June/July 2016

Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Cohen

Dr. Janis Dickinson

Dr. Nicholas Phelps

Megan Tomamichel

Starry Stonewort Expert Panel

9523320313_e9313721d7_tNOTES FROM THE DEPARTMENT HEAD

Dear FWCB Alumni, Friends, Students and Staff-

Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Cohen wraps up his 33-year career as a FWCB Professor this summer.  Yossi joined FWCB in 1983, shortly after it became a department.  Over these many years, Yossi contributed his expertise in ecological modeling and quantitative analysis to a broad array of research initiatives.  He studied the effects of moose on Isle Royale, modeled walleye stocking for Minnesota lakes, investigated the impact of invasive fish on Great Lakes food webs, and explored the dynamics of desert ecosystems of Israel, to list just a few. 

Yossi's contributions have gone beyond addressing the immediate practical concerns of these research initiatives.  He has been dedicated to advancing our theoretical understanding of ecosystems and wildlife populations which can provide far-ranging insights for natural resource challenges worldwide.  Most notably, Yossi has worked for more than twenty years on mathematical frameworks for evolutionary ecology and population dynamics.

His body of published work includes more than 100 scientific papers and several books. Three of his books are outgrowths of his efforts to teach colleagues and students how to use quantitative methods to explore their own data sets: Statistics and Data with R: an Applied Approach through Examples (Wiley Press), JavaScript Cookbook (Wiley Press), and Fractal Attraction: a Fractal Design System for the MacIntosh (with L Kevin, Academic Press).

Many undergraduate and graduate students have benefited from having a world-class quantitative ecologist as their instructor. During his years as a faculty member, Yossi taught 7 courses including Biometry, Data Analysis with R, Geographic Information Systems and Ecosystem Analysis and Simulation.

We are fortunate to have had an eminent scholar in our midst, helping to shape FWCB into an academic unit highly regarded for strengths in quantitative methods. On behalf of the FWCB community, we wish Yossi well in retirement where he is sure to apply his considerable focus and dedication to new pursuits.

May you all have a wonderful summer--

9523320313_e9313721d7_tANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS

Mark your calendars for the 2016 Kolshorn Lecture and Awards Ceremony, which will be held on October 3, Saint Paul campus, 4:30-6 PM. This year's speaker will be Dr. Janis Dickinson, of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a research leader in citizen science and avian ecology.

On May 11, MAISRC announced a partnership with Tonka Bay Marina, the Brunswick Freshwater Boat Group, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to launch new research aimed at reducing the spread of invasive zebra mussels by recreational boaters. This is the first phase of a program to identify the primary ways people spread zebra mussels. Specifically, this project will examine the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) from "residual water" - water left in a boat after its operator has attempted to fully drain it. Dr. Michael McCartney, Research Assistant Professor-FWCB, will lead this research effort.

The next director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) will be Dr. Nicholas Phelps, Assistant Professor of Fish Health. Dr. Phelps, who has been based in Veterinary Medicine, will join the FWCB faculty and assume his new leadership role on July 1. He replaces Dr. Susan Galatowitsch, who will continue to serve as Professor and Head of FWCB.

9523320313_e9313721d7_tSTUDENT HIGHLIGHTS

Congratulations to graduate students Lisa Elliott and Jordan Rutter who were awarded Dayton Wildlife Research Fellowships to support their thesis/dissertation studies.

Graduate student Angie Les (PhD EEB) received an honorable mention in the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship competition.

Graduate student Megan Tomamichel (PhD Conservation Sciences) was awarded the Snieszko Student Travel Award from the American Fisheries Society to attend the AFS-Fish Health meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She will present her research, "Presence and possible consequences of Heterosporis sutherlandae in Leech Lake, MN."

Thirty-five FWCB undergraduates received their BS degrees at the CFANS Commencement held May 13 at Northrup Auditorium. Six students received special honors: Erin Arneson (Distinction),  Zachary Dickhausen (Distinction), Nicholas Gondek (Cum Laude), Treana Mayer (High Distinction), Zachary Peterson (High Distinction), Daniel Simpson (High Distinction).

During the past year, 6 PhDs and 9 MS students advised by FWCB faculty completed degrees:

PhD: Jennifer Biederman, Peter Hundt, Eva Lewandowski, Tricia Markle, Justin Meissen, Kate Wyman.

MS: Passanan Cutter, Lisa Elliott, Jonathan Jaka, Joseph Lechelt, Jason Papenfuss, David Pavlik, Kathryn Swanson, Roshan Guharajan, Hans Martin

Undergraduate student (and FWCB Club Vice President) Ryan Keenan and graduate student Bill Severud recently conducted a Celebrating Our Wildlife Conservation Heritage ( COWCH) Project interview with FWCB Emeritus Professor Dr. Peter Jordan. COWCH is a project initiated by The Wildlife Society with an aim to preserve "...the history and evolution of the wildlife profession by interviewing influential wildlife biologists, educators, managers, and other pioneers." The interview covered a range of topics, from Dr. Jordan's doctoral research on mule deer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to his seminal work on moose and snowshoe hare browse on Isle Royale. The videotaped interview will eventually be posted on TWS' website.

9523320313_e9313721d7_tFACULTY & STAFF HIGHLIGHTS

FWCB Assistant Professor/Extension Specialist and MAISRC faculty Dan Larkin convened a scientific panel for Minnesota's newest invasive species, starry stonewort. Seven experts from the US and Europe are gathered June 6-8 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum to synthesize what is known about this invasive algae and identify key research gaps that need to be addressed in order to support sound, science-based management.  A webinar at the conclusion of the working group was attended by over 140 participants from Minnesota and several other states. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the MAISRC website.

FWCB Professor Karen Oberhauser, one of the authors of a study published in Nature, says because farmers use more genetically-engineered crops and herbicides, the availability of milkweed has declined in the United States, causing monarch butterfly numbers to drop precipitously.  A summary of the paper, Quasi-extinction risk and population targets for the Eastern, migratory populations of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) is available at Nature's website and on Cool Green Science.

9523320313_e9313721d7_tSUPPORT FWCB!

Did you know FWCB leads the college in study abroad participation? Twenty-two percent of our students take a course or complete a semester outside the US. These experiences broaden students' perspectives, increase their awareness of conservation challenges in other parts of the world, and build their capacity to have an impact after they graduate. We would like more students to have the opportunity to study abroad. Providing scholarships for international study is the key to making this happen. Please consider contributing to our undergraduate fund dedicated to international scholarships.

To contribute to FWCB, please contact Sue Galatowitsch (612-624-3242), galat001@umn.edu), FWCB Head, or Cynthia Cashman (612-624-7489), cashman@umn.edu 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 makes a difference!