Note from the Department Head
Dear FWCB Alumni, Friends, Students, and Staff—
As we step into a new year, looking back to appreciate the past year is for many, a satisfying thing to do. Whether it be milestones achieved, challenges faced and overcome, or good memories, this reflection often helps us put things in perspective, appreciate the people and circumstances that helped us move forward, and focus on where we’re heading. For the FWCB community some of these milestones are the highlights you’ve read about in our newsletter - degrees completed, careers launched, awards received, research advanced. A few of the good memories are captured in images from field courses and special events. We’re grateful for the people who supported us and our work and helped make all of this possible.
For the coming year, we’re looking forward to a major renovation of the Engineering and Fisheries Lab which will be transformed into a first-rate facility for aquatic invasive species (AIS) research. We’re also looking forward to the construction of the new Bell Museum of Natural History on the Saint Paul Campus. These new facilities are going to create a myriad of new opportunities for our research and teaching. The new aquatics lab will allow researchers to expand and accelerate research on aquatic invasive species such as carp, Eurasian water milfoil, zebra mussels and fish pathogens. The new Bell Museum has tremendous potential to enrich many of our courses and to offer more professional experiences for students interested in natural history education and citizen science. The close proximity of FWCB classrooms and offices to the museum’s new location on the corner of campus will make it possible to take full advantage of the Bell Museum once it is completed.
The AIS research lab and Bell Museum are moving forward in 2015 because of funding received from the Minnesota legislature. We appreciate the efforts of everyone who worked to secure this financial support, as well as those who are now immersed in the details of planning, design, and construction. I hope that a year from now we’ll be preparing the new lab for research, watching construction progress on the new museum (it will be in view from my office window), and taking stock of another productive year!
Best wishes to you for the coming year—and thanks again for your support of FWCB students and programs.
FWCB Department Head
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center held its first Research Showcase on November 19. The event, a day long program of talks and demonstrations, was attended by nearly 200 people from across Minnesota. The Center plans to make this an annual event.
On December 6 the Monarch Lab held the 18th Annual Insect Fair at Coffman Memorial Union. More than 300 K-12 students from all over Minnesota (plus some from Wisconsin and Virginia!) along with their families and teachers, gathered to share their insect and ecology-related research projects. Students described their research to scientists and peers and participated in break-out sessions on topics like insect defenses and insect products. Volunteers from the University of Minnesota and the greater community helped make the event a huge success.
FWCB student, Sarah Conway, was the emcee for the CFANS Thanksgiving Scholarship Dinner held on November 19 at the McNamara Center. This dinner celebrates the contributions of those who support undergraduate student scholarships. This year 46 students received scholarships!
FACULTY AND STAFF HIGHLIGHTS
New research findings by Adjunct Professor Dave Mech and Assistant Professor John Fieberg, suggest wolves have played a bigger role in the decline of northeast Minnesota's moose population than originally believed, and there's no evidence yet that climate change has been a major factor. The Star Tribune covered the story.
Professor Jim Perry’s article in Landscape and Urban Planning was selected as the Editor’s Choice paper. A summary of the paper, “Climate change adaptation in the world’s best places: a wicked problem in need of immediate attention,” is available here.
Congratulations to Olivia LeDee (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, ‘08) and Bruce Monson (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, ‘97) who were appointed adjunct assistant professors in FWCB. Olivia is a policy and planning analyst with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, responsible for integrating biological and social information for policy and decision-making related to harvested species and land management. Bruce is a research scientist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, involved in policy-relevant research and environmental review, with respect to mercury and emerging contaminants.
Congratulations to David Garshelis (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, ‘83) and Glenn DelGiudice (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, ‘88) who were promoted to adjunct professors in FWCB. Both David and Glenn are research project leaders with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. David leads research on bear population management and conservation. Glenn’s work focuses on the ecology and population dynamics of moose and deer.
Postdoctoral associate Seth Stapleton (Ph.D., Conservation Biology) and colleagues are developing new ways to monitor polar bears using aerial imagery and remote sensing. Seth recently returned from Churchill, Manitoba where he tested the use of drones as a way to expand the set of tools available for monitoring bear movements, habitat use, and conflicts with humans. Here are some links to news stories that covered his work over the past few months:
All FWCB undergraduates participate in the Summer Field Session to gain critical field skills and knowledge. The cost of attending the 3-week session held at Cloquet Forestry Station and Itasca Biological Station in August is a significant financial burden for many students. In addition to tuition (which cannot be covered by financial aid), every student pays approximately $1000 in course fees to cover costs of lodging, food, transportation, and supplies. With support from the Dayton Kirkham Scholarship fund, we can cover the fees for 25% of students who attend, or 10 students each year. We would like to be able do more: please consider contributing Summer Field Session scholarships. If everyone who receives this newsletter contributes $40, we can cover the fees for all students this summer!
To contribute to FWCB scholarships or research, please contact Sue Galatowitsch (612-624-3242, firstname.lastname@example.org), FWCB Head or Cynthia Cashman (612-624-7489, email@example.com in the CFANS Development office. More information about making gifts to the department can be found on the FWCB website.
Thanks to everyone who supported FWCB in 2014 with contributions to funds that provide scholarships, fellowships, research support and lectures. Your gift makes a difference!