February/March 2018

February 01, 2018

Dear FWCB Alumni, Friends, Students and Staff--

This fall we will be honoring our fifth FWCB Distinguished Alumnus at our Kolshorn Lecture. Visits from these amazing professionals who began their careers here at Minnesota, has been enriching for students, faculty and staff. Even more than learning about their impressive accomplishments, getting to know the professional journeys of our distinguished alumni has been inspiring. Journeys that are marked by dedication and perseverance, as well as setbacks and surprises. They’ve shared stories about themselves as college students—reminiscing about mentors, classes, and fellow students who made a lasting impressions on them. For faculty, these stories are a good reminder that how we teach and mentor can truly make a difference to individuals and even entire fields. For students, we hear that these stories are an impetus for thinking more about how to make the most of their opportunities as University of Minnesota students.


New in 2018 will be the FWCB Early Career Alumni Award that recognizes a recent alumnus or alumna of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology (BS, MS or PhD). The award honors outstanding accomplishments and is poised to make significant advancements in their field. Junior members of any group—professional or civic—can and do make distinctive contributions during this phase of their career. We want to honor our early career alumni who have already become “field shapers” and acknowledge the importance of their contributions in a relatively short time. Early career success is often a mark of both spunk and leadership, full of stories to celebrate. Meeting Early Career Alumni Award winners will be an incredible opportunity for current students, hopefully inspiring them while they are discovering their potential and exploring how they can make an impact.

Nominations are open for both awards until May 1, 2018. Details for both the Distinguished Alumnus and Early Career Alumni Awards are provided in this newsletter and on the FWCB website We will honor the awardees at our Kolshorn Lecture event to be held& September 20, at the new Bell Museum of Natural History.

Thanks in advance for your nominations for both of these awards. Sharing your perspectives on who is deserving of this recognition is much needed and deeply appreciated.

Best wishes—

Announcements & Events

FWCB is accepting nominations both the Distinguished Alumni Award and Early Career Alumni Award. The deadline for online submissions is April 15, 2018. All are welcome to nominate an individual for this award and individuals can self-nominate. Award winners will be recognized at the Annual Kolshorn Lecture on September 20.

  • The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus/alumna who has attained distinction as a professional in fisheries, wildlife, conservation biology or a related field, and has demonstrated outstanding achievement and/or leadership on a community, state, national, or international level. The candidate's education in FWCB should represent a significant portion of his or her total postsecondary education. Nominees cannot be a current member of faculty or staff or a sitting Regent, but retirees are eligible. This award may recognize an individual posthumously.
  • The Early Career 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. Nominees will have demonstrated excellence and potential for future excellence in one or several of the following areas: (1) research and discovery, (2) communication and outreach, education and pedagogy, (3) management and policy. The recipient must have completed a degree in our department (baccalaureate degree or their graduate degree from the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology) and have completed their terminal degree—whether at U of M or another institution—within the past 10 years.

We have a fantastic series of weekly lectures this spring in the FWCB-Conservation Sciences Spring Seminar, highlighting research and applications that span from Conservation Science to Conservation Practice. Seminars are Fridays at Noon in 335 Borlaug and feature U of M faculty and researchers from around the country. Come learn how extreme weather events impact bird populations, how alleviating poverty affects the environment, how we can conserve native freshwater mussels, and much more! See the full lineup and start planning your Fridays.

The Annual Conservation Sciences Research Spotlight Fundraiser will be held April 18 2018, from 5 PM - 7 PM, at the Cargill Building on the Saint Paul Campus. Join us for an evening of Conservation Sciences research and conversation over food and drink, all in support of the Conservation Sciences Graduate Student Travel Fund. The evening will feature student research talks and posters, a silent auction, and heavy appetizers and beverages will be served. We hope that you'll join us in our efforts to take student research beyond the walls of the University -- Please RSVP online.

The 2018 Natural Resources Association of Graduate Students Annual Symposium will be held on on Wednesday, April 25th, 9AM - 2PM, 105 Cargill Building, on the St. Paul Campus. The NRAGS Symposium is a student-led event designed to showcase natural resource work from across departments.

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center just marked its fifth anniversary. When MAISRC was founded, we knew that developing much-needed science to solve our AIS problems would not be easy or fast. But after only five years, we've made significant progress – solutions are within reach. Check out a full report on research findings, big wins, and the future of AIS research.

Student Highlights

Tom Gable, Conservation Sciences-Wildlife graduate Student (Joseph Bump, adviser) won the Best Student Paper Award at the 2018 Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society annual meeting, Feb 12-14, 2018, for the paper titled, "Do wolves ambush beavers from downwind hunting beds?".

Alex Franzen, FWCB undergraduate will be presenting his research, “Improving conservation of the federally endangered spectaclecase mussel with natural history research and host management recommendations” at the Annual meeting of the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee’s Mussel Coordination Team. The meeting will be held in Collinsville, Illinois in April. Mark Hove served as advisor for this undergraduate research project.

Faculty & Staff Highlights

Adjunct Faculty member, Dr. Gerald Ankley (EPA-Duluth) was chosen as a distinguished recipient of the Presidential Rank Award, the highest civilian career leadership award given to federal career employees with a sustained record of exceptional professional, technical, and scientific achievement. His career accomplishments include developing toxicity test methodologies for contaminated sediments, developing influential guidance documents used nationally and internationally for remedial decision-making, and leading national and international efforts to develop screening and testing methods for endocrine-disrupting chemicals, in response to legislative mandates. He has authored nearly 500 scientific publications.

Adjunct Assistant Professor Gretchen Hansen’s research on impacts to walleye populations from invasive species and climate change have been featured in several recent news stories, Clearer Mille Lacs water stirs questions, DNR Launches high-tech study of food webs in Minnesota’s largest walleye lakes, and Minnesota scientists dive deep to learn why walleye are stressed. These recently launched projects are taking a comprehensive look at food web changes in large lakes, such as Mille Lacs and Leech, and how those changes affect walleye and other game fish.

In Memoriam

Dr. Milton Weller, one of the "giants" in wetland and waterfowl ecology and a former professor and head of our department, passed away in December. Dr. Weller served as head just prior to FW and Entomology becoming separate departments. Dr. Weller’s pioneering research advanced our understanding of the linkages that exist between waterbirds, birds and their habitats. He published an impressive list of publications over four decades, including The Island Waterfowl, Freshwater Marshes, and Ecology and Wildlife Management, which are used throughout the country in wetlands courses at the college level.

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who supports FWCB with contributions to funds that provide scholarships, fellowships, research and lectures. Your gift truly makes a difference!