Dr. James Hine, in Logan County, Ohio. It has not been seen in Ohio since collected in the Oak Openings region near Toledo in 1961. Glotzhober and other members of the Ohio Odonata Society have visited many of the existing population sites in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri in an attempt to more fully understand the habitat types where it could be found again in Ohio.

For ten years beginning in 1996, Glotzhober studied the larval life history the Tiger Spiketail dragonfly (Cordulegaster erronea). This species inhabits tiny headwater streams in forested regions. Often these spring-fed streams are only one to two inches deep and six to twelve inches wide. Prior to his study, this species was listed as State Endangered. It was quickly discovered that while uncommon, the main reason so little was known about Tiger Spiketails was the heavily shaded, forested habitat with initially insignificant looking small streams which are home to the larvae. Glotzhober combined field studies of the larvae from spring through fall with a laboratory rearing project. The results were published in 2006 in the Bulletin of American Odonatology.