Tom Austin

Joined: Sep 29, 2016 Last Active: Jul 19, 2024 iNaturalist

I'm a Lowcountry naturalist looking to not forget what I already learned.

I work as the Land Protection Specialist for the Edisto Island Open Land Trust and got my B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson. I also volunteer on the board of the Carolina Butterfly Society and the SC Association of Naturalists. For species found in SC, I'm a jack of all trades and an expert, in some capacity, in three species: Intricate Satyr (Hermeuptychia intricata), Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) and the not-common-named Zagymnus clerinus.

My work on Zagymnus clerinus in SC:

My publication on the behavior, habitat, host plants and enhanced field identification techniques for Intricate Satyrs:
2023 Presentation:
Video Lecture:
Live County Distribution Map:

I currently have 3 ongoing projects:
I unofficially curate the Intricate/Carolina Satyr complex across the web in an effort to try and fill in all the obvious county record gaps for the poorly understood and chronically under reported Intricate Satyr.

I'm publishing a brick of a coffee table book about the flora and fauna of Edisto Island. It's a chronologically and phenologically organized tome that showcases 104 species of plants, animals, and fungi that I feel are either integral to the ecoregional landscape, inescapable or ubiquitous to Edisto Island during a certain time of year, or are under appreciated or misunderstood. If I don't go bankrupt on it I'll publish volume #2 and maybe even volume #3.

Lastly, I'm currently working to revive the integrity of the Sea Island Cotton cultivar. This heirloom cash crop was pivotal to the history of the SC Lowcountry and was thought extinct. Recently, several partially degraded genetic stocks have been found and secured by enthusiasts. I'm working collaboratively at the EIOLT to revive a Bleak Hall strain, which the USDA had in cryo-storage for 80 years and didn't even realize it.

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