The following are the oral presentations for the 2020 Jim & Katie Krause CNR Student Research Symposium. 

 FISH5O - Fish Communities and Distribution Following Restoration of the Pahsimeroi Subbasin, Idaho.

Fish Communities and Distribution Following Restoration of the Pahsimeroi Subbasin, Idaho.
Thompson Hill 

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Joshua Raabe, Ph.D.; Demitra Blythe

Abstract: The Pahsimeroi subbasin located in central Idaho is essential habitat for spawning and rearing juvenile Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and contains an array of native fishes. Native salmonids; Cutthroat Trout and Rainbow Trout, as well as invasive Brook Trout are the predators in the system. Forage species primarily consist of Sculpin and Redside Shiner. Idaho Fish and Game has undertaken large-scale restoration efforts in the Pahsimeroi subbasin since 2008. Bank stabilization, obstruction removal, and woody debris additions coupled with water irrigation limits have been utilized to improve stream bank structure and flows. My objectives were to determine if fish distributions and communities have changed over time following subbasin restoration efforts. Analyses focused on the Pahsimeroi River, Patterson Big Springs, and Patterson Little Springs sites that were the main areas of rehabilitation efforts. Habitat assessments measured flow and wetted width. Snorkel surveys accompanied with single and multiple pass electrofishing efforts were used to evaluate fish distribution and densities over time. The Pahsimeroi River displayed a significant increase (p = 0.01) in mean wetted width annually from 2015 to 2019. However, the average annual flow did not exhibit a significant increase (p= 0.10) from 2014 to 2019. There were no significant trends in annual density or relative abundance in salmonid and non-salmonid species from 2016 to 2019, but snorkel surveys indicated a four-year cyclical peak pattern for Chinook Salmon. Increased wetted width and flow could lead to improved access to redd and rearing habitat in tributaries. Chinook Salmon are affected by a multitude of variables that require additional research and documenting peak years may assist management with improving river conditions and regulations to protect strong year classes.

 FISH6P - Location and Timing of Spawning Brook Trout in the Little Plover River, WI

Location and Timing of Spawning Brook Trout in the Little Plover River, WI
Natalie Coash


PLEASE NOTE: This presentation has switched from an oral to a poster. Please judge accordingly.

Adviser(s): Joshua Raabe, Ph.D.

Abstract: Brook Trout Salvenius fontanalis is a native salmonid species within Wisconsin that require cold, high quality, flowing water. Brook Trout naturally reproduce in the Little Plover River, a groundwater-dominated stream in central Wisconsin, but experienced mortalities during low flows and dry reaches from 2005-2009 caused by drought and groundwater pumping. Recent efforts to improve watershed health and river flows include groundwater pumping changes, wetland restoration, and riparian and channel modifications. Understanding Brook Trout spawning locations (i.e., redds) and timing would aid in identifying important locations and time periods for restoration and protection. Therefore, we conducted weekly redd surveys in Autumn 2017-2019 by walking the main passage of the river and GPS marking observed redd locations consisting of at least two actively staging or spawning fish over a designated redd. We mapped redds in GIS and compared locations to estimated groundwater inflow data. Brook Trout spawned throughout most of the stream but redd locations varied by week and annually. In 2017, redds were denser in areas with higher groundwater inflows whereas in 2018 more redds were located upstream and at differing groundwater inflows. Varying redd locations could be due to differences in river flow, with much higher flows in 2018 and 2019 potentially influencing groundwater inflow or Brook Trout movement behaviors. Peak redd numbers occurred during the second and third weeks of November during all three years. This research provides valuable information on Brook Trout spawning behaviors and can be used to help ensure maximum benefits of restoration efforts and is part of an ongoing evaluation of the Brook Trout population and watershed restoration efforts of the Little Plover River.

 FOR2O - Floral Associations with Monotropa uniflora

Floral Associations with Monotropa uniflora
Ian E. Vierck & Ryan L. Esch



Abstract: Ghost plants (Monotropa uniflora) are herbaceous perennials native to the temperate forests of North America. With unusual, pale white stems and flowers, these angiosperms have abandoned chlorophyll, instead parasitizing nutrients and carbon from the symbiotic relationship between ectomycorrhizal fungi and photosynthesizing plants. Ghost plants are relatively specific in forming mycorrhizae,
usually partnering with members of the fungus family Russulaceae. As these fungi have integrated their hyphal networks with the roots of photosynthesizing plants, the possibility of a local, indirect relationship between ghost plants and other plants is open. Previous studies have attempted to identify such a relationship with questionable results, and none have looked for relationships with nearby understory species. We measured ten plots across the UWSP Treehaven property to explore potential associations between ghost plants and other plants.

 FOR3O - Longitudinal Analysis of Wisconsin Municipal Forestry Program Capacity and Effects of Assistance on Program Change

Longitudinal Analysis of Wisconsin Municipal Forestry Program Capacity and Effects of Assistance on Program Change
Ian E. Vierck


Adviser(s): Richard Hauer, Ph.D.

Abstract: The Wisconsin DNR urban and community forestry (U&CF) program offers assistance to communities in order to increase their capacity to manage their urban and community forests. Assistance is offered through funding to build capacity such as emerald ash borer management, public outreach, staff training, tree plantings, and other formats supported by the U&CF program. The Wisconsin DNR periodically assesses municipal program capacity through self-reported information. We used data from 2008 and 2018 to rank municipal program capacity using the Community Accomplishment Reporting System (CARS) method. CARS is a ranking system used by the United States Forest Service U&CF Program to rank community capacity. CARS considers whether or not the community has a management plan, the credentials of it's staff, if it has tree ordinances/policies, and if it has any advocacy/advisory organizations. Each attribute was given one point with  ranking score of 0-4 possible. We asked whether or not self-reported scores were different to CARS scores developed by states and reported to the USFS. We also asked if financial assistance had an effect on the CARS score. Finally, we asked if the CARS scores has changed over time.

 FOR5O - Quantifying the Value of Log Merchandizing at Timber Harvest Sites across Wisconsin

Quantifying the Value of Log Merchandizing at Timber Harvest Sites Across Wisconsin
Adam D. Wysocki


Adviser(s): Shuva Gautam, Ph.D.

Abstract: Forest products industries contribute significantly to the Wisconsin economy. However, the industry now faces significant challenges competing in the global marketplace due to various factors. It is generally understood that directing higher quality wood to its best use generates maximum value for all stakeholders. However, log sorting may be more critical in certain areas of the state than others depending on the geographical dispersion of forest stands and manufacturing mills. The objective of this study is to develop a method to evaluate the economic impact of sorting logs in harvesting operations based on market parameters and the spatial distribution of forest stands . An optimization model was developed to determine the best mill for each forest stand based on the products generated, stand's distance to a mill, and mills' acceptance criteria. Geospatial data for each forest stand was obtained from the Wisconsin DNR website. Pricing information was obtained using Timber Mart North Price Report. Mill information, including location, species accepted, and log types accepted was obtained from the Wisconsin DNR website. The distances between each forest stand to each mill were determined using the Origin Destination Cost Matrix tool within the ArcGIS Network Analysis extension. Several scenarios were tested, with each scenario yielding different volumes of various log grades. Each scenario was input into the optimization model to determine if the optimal solution changed based on the proportion of different log grades. Preliminary results and its implications to foresters, landowners, and mills in Wisconsin will be discussed.

 FOR7O - Tree Canopy Analysis in Wisconsin

Tree Canopy Analysis in Wisconsin
Bowen Li


Adviser(s): Richard Hauer, Ph.D.

Abstract: Trees are ecologically beneficial in our living environment. They provide habitat for insects and small mammals, reduce heat island effect in urban area through shading and evapotranspiration, and several other ecological services. From a landscape perspective, trees also make our cities beautiful. Therefore, it’s very helpful to know the proportion/the amount of area of tree canopy in a community. This study investigated tree canopy in Wisconsin communities. We completed a tree canopy assessment to determine tree canopy changed over time between 2018 versus in 2013. We also asked if a difference exists in classifying land cover types between humans and a computer-based artificial intelligence approach. We used 1000 random points for each designated community. Each sample location was classified into  seven land cover types: Herbaceous, Impervious, Bare Soil, Forest Land, Water, Wetland, and Agriculture Field. Based on preliminary findings, we found that computer-based artificial intelligence estimates of tree canopy were lower than human based estimates. Thus, we expect to find that human generated estimates will result in greater tree canopy cover. Findings from this study will be used to improve the estimation of tree canopy in Wisconsin and determine factors that explain tree canopy change over time.

 HD2O - Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts of Wisconsin Environmental Education Centers: A Case Study

Exploring Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts of Wisconsin Environmental Education Centers: A Case Study
Shannon T. Columb & Quentien Tyra 

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Kendra Liddicoat

Abstract: Over the past four years, the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education (WAEE) has engaged in a focused effort to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in its organization, its member organizations, and environmental education in Wisconsin. The primary goal of this research study was to take a deeper look at what Wisconsin environmental education organizations are doing and tell those stories on the WAEE website and elsewhere. Five illustrative case studies were selected through a short survey sent to a list of 137 individuals who had participated in WAEE professional development related to equity and inclusion or who represented organizational members of WAEE. The main data source was interviews with senior staff at each study site. Interview questions focused on current efforts, the impetus behind equity and inclusion initiatives, ongoing challenges, and valued partners in this work. The interviews were digitally recorded and analyzed for emergent themes. The researchers then worked together to write case study summaries for each site to be shared on the WAEE website. Similarities between sites included the importance of staff commitment in moving the organization forward, financial challenges as non-profit organizations with multiple priorities, and the importance of partner organizations that already provide services to diverse communities. The case studies are already being shared by the organizations profiled and by WAEE to inspire equity and inclusion work across the state. 

 WLDL140 - Leucopus and Latitude: A Look at the Whitefooted Mouse’s Relationship with Bergman’s Rule

Leucopus and Latitude: A Look at the Whitefooted Mouse’s Relationship with Bergman’s Rule
Conner A. Ties


Adviser(s): Christopher J. Yahnke, Ph.D.

Abstract: The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is your run-of-the-mill rodent. It can be found under kitchen sinks or under logs from Quebec to the Yucatan of Mexico and everywhere in between. Including the Southwestern, Midwestern, and Eastern states. With such a large range covering multiple latitudes it could be assumed that Bergman’s rule would play a factor in their body size. Bergman’s rule would mean white-footed mice being larger as you near the poles and smaller as you near the equator. Currently, only body length has been looked at for the white-footed mouse, showing a positive effect with latitude. Will body mass show the same positive effect? Or is body mass determined by other factors in the white-footed mouse’s environment, such as water availability? Doing so by analyzing National Ecological Observatory Network small mammal trapping data of 22 sites across the United States with varying latitudes over a three-year period.

 WLDL6O - Differential Timing of Migrating Northern Saw-Whet Owls Based on Age and Sex Groups

Differential Timing of Migrating Northern Saw-Whet Owls Based on Age and Sex Groups
Madison G. Fell, Michaela M. Meehl, Amanda Lang, Cole J. Suckow, Carter L. Freymiller


Adviser(s): Jason Riddle, Ph.D.

Abstract: The Northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) (NSWO) is a mesopredator within upland ecosystems. They will live as far north as central Canada and Alaska and will migrate as far south as central Mexico. NSWO’s migrate in fall from September until December, peaking around mid-October, and this species is relatively abundant in central Wisconsin during this time. Data for this project comes from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point student chapter of The Wildlife Society’s long-term saw-whet owl undergraduate research project. Data collection takes place at Sandhill Wildlife Area, a roughly 9,000 acre Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources property near Babcock, Wisconsin. Research has been occurring each fall from 2007 through 2019. Over 1,000 NSWO’s have been captured using call-playback devices and mist-nets and were banded using USGS aluminum leg bands. Wing and tail chords, weight, age, and sex of birds were recorded with each capture. Previous studies have found that juvenile diurnal birds of prey migrated significantly earlier than adults. This is due to adults attempting to remain on breeding territories for as long as possible, therefore delaying fall migration. We are interested in whether this trend also applies to nocturnal birds of prey, predicting that juvenile females will be the first to leave, while adult males will be the last. Statistical analysis will be used to analyze the age and sex distribution from the early, peak, and late migration season. 

  WLDL9O - Examining the Position of Ruffed Grouse Drumming Logs in Relation to their Home Range and How it can Affect Auditory Drumming Surveys

Examining the Position of  Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Drumming Logs in Relation to their Home Range and How it can Affect Auditory Drumming Surveys
Joe O. Quehl, Rachel A. Martin, Brady A. Roberts, Logan M. Cutler


Adviser(s): Jason Riddle, Ph.D.

Abstract: Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) are an important game species throughout the Great Lakes region. Males perform a unique drumming display atop fallen logs to attract females and maintain their territory throughout the spring. The act of drumming usually lasts from the end of April to the beginning of June. Due to the cryptic nature of these dense woodland birds, they can be difficult to survey. One of the most common ways to do so is during this time period using auditory drumming surveys. Which is much like a typical point count survey. We have been conducting auditory drumming surveys in northern Wisconsin since 2014. Our surveys last 5 minutes and utilize a double detection framework. We also have home range estimates of collared grouse throughout the property, which were created using ArcGIS Pro. We aim to compare the location of these home ranges to the locations of known drumming logs and orientation of drumming to determine the purpose of drumming i.e to attract resident females (drumming facing into their home range) or to attract other females (drumming facing outside of their home range), or communicate with other males in the area. With this information, we can use it to reform the auditory drumming survey techniques so that we can accurately sample an entire property.

 WLDL21O - Unique Characteristics of Greater Sandhill Crane Nest Sites in Horicon Marsh, Wisconsin

Unique Characteristics of Greater Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis tabida) Nest Sites in Horicon Marsh, Wisconsin
Nora Hargett


Adviser(s): Sabine Berzins; Jason Riddle, Ph.D.; Shelli Dubay, Ph.D.

Abstract: Horicon Marsh, Wisconsin is the largest fresh-water cattail marsh in the United States and is home to many migratory birds, including Greater Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis tabida) and as of 2019, 7 non-breeding Whooping Cranes (Grus americana). Currently, Horicon Marsh is being considered as a primary release area for captive-reared Whooping Cranes. However, little is known about the characteristics of crane nests in this unique wetland. To further understand the potential for a successful release of Whooping Cranes, this study investigated nest locations of Greater Sandhill Cranes in Horicon Marsh (n=14). Greater Sandhill Crane nest locations were more consistently concealed than random locations. The ratio of water:cattail differed significantly between nest locations and random locations and changed significantly with an increase in distance from the nest.  Examining nest site locations for Greater Sandhill Cranes can help identify the extent to which suitable nesting habitat for Whooping Cranes is available at Horicon Marsh. 

 Sex-Age Ratios of Savannah Elephants in Northern Botswana using Digital Photogrammetry

Sex-Age Ratios of Savannah Elephants in Northern Botswana Using Digital Photogrammetry
Nathanial J. Weisenbeck & Arthur T. Young

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Scott Hyngstrom, Ph.D.

Abstract: The biological carrying capacity of elephants in Botswana has been estimated at 50,000-55,000. The population was estimated at 131,600 in 2016. Overpopulation was in part due to a ban on hunting elephants in 2017-2019. After years of crop damage, environmental degradation, and loss of jobs, foreign currency, and a food source, the people of Botswana now look to enhance their lives because the ban on hunting has been lifted. However, Botswana currently is facing one of the worst droughts in years and people are concerned about a crash in the elephant population.  We conducted research to determine the growth rate of elephants in Botswana. We observed elephants along the Khwai river, Mababe depression, and Okavango Delta. We captured 1,153 pictures of elephants using a Canon EOS Rebel T5 at 55 and 250mm. We used photogrammetry in ImageJ to measure shoulder heights. The age of each measured elephant was modeled using age, sex, and shoulder height. We compared the percentage of calves, immature (1-11 years old), and adults to a stable state distribution. The calculated sex ratio of males to females was 1.05:1. We estimate that 66% of the elephants were immature and 34% were adults. It appears that most elephants were not living long lives, possibly due to low resources available and poaching. The population of elephants in Botswana likely will crash due to drought, starvation, and overpopulation. Hunting offers an opportunity to manage the elephant population, provide food and jobs to local villagers, and increase the economic viability of Botswana. 

 Factors Contributing to the Distribution of Schools with Solar Capacity in Wisconsin

Factors Contributing to the Distribution of Schools with Solar Capacity in Wisconsin
Emily R. Wagner

Presentation Not Submitted


Abstract: Access to affordable and diverse renewable sources of energy is an integral part of creating resilient communities. Schools across Wisconsin have been finding more ways to incorporate renewable energy as a source of decreasing overhead costs. Solar panels have been adopted by schools to cut energy bills, become more sustainable, and serve as a teaching tool in school curriculums.The objective of my research is to discover what factors influence the distribution of solar-capable schools across the state. I will investigate factors such as proximity to urban or rural settings as a means to expand upon issues relating to accessibility. I will evaluate how variables such as access to contractors and installers, grants, and other financial incentives vary depending on whether schools are set in more rural or urban contexts. This research will be conducted by analyzing information gathered about Wisconsin schools by Generation 180 that detail which schools incorporate solar in their energy systems as well as other information about costs, financing, and installation. I will assess geospatial information about the location of the schools with solar and perform a statistical correlation analysis. Based on this, I anticipate to find that more urban schools contain solar capabilities due to increased access to solar panel manufacturers and installers, federal grant opportunities, and receive more financial incentives for incorporating renewable technology in their energy systems. The broader implications of this research could help rural schools identify the barriers they face in gaining access to renewable energy tech while formulating strategies to overcome this barrier.

 Assessment of Abiotic Factors and Synchrony in Walleye Recruitment in Wisconsin Flowages

Assessment of Abiotic Factors and Synchrony in Walleye Recruitment in Wisconsin Flowages
Nathan J. Jaksha

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Joshua Raabe, Ph.D.; Tim Parks

Abstract: Walleye Sander vitreus is an important sportfish in Wisconsin as they provide commercial, tribal, and recreational fishing opportunities throughout the state. While some systems have recently observed declining trends in abundance and natural recruitment of Walleye, riverine systems continue to produce high-quality fisheries. Specifically, flowages within Wisconsin demonstrate considerably higher natural reproduction of Walleye and are important in providing productive fishing opportunities that may be absent or limited elsewhere. Understanding the factors that drive high natural recruitment in riverine systems is important for managers as they need to properly maintain these quality fisheries. We specifically examined the possible effects of various climatic and hydrological parameters on Walleye recruitment and age-0 growth in specific flowages. Trends in synchrony were also analyzed to further understand if Walleye recruitment variation is observed at a large geographic scale. Walleye recruitment data were collected by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) in various riverine systems (Wisconsin, Chippewa, Rock Rivers, etc.) throughout a large sampling period (1990s-present). Currently, preliminary results are being examined and will be presented within. Providing some useful insight into the factors driving Walleye recruitment in Wisconsin flowages can help guide managers in various agencies (WDNR, tribal agencies, etc.) to make informed decisions regarding riverine Walleye populations.

 UW-Stevens Point Campuses Perspectives Towards Climate Change and Sustainability Literacy

UW-Stevens Point Campuses Perspectives Towards Climate Change and Sustainability Literacy
Molly K. McGuire, Heidi A. Putnam, Jessycah S. Andersen

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Robin Rothfeder, Ph.D.; Dave Barbier

Abstract: Climate change is a global problem that will continue to have profound impacts on Wisconsin’s natural environment and human communities. Agricultural production, forest stewardship, and water resources are already being stressed by increasingly variable, unpredictable, and extreme weather events. At the same time, many of Wisconsin’s vulnerable and diverse populations are increasingly burdened by environmental risks, affordability challenges, and other quality-of-life impacts. Currently, many UW System campuses, including UWSP, serve as incubators for sustainable ideas and practices that help to combat the negative effects of climate change. However, little is known about campus constituents’ actual knowledge, awareness, and preferences on these issues. Where does UWSP stand on climate change today, and how does this influence the structure and success of our sustainability efforts? To answer these questions, in February of 2020, we surveyed UWSP students, faculty, and staff on the Stevens Point, Wausau, and Marshfield campuses. The results provide essential baseline data that helps to better understand our University and to guide future sustainability programming, reporting (e.g. AASHE STARS), outreach, and education.
​​ ​