NOTES FROM THE DEPARTMENT HEAD
This month we bid farewell to FWCB Professor Ralph "Rocky" Gutiérrez, the first faculty member to hold the Gordon Gullion Endowed Chair in Forest Wildlife. For nearly 50 years--15 of those at the U of M--Dr. Gutiérrez has researched game bird ecology, endangered species conservation, habitat ecology and sustainable wildlife management strategies.
Rocky has published more than 150 papers and co-authored several books and many technical reports. His collective body of work has advanced many aspects of avian conservation, but especially our understanding of the ecology of spotted owls and ruffed grouse. Rocky has received numerous honors for his distinguished research and service to wildlife biology, notably being recognized as a Fellow of both the American Ornithologists' Union and The Wildlife Society. He has received special commendations from the US Department of Agriculture and the US Forest Service for his research contributions. In 2015, Rocky was named 2015 winner of The Wildlife Society's Caesar Kleberg Award which recognizes sustained excellence in research.
Rocky's contribution to wildlife biology has included serving as a technical expert or advisor to numerous organizations. He served on the National Academy of Science's wolf and grizzly bear management committee, The Nature Conservancy's National Board of Directors, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Spotted Owl Recovery Team and was a Trustee of the Tall Timbers Research Station. Rocky also played a major role in shaping the future of wildlife management and conservation by training 44 MS and PhD students who now hold leadership positions in the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state natural resource agencies, conservation organizations and academia.
Rocky plans to continue pursuing wildlife research as an Emeritus Professor from his home base in northern California. His "pipeline" of projects and papers is sure to keep him on the forefront of wildlife biology for years to come. FWCB is hoping to appoint a new Gullion Chair of Forest-Wildlife in 2016. We are actively searching for a distinguished wildlife biologist to fill this important role. This endowed chair was established in memory of Gordon Gullion, whose lifetime research of Minnesota ruffed grouse greatly increased our understanding of the species and provided insights about the ecology of northern forests. Thank you, Rocky, for carrying on the legacy of forest wildlife research at the University of Minnesota and for your many contributions to field of wildlife biology.
Best wishes for 2016!
ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS
FWCB's Monarch Lab (led by Professor Karen Oberhauser) hosted the 19th Annual Ecology Fair on December 5, in Coffman Union (Minneapolis campus). Elementary and middle school students learned about the research process and share what they learn at this annual event. This year's fair featured 100 research projects, each prepared by teams of 1-6 students. The Ecology Fair is supported by the National Science Foundation, Minnesota Office of Higher Education and University of Minnesota Extension.
Lorraine Scotson (Ph.D. Conservation Biology), pictured left, gave the keynote lecture at the Advancing Bear Care Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, held October 28-November 1. Her talk was entitled, "Illegal trade in parts, bear farming and the conservation of wild bear populations in Asia." Lorraine gave the talk as a representative of the IUCN Bear Specialist Group Trade in Bear Parts Expert Team.
Kelsey Vitense (Ph.D. Natural Resources Science and Management) and Hannah Specht (Ph.D. Conservation Biology) received travel awards from the Biometrics Working Group of the Wildlife Society to attend and present at this year's annual meeting in Winnipeg. Hannah's talk, co-authored with her advisor Todd Arnold, was entitled "Estimating Occupancy While Accounting for Detection and Availability." Kelsey's presentation, co-authored with four others, including advisor John Fieberg, was entitled, "Uncovering State-Dependent Relationships in Shallow Lakes Using Bayesian Latent Variable Regression Models."
FACULTY & STAFF HIGHLIGHTS
David Mech (Adjunct Professor), Douglas Smith and Daniel MacNulty published a new book with University of Chicago Press: "Wolves on the Hunt: the Behavior of Wolves Hunting Wild Prey." View details here.
Andrew Simons (Professor) attended the iDigBio Summit V in Arlington in November. iDigBio is a large NSF sponsored project to digitize natural history collections around the country. They hold yearly summits to bring all the projects together to discuss progress and strategies for digitization of specimens. Dr. Simons is part of the Great Lakes Invasive Network team that is digitizing all specimens in genera that have representatives deemed invasive in the Great Lakes.
This year fifteen FWCB undergraduate and graduate students were matched with professionals as part of the CFANS Mentor Program. This is, by far, the highest level of mentor-mentee partnerships for FWCB. Many of our mentors are FWCB alumni-thank you! Our mentors work for 10 different organizations including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, local governments, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Conservation Society.
Mark Hove (YR, MS), FWCB Club Advisor, recently found a collection of old photos featuring club activities. Most are not well-labeled. Do you recognize anyone in the photo at the end of the newsletter? If so, drop us a line!
Occasionally we are asked why a department like FWCB, at a public university, needs private support. Even though declining support for higher education is well publicized, it might not seem that support is needed when media stories often highlight new buildings and administrative bloat. But the reality for FWCB is that we have more great students than we have scholarship funds and more great faculty members than we have modern labs. In fact, our department does not receive funds dedicated to "operating" - even the basics must come from revenues we generate from research, teaching, and private donations. That means we depend on your generosity to bring experts to campus for special lectures, to support more students and their research, and even to purchase research and teaching supplies and equipment.
To contribute to FWCB, including student scholarships, please contact Sue Galatowitsch (612-624-3242, email@example.com), FWCB Head or Cynthia Cashman (612-624-7489, firstname.lastname@example.org in the CFANS Development office. More information about making gifts to the department can be found on the FWCB website.
Thanks to everyone who supports FWCB with contributions to funds that provide scholarships, fellowships, research and lectures. Your gift truly makes a difference!