Habitat destruction | St. Louis Public Radio

Habitat destruction

Ben Jellen, an associate professor of biology at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, using a radio receiver to track a copperhead snake at Powder Valley Nature Center on August 30, 2019.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Only a few of the more than 40 snake species in Missouri are venomous, including the one Ben Jellen is looking for: the copperhead.

Copperheads have extraordinarily well-camouflaged bodies, which blend in with fallen leaves and branches. Although it’s the most common venomous snake species in Missouri, scientists know surprisingly little about its basic biology. Jellen, an associate professor of biology at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, is leading a small group of researchers who hope to learn more about this elusive snake.

Tim Schroeder holds a hatchery-raised pallid sturgeon bound for the Missouri River. The species, which can grow up to six feet long and weigh 100 pounds, was once common in the Missouri River.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Tim Schroeder is a little bleary-eyed.

He left South Dakota before sunrise and drove 10 hours straight to Missouri — with a few hundred endangered fish in the back of his pickup truck.

Schroeder, who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was tasked with delivering a load of pallid sturgeon to biologists in St. Charles. It’s part of a long-running partnership between federal scientists and the Missouri Department of Conservation to jumpstart recovery of the endangered fish species, which was once common in the Missouri and lower Mississippi rivers.