October/November 2013

duck track iconNote from the Department Head 

Department Head, Susan M GalatowitschDear FWCB Alumni, Friends, Students, and Staff—

The past few months has definitely been “meeting season” for fisheries, wildlife and conservation biologists. Some of us attended national meetings (i.e., conferences) of major societies such as those held by the American Fisheries Society in Little Rock in September or The Wildlife Society in Milwaukee in October. Others participated in international conferences with a more specific focus, such as The Waterbird Society meeting in Germany or the International Bat Research Conference in Costa Rica.

Nearly every faculty member, post-doc, and graduate student in FWCB presents his/her research at national and international meetings every year. We consider them essential to our own professional productivity as well as to the vitality of the societies that allow us collectively to advance our fields.

That professional meetings continue to be central to our research enterprises is noteworthy, considering our increasing reliance on internet applications to connect with others and share information. The draw probably isn’t that it’s an opportunity to travel, considering that we spend much of our time at meetings in dark, windowless rooms listening to presentations. Over a thousand people gather annually for many society meetings because, with so many people completely focused on similar aims for a few days, it is possible to accomplish so much in a short period of time. Professional meetings are forums for emerging ideas, as well as opportunities to update colleagues on research results, introduce students to our professional communities, and to broaden our knowledge of the field. For 4 or 5 days, we choose among an often overwhelming number of concurrent talks, hoping for gems that will inform or inspire. We troll the corridors seeking out people we’ve always wanted to meet or people we only see at meetings. We make plans –to write a paper, to launch a research project, or to chart new directions for teaching.

At the close of a productive meeting, we are invigorated --spurred on to form new research collaborations, try new techniques, revamp lectures or even courses. It’s hard to image gaining this amount of acceleration via skype, google hangouts, or in any other way. So, we look forward to the next meeting –cobbling together travel funds for our teams and preparing symposia and special sessions. And, until then—we have new ideas to draw on and new colleagues to work with.

 Sue's signature

Sue Galatowitsch
FWCB Department Head

duck track iconFaculty and Staff Highlights

 photo of Bruce Vondracek and students

Bruce Vondracek (Assistant Coop Leader, photo on right), co-edited a book, Scientific Communication for Natural Resource Professionals, along with Cecil Jennings and Tom Lauer. The book, which provides advice to new natural resource professionals, is published by the American Fisheries Society.

Former FWCB Department Head and Emeritus Professor, Ira Adelman, received the 2013 Meritorious Service Award, awarded by the American Fisheries Society. Ira received the award at the Annual AFS Meeting held in Little Rock, Arkansas in September.

 photo of John Fieberg and daughter Zoe holding bear cubs

John Fieberg joined the FWCB faculty in September as an assistant professor of quantitative ecology. His research is focused the application of statistical and mathematical models to problems in ecology and natural resource management. Much of his recent work has focused on the analysis of wildlife telemetry data, with application to survival, home range, and habitat selection modeling.

John comes by way of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, where he worked as a wildlife biometrician for 10 years. Prior to that John worked as a fisheries biometrician at the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission in Olympia, Washington. John received his PhD from North Carolina State University. John is shown here with his daughter Zoe.

duck track iconStudent Highlights

In the past couple of months, FWCB graduate students presented research results at a wide range of national and international conferences. Here is a sample of their contributions (other authors listed only if students):

Jennifer Cochran-Biederman, Will French: Diet and Growth of Brown Trout in Southeastern Minnesota: Seasonal Patterns Across Two Years. American Fisheries Society, Little Rock, AR.

Jennifer Cochran-Biederman, Kate Wyman, Will French, Grace Loppnow: Improving the forecast for imperiled native freshwater fish populations through better reintroduction outcomes: Identifying the factors that influence success. American Fisheries Society, Little Rock, AR.

Mark Ditmer: Physiological response of free-ranging black bears to habitat features in a highly fragmented landscape. International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Provo, UT.

Kevin Heist: Predicting bat fatality rates at prospective wind farm sites using acoustic recorders. International Bat Research Conference, San Jose, Costa Rica.

Justine Koch: Recruitment dynamics of the invasive common carp in a Midwestern watershed: A population genetics approach. American Fisheries Society, Little Rock, AR.

Justin Meissen: Harvesting native tallgrass prairie seed for large-scale restorations: Are we changing our remnant plant communities through overharvest? Ecological Restoration World Congress, Madison, WI.

Sean Peterson: Influence of landscape composition on full-season golden-winged warbler productivity. The Wildlife Society, Milwaukee, WI.

Beth Rigby: Detection zones of simulated grassland birds: implications for bird surveys. The Wildlife Society, Milwaukee, WI.

Sarah Saunders: Age-specific survival and recruitment of piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) in the Great Lakes. The Waterbird Society Annual Meeting, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Bill Severud: Cause-specific mortality of moose calves in Northeastern Minnesota: Results from the First Summer. The Wildlife Society, Milwaukee, WI.

Seth Stapleton: Polar bears from space: Assessing remote sensing as a monitoring tool for Ursus maritimus. International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Provo, UT.

Kate Wyman: Black tern habitat in the North American Great Lakes region: a model validation study. The Waterbird Society Annual Meeting, Wilhelmshaven, Germany. 

duck track iconDepartment Events

The FWCB department launched its new web site in September. Check it out all of the new information here: http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/. Special thanks to Tomi Olayiwola, FWCB Administrative Specialist, who spearheaded this effort!

 FWCB web site screen shot from June 2013

The FWCB Department hosted a reception on September 26 for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Board of Technical Experts (GLFC-BOTE) that was holding an annual coordination meeting in St. Paul. The binational commission coordinates Great Lakes fisheries research, controls the invasive sea lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies. This was a great opportunity to introduce the GLFC and BOTE members to FWCB fisheries research and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and to learn more about current activities of the GLFC. A dozen FWCB students and postdocs presented research posters at the reception held on the Saint Paul campus. 

duck track iconGiving

Advancing approaches to conservation and natural resource management often begins by sharing new ideas and brainstorming ways to apply these ideas to practical problems. So, bringing experts to campus for special lectures and providing travel grants for students presenting at professional meetings are vital to FWCB’s education and research excellence.

Your contributions to the Kolshorn Lecture Fund, the FWCB Fund, or the Conservation Biology Graduate Student Fund can provide these important networking opportunities for FWCB students, faculty and external partners. More details on these funds and many others are described on the FWCB website (http://fwcb.cfans.umn.edu/make-gift).

If you would like to discuss giving to the FWCB Department, for these or other purposes, please contact Sue Galatowitsch (612-624-3242, galat001@umn.edu) or Cynthia Cashman (612-624-7489, cashman@umn.edu in the CFANS Development office. To all the individuals who contributed to FWCB in the past year, thank you!