June/July 2018

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As we’re bringing another academic year to a close and sending off new alumni into the world, it’s a good time to think about everyone who contributes to FWCB. We have terrific faculty and staff who are essential for sustaining our productive research programs, linking our work to the broader public, and of course, teaching excellent courses and guiding our students through their various academic programs.
 
There’s one group in our FWCB community which is probably unfamiliar to many of you—our 28 adjunct faculty members. I’d like to tell you about the role of adjunct faculty in FWCB and why they are so important. At the University of Minnesota an adjunct faculty member is someone with a level of expertise and credentials similar to regular faculty member.  The adjuncts are appointed by the faculty to contribute to the department’s mission in some specific way, but are not regularly (if ever) employed by the department. At the University of Minnesota an adjunct faculty member isn’t the same as a temporary instructor. Our adjunct faculty typically hold appointments for many years and contribute in many ways.
 
This past year for example, eight adjunct faculty members taught courses, nine advised graduate students and eight were leads for FWCB-based research projects. Many more gave guest lecturers in classes, mentored students, or served on graduate student advisory committees. Generally, adjuncts do not receive a salary for their FWCB work. Having a highly engaged group of adjunct faculty is crucial for FWCB since we are a rather small department (18 regular faculty) with a diverse portfolio—fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology -- and limited funding.
 
To truly understand why adjunct faculty are so valuable, consider that nearly all have primary positions outside of academia and bring their real world perspectives to FWCB. For example, Adjunct Professor, Glenn DelGiudice, has brought many research projects to FWCB and has supported 7 MS and 2 PhD students who earned degrees.  His “day job” is with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) as project leader with the Forest Wildlife Populations and Research Group. Olivia LeDee, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Deputy Director for the US Department of Interior’s Northeast Climate Science Center, created and co-teaches our graduate course on professional skills in natural resources.  Adjunct Associate Professor Lou Cornicelli teaches one of our most popular undergraduate courses, “Human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife management”, while also serving as MN DNR’s Wildlife Research Manager. Adjunct Associate Professor, Dawn Tanner, has developed several courses, including our May field session and a study abroad course to Borneo, based on her conservation work with non-profit organizations in that country. These are just a few examples of the many remarkable contributions made by our adjunct faculty.
 
The FWCB adjunct faculty include many of the leading fisheries and wildlife professionals in the state and country. For example, two adjunct professors, Doug Johnson and Dave Mech, are Aldo Leopold Memorial Award winners, the highest honor bestowed by The Wildlife Society.
 
We are truly fortunate to have dedicated and talented adjunct faculty. Hopefully this short note has given you an appreciation for FWCB adjunct faculty and an awareness of how much capacity they add to the department and the university. Many thanks to our adjuncts for their past and continuing contributions!
 
Wishing you a pleasant summer with plenty of time at your favorite lake, forest, river or prairie!

 

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smiling manThe Annual Kolshorn Lecture and Awards Ceremony will be held September 20, 2018, from 5:00 - 8:30 pm, starting with Award Recognition on the St. Paul Campus and the Kolshorn Lecture at the new Bell Museum. This year’s lecture will be presented by Dr. Jonathan Losos of Washington University. Drawing from his new book, “Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance and the Future of Evolution ,” Dr. Losos explores recent research, including his own pioneering experimental work with lizards on Caribbean islands to reveal what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science: is evolution’s path predictable? 

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Kelsey Vitense (PhD Candidate, NRSM) was awarded a Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate School for her proposal "Shallow lakes in Minnesota: Can we predict the good, the bad, and the vulnerable?" Kelsey is advised by Dr. John Fieberg. These fellowships support students in their final year of dissertation writing. She also received a travel grant from the Council on Graduate Students to attend the Ecological Society of America Conference this summer to present her research. To top it off, Kelsey recently published her first dissertation chapter in Ecological Applications, “Uncovering state-dependent relationships in shallow lakes using Bayesian latent variable regression,” along with co-authors Mark Hanson, Brian Herwig, Kyle Zimmer and John Fieberg.

Ellen Candler (PhD, NRSM) was awarded a Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. With support from this award Ellen will be working with Dr. Shannon Barber-Meyer and Dr. David Mech of USGS to study how wolves adjust their space use during bear and deer hunting seasons. She will also be collaborating with Dr. Steve Windels and Tom Gable at Voyagers National Park utilizing some of their wolf location data. Ellen is advised by Dr. Joseph Bump.

Tom Gable (PhD, NRSM) received two fellowships to support his research, the Frank McKinney Natural History Award through the Bell Museum and the FWCB Wally Dayton Wildlife Research Award. Tom’s research is entitled, “Do beavers buffer moose populations from wolf predation?” Tom is advised by Dr. Joseph Bump and Dr. Steve Windels.

Anne Christianson (PhD Candidate, NRSM) received a student award from the University of Minnesota Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment, and the Life Sciences for her research, “Examining Ecosystem-based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation: The Intersection of Gender Capabilities and Biodiversity Conservation.” Anne is advised by Dr. Kristen Nelson.

The following graduate students recently completed degrees: Kaly Adkins (MS NRSM), Hannah Specht (PhD CS), Josh Poole (MS CS), Megan Tomamichel (MS CS), Sean Keogh (MS CS), Sami Nichols (PhD, CS), and Todd Froberg (MS CS).

Fifty-one FWCB undergraduates received their BS degrees at the CFANS Commencement held May 11 at Mariucci Arena. Nine students received special honors: Nicole Biagi (High Distinction, Summa Cum Laude), Jamie Horton (Magna Cum Laude), Ryan Keenan (Magna Cum Laude), Elizabeth McGraw (Magna Cum Laude), Blake Mitchell (Distinction), Emily Newman (High Distinction), Jennifer Running (Distinction), Cameron Swanson (High Distinction), and Aiden Winn (Community Engagement Scholar).

The Conservation Sciences Research Spotlight, organized by graduate students and held April 18th, offered poster sessions, a series of five-minute lightning talks and a silent auction. More than $4,300 was raised and will be used for student travel to research conferences and professional meetings. Thanks to Meg McEachran, Carli Wagner, and Mike Verhoeven who served as coordinators for the event.

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James Forester was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor with tenure. Dr. Forester coordinates the August Field Session, teaches a course on habitat and regulation of wildlife, and leads a research program on animal movement ecology and quantitative landscape ecology.

smiling woman holding fishGretchen Hansen, pictured left, joins FWCB this fall as Assistant Professor of Fisheries Ecology. Dr. Hansen’s research focuses on freshwater lake fisheries—how multiple stresses including invasive species and climate change are affecting fish populations and how this affects fisheries management.

Associate Professor, John Fieberg, co-led (with colleagues from Ohio State University and NC State University) a 2-day NSF-sponsored workshop in May on annotating animal tracking data, held at the NC Science Museum in Raleigh, NC. The videos of lectures, slides, and other products of the workshop are available on the website.
woman holding bird in fieldSushma Reddy, pictured right, will join the FWCB faculty and Bell Museum of Natural History this fall as the new Breckenridge Chair of Ornithology, overseeing the museum’s vast collection of over 46,000 bird specimens as well as a research program to further develop understanding of the avian tree of life.  Her research focus has been on the evolution and biogeography of birds in Southern Asia.

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Derric Pennington, was the invited annual lecturer for Miami University’s Institute on the Environment and Sustainability. Learn more about Derric’s work with the World Wildlife Fund and Natural Capital Project.

students sitting in a classroom in BorneoIn partnership with the Danau Girang Field Centre and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dawn Tanner, recently published her third conservation education workbook for elementary school students in Borneo. These workbooks lay out a curriculum to teach students about the ecology and conservation of key species—clouded leopards, sun bears, and orangutans.

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Hattie Saloka received the 2017 Wildlife Management Institute Administrative Excellence Award.  The award recognizes outstanding or extraordinary service by university personnel providing administrative services to a federal cooperative fish and wildlife research unit program.

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Jeff Nelson (’79 BS Wildlife) has been selected to receive the University of Minnesota - Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology (FWCB) Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018.  This annual award recognizes an alumnus/alumna who has attained professional distinction in fisheries, wildlife, conservation biology or related field as evidenced by outstanding professional achievement on a state, national, or international level.  Jeff worked for nearly 30 years with Ducks Unlimited in both the U.S. and Canada, including as Chief Executive Officer for DU Canada. He joined World Wildlife Fund as Deputy Director for their Northern Great Plains program in 2012, retiring this past fall.  
 
Olivia LeDee (’08, Ph.D. Conservation Biology) has been selected to be the first recipient of the University of Minnesota - Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology (FWCB) Early Career Alumni Award. This award recognizes an early-career alumnus or alumna of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology who has achieved outstanding accomplishments and is poised to make significant advancements in their field. Since completing her doctorate, Olivia has provided leadership for several key initiatives at the interface of natural resource conservation and climate change. Olivia is currently Deputy Director of the US Department of Interior, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

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FWCB’s successful undergraduate program, critical for training the next generation of conservation and natural resource professionals, is growing, now the fourth largest major in the college. That means our need for field teaching gear and student scholarships is increasing, too.  All programs at the U depend on private support to deliver outstanding student opportunities – that is truly the case for FWCB. Currently, we have an urgent need to replace an old electrofishing boat and to provide more scholarships for international and the summer field session. Your contribution can make a difference!

To support FWCB students, research, or departmental activities, please contact Sue Galatowitsch, FWCB Head, (612-624-3242) or Adam Nance, Chief Development Officer (612-624-7489). 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!

students in waders near a body of water