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


 FISH2P - Brook Trout Culvert Passage Success Within the Little Plover River, Wisconsin

Brook Trout Culvert Passage Success Within the Little Plover River, Wisconsin
Jason Lins

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Adviser(s): Joshua Raabe, Ph.D. 

Abstract: Unimpeded movement throughout streams is important for fish to complete different life stages. Road culverts can be a partial or complete barrier to fish depending on culvert dimensions, outlet drop (perching), water velocity, water depth, and other factors including species and sizes of individuals. The Little Plover River in Portage County, Wisconsin contains a naturally reproducing Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis population and flows through a single culvert at County Highway R. My objectives were to determine if Brook Trout passage success through this culvert was influenced by discharge, total length, or season. Brook Trout were tagged with 12 mm passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and total length was recorded during various electrofishing surveys. The passage was evaluated between May 2016 and October 2019 with PIT antennas at the culvert. Fish detections were matched with total lengths and discharge at the time of detection. Passage success did not display a significant relationship with discharge in either upstream (P = 0.078) or downstream (P = 0.054) directions in logistic regression analyses but did show an overall positive relationship. The relationship between lengths of individuals and passage was also not significant (P = 0.923; Figure 4). Passage success was significantly different depending on the season (P < 0.001) in a chi-square analysis, with noticeably high passage percentages in Fall and Winter. The County Highway R culvert does not appear to be a detrimental barrier to Brook Trout passage during normal discharge rates experienced during the study but could be impassable under low flows.

 FISH3P - Brook Trout Growth Potential, Size Distribution, and Diet Analysis in the Little Plover River, Wisconsin

Brook Trout Growth Potential, Size Distribution, and Diet Analysis in the Little Plover River, Wisconsin
Sam LaMarche

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Joshua Raabe, Ph.D.; Jered Studinski, PH.D.; Jeff Dimick

Abstract: Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are a species of concern for fisheries managers in across Wisconsin. The Little Plover River is home to a self-sustaining population of Brook Trout that has been affected by heavy agriculture and ground water usage in central Wisconsin. Diminished water levels caused sections of the river to run dry between 2005 and 2009. Mandated minimum flows were implemented
in early 2009 and watershed restoration efforts were completed in 2019 to increase flow rates. This focus of this study is to provide a better understanding of growth potential, size distribution, and analyze diet composition in the Little Plover River Brook Trout population. Three locations on the Little Plover River were analyzed from 2017 through 2019 using mark and recapture methods using passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags that were implemented in Fall of 2015 with continued marking through Fall 2019. Diets were collected at three locations that corresponded to three different riparian habitats (Forested, restoration, grasslands/agriculture), and were compared with driftnet
invertebrate samples. Asymptotic length was found to be 285mm (CI 258-334) with an average growth rate of 0.371 (CI 0.245-0.515). Proportional size distribution (PSD – % of fish >200mm) indicated increasing size structure from 2017 (14.5%) to 2019 (28.0%). Results suggest that although size structure is increasing, current size structure indicates a small proportion of fish are of harvestable size. Building a multi-year data set on diet could provide insight into a changing size structure and could indicate why differences at locations have been observed within the stream.

 FISH4P - Diets of Larval Walleyes in Northern Wisconsin Lakes

Diets of Larval Walleyes In Northern Wisconsin Lakes
Nathan J. Jaksha

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Adviser(s): Daniel Isermann, Ph.D.; Daniel Dembkowski

Abstract: Walleye recruitment has declined in some northern Wisconsin lakes and previous research has indicated that a recruitment bottleneck is occurring at the larval stage in some of these lakes. The availability of prey utilized by larval walleye could affect early survival and subsequent recruitment. However, current information on diets of naturally-produced larval walleye in lakes of the upper Midwestern USA is lacking. Identifying important prey for larval walleye is the first step in determining whether the availability of these prey may be a factor influencing recruitment. Consequently, we examined the diets of 100 larval walleye (typically 18 mm in length) collected from 13 northern Wisconsin lakes during 2016-2018. Lakes were either classified as sustained (S-NR) or declining (DNR) natural recruitment. Larval yellow perch, Daphnia spp., and calanoid and cyclopoid copepods represented the majority of diet items we observed. Larval yellow perch were more prevalent in larval walleye diets than expected based on previous literature. Larval fish sampled in the S-NR lakes contained a more diverse diet, however further statistical analyses would be required to test for significant differences.

 FISH7P - Using Genetics to Evaluate Survival and Growth of Leech Lake strain Muskellunge Stocked in Wisconsin Lakes

Using Genetics to Evaluate Survival and Growth of Leech Lake strain Muskellunge Stocked in Wisconsin Lakes
Thompson H. Hill

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Adviser(s): Wes Larson, Ph.D.; Kristen Grenthal

Abstract: Stocking of muskellunge Esox masquinongy is common throughout Wisconsin supporting fisheries that could not be sustained through natural reproduction. Most muskellunge stocked in Wisconsin derive from native broodstock, but the progeny of non-native broodstock have been stocked in some locations. Muskellunge derived from Leech Lake, Minnesota, have been stocked in at least four locations in Wisconsin: Lake Wissota, Petenwell Lake, Castle Rock Lake, and Lake Monona. Leech Lake muskellunge were stocked because they are thought to grow larger than native muskellunge from Wisconsin. However, a pilot study, which used genetics to assign muskellunge caught in Lake Wissota to their strain of origin, found that survival of Leech Lake muskellunge was poor. To determine if stocking of Leech Lake muskellunge in other Wisconsin systems resulted in similar survival rates, we genotyped muskellunge at 13 microsatellite loci and assigned fish to their strain of origin using previously collected data. Additionally, we used length and age data to explore growth rates of Leech Lake strain muskellunge stocked in Wisconsin lakes. Our research will lead to a better understanding of strain-specific survival and growth rates in muskellunge.

 FOR1P - Floral Associations with Monotropa uniflora

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

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Adviser(s): 

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.

 FOR4P - 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

Presentation Not Submitted

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.

 FOR6P - Tree Canopy Analysis in Wisconsin

Tree Canopy Analysis in Wisconsin
Bowen Li

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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.

 FOR8P - Wetland Seed Bank Comparison of Cattail-Dominated and Noncattail Areas at Lost Creek Wetland Mitigation Site

Wetland Seed Bank Comparison of Cattail-Dominated and Noncattail Areas at Lost Creek Wetland Mitigation Site
John P. Haas & Morgan P. Volbrecht

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Adviser(s): James Cook, Ph.D.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to compare wetland seed bank composition and density between cattail dominated and non-cattail dominated areas at Lost Creek Wetland Mitigation Site, Portage County, Wisconsin. The site includes vegetative communities shallow marsh, deep marsh, and wet meadow; upland and open water areas of the site were excluded. Soil samples were collected in October and November, 2019. Transects were selected in cattail dominated areas and non-cattail dominated areas, and 112 samples (56 from each) were acquired using a 1.9 cm soil probe. The soil samples were placed in a greenhouse and germinated under two moisture regimes with half of the samples grown in saturated soil and half with consistently moist soil. The total number of germinated plants were documented, and each species was identified when possible. Seed bank density totals throughout the study site were: from cattail dominated areas, 396 germinated plants occurred in saturated soil conditions, and 317 occurred in moist soil conditions. In non-cattail areas, 296 germinated plants occurred in saturated soil conditions, and 228 occurred in moist soil conditions. The presence of cattails at Lost Creek indicate higher seedbank densities and saturated soil conditions promote more germination. Cattails are often controlled and this study may signal greater need for obtaining seedbank characteristics to assess the seed bank contribution to recovery.

 HD1P - ​County Government Approaches to Protecting, Restoring, and Managing Wetlands

​County Government Approaches to Protecting, Restoring, and Managing Wetlands
Casey J. Olson, Hannah N. Keckeisen, & Michael J. Mills

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Adviser(s): Anna Haines, Ph.D.

Abstract: In the United States, counties use many mechanisms to govern wetlands within their jurisdiction. Wetlands play a major role in the world’s economic, cultural and ecological systems and are one of the many threatened natural resources world-wide. Several studies have examined wetland governance at state and local government levels, particularly in the US Northeast. In general, these studies find that local level management can be superior to a federal strategy alone. Governance can be defined as the “process by which the repertoire of rules, norms, and strategies that guide behavior within a given realm of policy interactions are formed, applied, interpreted, and reformed” (McGinnis, 2011). While we have some understanding of the formal institutions used by local governments, we have yet to understand the full range of formal and informal institutions (unwritten rules or processes) used at the local level. Two examples of informal institutions we asked about were, about the strategies county staff use with landowners to visit wetland sites and coordinate with land trusts. Informal institutions can play a large role in regulating wetlands and can go unnoticed when only formal institutions are examined. We aim to understand both the formal and informal institutions and the interaction between the two in creating a wetland governance system and how it differs across localities. Understanding wetland governance at the local level can help managers and policy makers develop and implement policies that efficiently and effectively manage natural resources. We are conducting a survey of county governments to understand the range of approaches to protecting, restoring and managing wetlands.

 HD3P - Solar School Capacity in Urban and Rural Regions of Wisconsin

Solar School Capacity in Urban and Rural Regions of Wisconsin
Emily R. Wagner

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Adviser(s): Annie Baker

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 the 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.

 HD5P - 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

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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.

 SOIL1P - Analysis of Key Soil Nutrients and Physical Properties on a Managed Grazing Operation in Junction City, WI

Analysis of Key Soil Nutrients and Physical Properties on a Managed Grazing Operation in Junction City, WI
Emily R. Yulga & Robert A. Doucette

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Adviser(s): Alyssa Gunderson; Daniel Keymer, Ph.D.; Robert Michitsch, Ph.D.; Jacob Prater, Ph.D.; Bryant Scharenbroch, Ph.D.

Abstract: Rotational grazing is an agricultural practice where livestock are moved between paddocks, and is often practiced because of its benefit to pasture quality and soil health. Our research objective is to assess the long-term soil health of a local rotational grazing operation by conducting a 20-year study on the physical and chemical properties of the soil. This study is conducted by the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point Soil and Water Conservation Society. Soil samples are collected every four years, the most recent collection in 2019. The rotational  grazing operation’s 17 fields were broken up into five-acre parcels, and grid points were allotted to each parcel. Soil samples (6” depth) were collected within 10 meters of each grid point at 63 sample points. The control field, which is not rotationally grazed, and the newly converted conventionally farmed fields were also sampled. Of the samples collected in 2015, bulk density was tested in 2015-16; in fall 2017 C:N ratio, total carbon, and total nitrogen were evaluated; pH was tested in spring 2018; phosphorus, potassium, and electrical conductivity analyzed in spring 2019; biomass yield collected in fall 2018-29; organic matter is to be analyzed spring 2020. Samples from 2019 have been tested for pH in spring 2020. Testing of 2019 samples will continue and conclude in 2023, and the fields will again be sampled.

 SOIL2P - Composting Deactivation of CWD Prions

Composting Deactivation of CWD Prions
Susanna Baker, Robert Michitsch, & Alex Thomas

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Adviser(s): 

Abstract: Through hunting, slaughtering, or ingestion of CWD infected cervids, exposure to specified risk materials is considered an exposure route to prions that might lead to infection. Prions cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases in animals and humans. The composting process has proven effective for the biodegradation of some recalcitrant organic contaminants, and the high number of microorganisms and high temperatures achieved during composting have prompted interest in this process for inactivating prions; however, the literature on survival of prions in composting systems is limited. Since thermophilic temperatures do not definitively cause pathogen reduction, multi-barrier approaches are employed to improve pathogen inactivation. As such, primary phase duration, C-substrate, compost water content, (an)aerobic conditions, drying, storage, antagonistic microorganisms, geosynthetic materials, NH3 evolution, and other degradation methods (eg incineration) have been used to establish an unstable habitat for pathogen survival. Compost piles offer or complement these different approaches, which may prove useful to degrade infectious prions.

 HD8P - What Does Drawing the Environment Tell Us About Environmental Attitudes and Awareness?

What Does Drawing the Environment Tell Us About Environmental Attitudes and Awareness?
Shannon T. Columb & Lexi Smiles

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Becca Franzen, Ph.D. 

Abstract: There are a lot of environmental issues and we need promote environmental literacy, the understanding of and motivation to improve the environment. Previously, an individual’s environmental literacy was measured through the use of a 90-question survey. Over the summer of 2019, we conducted research that measured environmental literacy and assessed the tool. Research was conducted at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station (CWES) and included summer campers between the ages of 7-12. Participants drew a picture of the environment and wrote a definition of the environment. Pictures were scored using a rubric that graded the pictures and definitions on the presence and interactions of four factors found in the environment – abiotic, biotic, human, and human built. Fewer than 25% of participants included human or human built items in their drawings. As a result, environmental educators should include humans and human built structures as part of the environment during programs. Additionally, it was concluded that drawings of the environment were a better representation of an individual’s idea of the environment than their written definition and that more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this potential environmental literacy assessment tool.

 WATR2P - Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Responses to Phosphorus Gradients on a Small Agricultural Stream in Northeast Wisconsin

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Responses to Phosphorus Gradients on a Small Agricultural Stream in Northeast Wisconsin
Abby Adams

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Adviser(s): Jeff Dimick; Jered Studinski, Ph.D.

Abstract: Heightened phosphorus levels are a significant problem facing Wisconsin waterways. Aquatic macroinvertebrate responses to phosphorus are known but need further investigation. Water quality monitoring data acquired from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay at Manitowoc provided the opportunity to examine aquatic macroinvertebrate responses to phosphorus levels. Phosphorus monitoring data was collected at North and South Branch of Centerville Creek in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Macroinvertebrates were kick-netted from three sites on each branch. Macroinvertebrate metrics trends were correlated against measured phosphorus concentrations and the effectiveness of
two differing family-level biotic indices were analyzed. The metrics tracked observed longitudinal phosphorus trends and Bouchard’s family-level biotic index showed increased responsiveness to changes in phosphorus compared to Hilsenhoff ’s family-level biotic index. Ultimately, it is valuable to understand the associated macroinvertebrate response so as to better understand and mitigate these pollutants in the future.

 WATR1P - Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Community Response to a Thermal Effluent

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Community Response to a Thermal Effluent 
Kiersten H. Czarnecki

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Adviser(s): Jeffrey Dimick

Abstract: Natural communities can be impacted by several factors, including physical and biological impacts. The magnitude of the impact may be mitigated in riverine systems as the distance from the impact increases. In this mixing zone, detrimental effects decrease, allowing for recovery of the macroinvertebrate community to near pre-impacted control observations. Thermal pollution to a cool water system altered conditions that resulted in a shift in the composition of the macroinvertebrate community. A thermal discharge into the AuTrain River, located in Alger County Michigan was sampled to determine if the site had been impacted. A control impact design was used to sample macroinvertebrates from two control sites, two sites located in the mixing zone. Analyses including taxa present, the percent composition, and specimen density were applied to determine if the natural community was affected by physical and biological impacts. Two sites located in the mixing zone were examined to determine signs of recovery in the macroinvertebrate community in the first mile downstream of the thermal impact. The scale of the impact may be mitigated as the distance is increased, and the macroinvertebrate community may return to near pre-impact conditions.

 WATR3P - Comparison of Two Headwater Streams of the Central Sands Region of Wisconsin for Neonictonoid Concentrations and Land Use

Comparison of Two Headwater Streams of the Central Sands Region of Wisconsin for Neonictonoid Concentrations and Land Use
Maxwell S. Hankard, Abby J. Dremel, & Dylan J. Franzke 

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Adviser(s): Paul McGinley, Ph.D.; Bill DeVita 

Abstract: Neonicotinoids are emergent organic contaminants which are applied at rapidly increasing rates as insecticides. These compounds enter surface waters through groundwater recharge and persist due to their hydrophilicity. Recent studies have shown neonicotinoids negatively impacting aquatic macroinvertebrate communities and EPA has developed acute and chronic aquatic life benchmarks. Dinotefuran, Thiamethoxam, Clothianidin, Imidacloprid, and Acetamiprid were the five analytes of interest in this study. This study evaluated the concentration of neonicotinoids versus the percent of agricultural land use in the watershed and land use was further partitioned by crop type in two headwater streams of the Central Sands region of Wisconsin (Ten-Mile North; Ten-Mile South). An additional watershed analysis compared groundwater and surface watershed contributions to determine the best correlation of neonicotinoids. Thiamethoxam and clothianidin exceeded the chronic aquatic life benchmarks at some sites. While at most other sites, concentrations of thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid were elevated but did not exceed aquatic life benchmarks. Dinotefuran and Acetamiprid were not detected. Land use evaluations of groundwater and surface watersheds did not conclude a definitive trend of neonicotinoid concentrations at the two study streams.

 WATR4P - Influence of Wetland Age on the Nitrogen Cycle

Influence of Wetland Age on the Nitrogen Cycle
Aimee E. Steinbrecher, Larkin R. Hoepner, Kasey R. Kiel, & Jess W. Stevens

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Kyle Herrman, Ph.D.

Abstract: Wetlands are among the most biodiverse ecosystems with large benefits to the environment. They have the ability to process, cycle, and remove nutrients through soil microbial activity and can be beneficial to environmental health. Wisconsin has lost nearly half of its original wetlands, causing mitigation banks to be used to preserve the value of ‘no net loss’ of wetlands. This study investigates mitigated wetlands ability to cycle nitrogen (N) at various ages and natural wetlands for reference. 19 wetlands were selected and divided between four wetland age categories. Each wetland was transected four times, where a bullet corer took four soil samples along each transect, twice. Microbial biomass, mineralization, denitrification, and bulk density were used to determine the wetlands nitrogen cycling abilities. Data are currently being analyzed with results to be discussed.

 WATR5P - Sorption of Monensin to Soil in Agricultural Runoff

Sorption of Monensin to Soil in Agricultural Runoff
Abigail G. DeMeyer

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Adviser(s): Paul McGinley, Ph.D.; William DeVita; Amy Nitka

Abstract: Monensin is an ionophore antibiotic that is widely used in livestock industries as an antiprotozoal additive and as a non-hormonal growth promoter in cattle. It does not digest well in animals and therefore, could be present in manure. As a result, monensin could be a useful indicator to help us track manure contaminations and determine the path of runoff from farm fields. The main objective of this study is to determine how much monensin stays sorbed to soil and how much goes into solution. Only several previous studies have examined monensin sorption by natural solids. We used those result to design our experimental soil to solution ratios. Mixing different masses of soil with solutions of known concentrations of monensin to determine the extent of monensin sorption to soil. Previous research suggests that the sorption reaction is rapid and after a day, the water was separated from the moist soil. Methanol, cyclohexane, and a citrate-phosphate buffer were all added to both the water and soil containing centrifuge tubes and sonicated. The cyclohexane layer was then removed, dried down, reconstituted and run on an Agilent 6430 Triple Quad LC/MS using nigericin (a similar antibiotic although not used in agriculture) as an internal standard and benzoylecgonine-D3 as a surrogate standard. The results are used to create sorption isotherms describing the relationship between monensin in solution and monensin sorbed to the solid. These isotherms can be used to identify the conditions.

 WATR6P - Unsuccessful Invasion of Zebra Mussels in a Riverine System

Unsuccessful Invasion of Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in a Riverine System
Kiersten H. Czarnecki

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Adviser(s): Jeffrey Dimick

Abstract: Natural communities can be impacted by several factors, including physical and biological impacts. While using a control impact sampling design to determine the impact of a thermal effluent on the aquatic macroinvertebrate community of the AuTrain River, Alger County, Michigan, the occurrence of Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) was noted. The Zebra mussels presented in large quantities near the entrance of the thermal effluent, raising concerns about the possible impact this invasion could have on the riverine ecosystem. Fortunately, not all introductions of an invasive species result in an established community within the ecosystem. Four sites located within a mile downstream in the mixing zone of the thermal impact were examined to determine the establishment of zebra mussels. The diminished abundance and lack of adult sized living zebra mussels suggested the mussels did not establish a viable population in my study stretch of the AuTrain River.

 WLDL2P - A Decade of Winter Home Range Size, Weight, and Fidelity of an Individual Hairy Woodpecker

A Decade of Winter Home Range Size, Weight, and Fidelity of an Individual Hairy Woodpecker
Nora M. Hargett, Amanda Lang, Mackenzie L. Whitney, & Megan A. Seidl

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

Abstract: Many wintering bird species occupy the Sandhill Wildlife Area (SHWA) in Babcock, Wisconsin. Hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus) are primary excavators that reside in upland woody ecosystems and can be found overwintering in the SHWA near Babcock, WI. The UWSP student chapter of The Wildlife Society has sponsored a student research project from 2007-2020 at SHWA. During this period hairy woodpeckers, among other species, have been captured to investigate home range size and fidelity during the winter months. One female hairy woodpecker has been captured continuously for 11 years. This bird (USGS aluminum band 902-63648) creates an opportunity to observe the fluctuations in individual home range size, weight, and fidelity over an extended period of time. This individual was trapped in a 31.5 hectare grid of wire tree traps and caught between January and March annually. Home ranges were determined using the Minimum Convex Polygon estimator.

 WLDL3P - Community Fluctuations in Bat Species of Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, WI

Community Fluctuations in Bat Species of Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, WI
Jonathon M. Sicinski, Erinn E. Kiesow, Hannah M. Klopotek, Parker J. Witt, & Aubree Hagen

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

Abstract: Bats are a fundamental component in Wisconsin’s ecosystem. All of Wisconsin’s bats are insectivores, helping to keep insect populations in check. This project uses ultrasonic acoustic recording devices to remotely monitor the bat activity in Schmeeckle Reserve. Remote acoustic sensors allow for observation of bat populations with no interference to their movements. Each bat species has a specific
call frequency. Over the past decade, Wisconsin’s bat population has been declining at an alarming rate. A likely cause of this is white-nose-syndrome. White-nose-syndrome (WNS). The pathogen is the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. It was discovered in North America in 2006 and grows on the noses and wing membranes of cave-dwelling bats. The fungus interferes with bat hibernation cycles and causes them to become active mid-hibernation. Because of this, bats deplete their stored energy, are exposed to the elements, and cannot survive the remaining winter months. Our study will look at 1.) Identifying False positives in the calls of various bat species recorded in Schmeeckle Reserve, Stevens Point WI. 2.) Using that given data to evaluate fluctuations in the bat community to determine the level of influence of White Nose Syndrome. Compressed data were first processed using CFCRead and then Kaleidoscope Pro for initial species analysis. Analook was used to separate the noise files from the initial bat identified files. Both Kaleidoscope Pro and Analook were used to verify bat calls through visual sonogram interpretation. Initial results show little brown bat activity in 2019 was similar to pre-white-nose syndrome levels.

 WLDL4P - Comparison of White-Tailed Deer Habitat use Areas During the Winters of 2019-2020

Comparison of White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Habitat use Areas During the Winters of 2019-2020
Kelsie B. Hayes, Jeffrey W. Edwards, & Mason T. Wheeler

Presentation Not Submitted


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

Abstract: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in urban environments present a unique challenge to wildlife managers. Movement patterns and resource selection vary depending on habitat availability throughout specific times of the year. This study analyses the selection for vegetation dependent on habitat of white-tailed deer during the winters of 2014 through 2020 in Schmeeckle Reserve, a forested habitat located adjacent to an urban interface. Deer were trapped using modified Stephenson box traps baited with corn. Selected deer were outfitted with VHF radio collars and ear tagged for identification. Currently, we are collecting data from 4 deer. We are in the process of collaring additional deer for this study. We are looking at vegetation selection dependent on winter severity. We will be using a chi squared test to determine the relationship between winter severity and habitat use. Data collection is ongoing and will continue until April 1, 2019. This analysis will provide insight to movement patterns of urban deer over the course of multiple wintering seasons.

 WLDL5P - 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

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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. 

 WLDL7P - Differentiating Bobcat from other Lynx Species Using Hair Characteristics

Differentiating Bobcat (Rufus Lynx) from other Lynx Species Using Hair Characteristics 
Krishna Parthasarathy, Kaleb L. Bolder, Stephen E. Van Horne, Kendra M. Potter, Henry W. Fielding, & Benjamin R. Schutt

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Adviser(s): Shelli Dubay, Ph.D.; Nathan M. Roberts, Ph.D.

Abstract: Bobcats (Rufus Lynx) are legal furbearers in Wisconsin, and 581 harvested bobcats were registered with Wisconsin DNR in 2018. Bobcat pelts bear a striking resemblance to other species in its genus Lynx. The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), one of the four major lynx species, is endangered with a population of 400-500 in southwestern Europe. To prevent poaching and unregulated fur trade of the Iberian lynx, Bobcats are considered as “look alike” species by the Convention on International in Endangered Species (CITES appendix IIb) due to their resemblance to Iberian lynx. The CITES agreement requires tags and documentation for bobcat pelts to be exported to ensure that only all pelts originate from a legal source. We aimed to identify differences in hair structure between the bobcat and other Lynx species (L. pardinus, L. canadensis, and L. lynx) to inform managers of potential methods that are easier when differentiating the species for CITES compliance. Utilizing samples collected from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for analysis, we will examine the color pattern and overall hair length. The color will be externally observed under a dissecting scope, and hair length will be measured using a ruler. We hope to determine if unique hair characteristics can differentiate lynx species.

 WLDL8P - Effects of Moon Phase and Position on Eastern Whip-poor-will Detection at Necedah Wildlife Refuge

Effects of Moon Phase and Position on Eastern Whip-poor-will Detection at Necedah Wildlife Refuge
Miranda N. Myli, Sean P. Burns, & Amanda C. Leemann

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Jason Riddle, Ph.D. 

Abstract: The Eastern Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) is a migratory nightjar native to eastern North America that has been decreasing in numbers in recent years. While once a commonly heard species across the eastern United States, they are not a well-researched or well-documented species. Theories on their steady disappearance from the landscape range from insecticides to loss of habitat to alteration of their overwintering grounds. Whip-poor-wills are nocturnal insectivores whose breeding ecology is strongly linked to moon phase. Their habitat range is widely varied, and Necedah National Wildlife Refuge was chosen due to its consistent records of the species on the premises. In the summer of 2019, data was collected at Necedah, and we are investigating the time of recorded entries with respect to the moon’s phase and location in the sky. We propose that detections of these birds are indeed linked to the phase and location of the moon. To conduct our survey, we used a modified version of the Wisconsin Nightjar Survey protocol. We are using our time of detection data to compare detection with the moon records for that day. The resulting information may be important for future surveys and researchers to get the most accurate detection data for this declining species.

 WLDL10P - Freshwater Mussel Abundance and Species Richness with Varying Substrate

Freshwater Mussel Abundance and Species Richness with Varying Substrate
Isabel Dunn, Luke Trittelwitz, Jessie Bielak, Andrew Mehus, & Madilyn Tokarski

Adviser(s): Shelli Dubay, Ph.D.; Katherine Clancy, Ph.D.; Daniel Graf, Ph.D.

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Abstract: Freshwater mussels are important members of riverine ecosystems and play crucial roles in improving water quality by filtering out bacteria, algae, and pollutants. Because of their relationship to water quality, they serve as valuable indicator species and suffer from environmental disturbances like pollution and impoundments. Despite their importance, large gaps remain in our knowledge of populations of freshwater mussels in Wisconsin. Previously in Portage County, freshwater mussels have been monitored by the specifications and guidelines of the Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Project by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, although some monitoring sites have not been surveyed since 1977. The data collected during these surveys are used around the country to help further knowledge and to create conservation management plans to aid the recovery of freshwater mussels. In addition to distribution and population patterns, we will determine relevant water quality parameters and their relationship to the distribution of freshwater mussels in Portage County at the four WDNR sites. We will acquire historic data from these sites and determine the relationships between water quality variables and distribution of freshwater mussels to compare to samples acquired in the future. We predict that sites of higher relative water quality will yield higher density and species richness. Analyses are ongoing, but we will compare the water quality parameters and freshwater mussel distribution by site and by year to predict the relationships we might expect to see in the future. 

 WLDL11P - Freshwater Mussel Species Richness and Population Patterns in Portage County

Freshwater Mussel Species Richness and Population Patterns in Portage County
Jessica L. Bielak, Andrew S. Mehus, Madilyn M. Tokarski, Luke C. Trittelwitz, & Isabel R. Dunn

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Adviser(s): Shelli Dubay Ph.D.; Katherine Clancy, Ph.D.; Daniel Graf, Ph.D.

Abstract: Freshwater mussels are important members of riverine ecosystems and play crucial roles in improving water quality by filtering out bacteria, algae, and pollutants. Because of their relationship to water quality, they serve as valuable indicator species and suffer from environmental disturbances like pollution and impoundments. Despite their importance, large gaps remain in our knowledge of populations of freshwater mussels in Wisconsin. Previously in Portage County, freshwater mussels have been monitored by the specifications and guidelines of the Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Project by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, although some monitoring sites have not been surveyed since 1977. The data collected during these surveys are used around the country to help further knowledge and to create conservation management plans to aid the recovery of freshwater mussels. We aim to investigate species distribution and population patterns of mussels in Portage County at four sites near UWSP to increase monitoring effort in the area. We will acquire data from these sites and determine baseline mussel abundance to detect changes in abundance over time. We predict that freshwater mussel populations at these sites will have decreased from the 1977 data due to declining environmental conditions. We also expect that density and species richness of freshwater mussels at the four sites in Portage County will be lower than previously recorded by WDNR. Analyses are ongoing, but we will compare mussel species and abundance by site and by year to determine what we might expect to collect in the future. 

 WLDL12P - Habitat Associations and Effect of Environmental Variables on Trap Success of Gray Squirrels in Schmeeckle Reserve

Habitat Associations and Effect of Environmental Variables on Trap Success of Gray Squirrels in Schmeeckle Reserve
Daniel W. Meyers, Tyler J. Vinopal, Noah W. Hazard, Maddie Hartlaub, Rebecca Funk 

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Adviser(s): Shelli Dubay, Ph.D.; Ben Sedinger, Ph.D.

Abstract: The eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is a highly abundant game species throughout the eastern United States and extends into southern Quebec and Ontario. Previous research in Sandhill Wildlife Area near Babcock, Wisconsin has shown that eastern gray squirrels were trapped more often early in the day during periods without cloud cover and also squirrels were captured less often when the sky was overcast. We aim to investigate environmental factors that influence trap success of gray squirrels in Schmeeckle Reserve, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, a more urban setting. We anticipate that weather patterns might not influence urban squirrels as much because of increased food sources and fewer natural predators in urban environments. We will trap squirrels in two sites in Schmeeckle and record sex, age, and weight, of squirrels. Squirrels will be marked with uniquely numbered ear tags. Additionally, we will record abiotic factors such as cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and temperature. Traps will be open when temperatures are between 0F to 35F and will be checked three times a day to reduce the risk of hypothermia due to snow melt. We will determine if squirrels are trapped more often under specific environmental conditions using multiple logistic regression. If we identify a relationship, we will compare the relationship with what was previously found to affect trap success in Sandhill. Also, squirrel hunters and wildlife viewers may be able to increase their chance of seeing or harvesting a squirrel if we identify when squirrels are more or less active.

 WLDL13P - Intensity of Liver Flukes in White-Tailed Deer During Wisconsin Hunting Season 2019

Intensity of Liver Flukes (Fascioloides magna) in White-Tailed Deer During Wisconsin Hunting Season 2019
Kelsie B. Hayes

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Adviser(s): Shelli Dubay, Ph.D.; Ross McLean

Abstract: The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the most commonly hunted game animal in Wisconsin. Liver flukes often are found in deer but rarely cause clinical signs of disease. However, deer with intense infections (large numbers of flukes per host) may have fewer fawns or antler points than uninfected deer. The life cycle of liver flukes begins when eggs are passed in deer feces and land in a wetland habitat. They are then ingested by snail intermediate hosts that pass the flukes into the environment where they molt into free-swimming intermediate stages and encyst on vegetation. Deer acquire the flukes while foraging on wetland vegetation, completing the life cycle. We hypothesized that deer harvested in natural forested and wetland habitats would have higher intensities of liver flukes than those harvested in farmland areas. We acquired deer livers from hunters during the fall 2019 hunting season. We counted the number of flukes in each liver and found that deer had from 0-33 flukes. A total of 61 livers were collected and 14 livers had liver flukes. Forty-seven were collected from the farmland zone and fourteen from the natural management zones. We conducted a two-sample t-test assuming unequal variances and found that the intensity of liver flukes was not greater in deer harvested in natural areas (P= 0.3547). Results may have been statistically insignificant because only 14 deer were harvested in natural environments or because deer harvest sites are not always indicative of deer home ranges overall.

 WLDL15P - Post-Release Movement and Behavior of Rehabilitated Orphan Black Bears

Post-Release Movement and Behavior of Rehabilitated Orphan Black Bears
Ashley M. Skalitzky, Jacob Bergstrand, Quinn A. Erdmann, Samuel D. Andres, Dan Ruka, & Hayden Walkush

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Adviser(s): Cady Sartini, Ph.D.

Abstract: Black bears (Ursus americanus) are one of the most charismatic species to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Wild Instincts, a rehabilitation center located in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, cares for orphaned black bears that were rescued. Eventually, they are released back into the wild. Our goal is to evaluate and compare the movement patterns of orphaned black bears after their release, to wild black bears. In October of 2019, two female yearlings from Wild Instincts were released in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The two bears had VHF collars placed around their neck in order to allow us to track their location conducting radio telemetry. Telemetry data points were then continuously collected after their release throughout the next five weeks until they denned up for the winter. In addition, Wisconsin DNR bear biologists have been keeping telemetry data on three wild black bears up in the national forest area. Using ArcGIS, we created a map of all the telemetry points obtained, to illustrate the movement patterns of the two yearlings from their release to their denning period, plus the established home ranges of the wild bears. We will continue to study the movement patterns of these two orphaned bears, as well as fellow wild black bears in northern Wisconsin that have GPS collars on them. Through monitoring the movement patterns of these bears, we want to determine if there is any correlation with orphaned bears developing the tendency to spend more time in close human proximity versus non-rehabilitated bears. The data and information we gather could be applied to making management decisions if orphaned bears show a significantly higher probability in being a nuisance, as well as whether it is appropriate to release black bears into the wild after being captured.

 WLDL16P - Relationship between Ruffed Grouse Seasonal Movement Patterns and Cover Type in Northern Wisconsin

Relationship between Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) Seasonal Movement Patterns and Cover Type in Northern Wisconsin
Brady A. Roberts, Rachel A. Martin, Joe O. Quehl, Logan M. Cutler

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

Abstract: Ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus) is an important game bird in the Great Lakes region. Males perform a unique drumming display atop fallen logs to attract females and maintain their territory throughout the spring. Following their breeding season, their territory may change as a result of altered needs. Our goal is to evaluate movement patterns of ruffed grouse in northern Wisconsin as part of a UW-Stevens Point Wildlife Society undergraduate research project. Throughout the spring season, male ruffed grouse were captured using mirror box traps and affixed with necklace-style VHF collars. Telemetry data points were obtained between March and August of 2019. In a previous study, we found variations in seasonal movement patterns between individuals but saw similar patterns in neighboring grouse. Because of this, we hypothesize that habitat may be affecting seasonal movement patterns as opposed to life-history events. We plan to examine land cover types in individual home range locations using Locate 3.11 and ArcMap. These aspects will be analyzed within ArcMap using the land cover data layer, which was obtained by Treehaven staff. We will continue to determine variations in home range size between spring and summer and relate it to land cover aspects. Using these methods, we hope to see whether ruffed grouse are utilizing particular resources and specific land cover types during different seasons. This information will be used to influence habitat management decisions on the Treehaven property and other ruffed grouse management areas. 

 WLDL17P - Selection of Nest Boxes by Cavity Nesting Waterfowl Based on Diameter at Breast Height in Mead Wildlife Area

Selection of Nest Boxes by Cavity Nesting Waterfowl Based on Diameter at Breast Height in Mead Wildlife Area
Elianne M. Heilhecker, Casey A. Kroening, Leah R. Bell, & Sean C. Mason

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Adviser(s): Ben Sedinger, Ph.D.

Abstract: Cavity nesting birds rely on nest boxes in areas where natural cavities are not available. In Wisconsin, specifically, the Mead Wildlife Area in Marathon County, Lophodytes cucullatus (Hooded merganser) and Aix sponsa (Wood ducks) use nesting cavities or boxes for their eggs; however, the use rate and the number of young produced may be declining. To help evaluate a potential factor, we are examining the selection and success of wood duck and hooded merganser nests based on the diameter at breast height (DBH) of the tree the box is affixed to. Data has been collected since the early 2000s at the Mead Wildlife Area by the UWSP Wildlife Society, but DBH was first collected this past field season. We check nearly 130 boxes in January and February by opening the boxes, removing, and examining the contents, and recording any type of use. Previous research conducted in central Minnesota concluded that wood ducks specifically did not use trees with a DBH less than 20 cm (Gilmer et al. 1978), and work is done by Bellrose, Johnson and Meyers quantified natural cavity dimensions, but little is know about the relationship of selection and success of a box based on the DBH. With this research, we hope to be able to add another factor to support science-based decisions on where to place nest boxes to be the most effective.

 WLDL18P - Sex Bias in Parasite Prevalence Infecting Bobcats (Lynx rufus) Harvested in Southern Wisconsin

Sex Bias in Parasite Prevalence Infecting Bobcats (Lynx rufus) Harvested in Southern Wisconsin
Kendra M. Potter, Henry W. Fielding, Kaleb L. Bolder, Stephen E. Van Horne, Benjamin Schutt 

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Adviser(s): Shelli Dubay, Ph.D.; Nathan Roberts, Ph.D.

Abstract: Bobcat (Lynx rufus) populations are increasing in the Midwestern United States, and trends are apparent in Wisconsin as well. As a result, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources opened up the entire state to bobcat harvest in 2013 and approximately 550 bobcats were harvested in 2017- 2018. Given the increase in the availability of bobcat carcasses, we aimed to use these animals to test the hypothesis that male bobcats would have a higher prevalence of parasites than females because males have larger home ranges and testosterone decreases immune system capabilities. Bobcats also serve as hosts for many parasites that are pathogenic or even fatal in other felines—including domestic cats—and humans. The parasites of concern that bobcats host include Cytauxzoon felis, Toxoplasma gondii, Giardia sp., Alaria sp., and Toxocara cati. We chose the Southern zone of Wisconsin because human population density is higher, possibly increasing the risk of parasite transfer from an infected bobcat to a human or a pet. The Southern zone has much more agricultural land cover, meaning more livestock and risk for introducing parasites, and slightly warmer climate which is more hospitable for parasites who cannot survive harsh winters. We acquired the heart, lungs, stomach, and intestines of approximately 95 bobcats that were trapped and harvested in the Southern zone of Wisconsin. These organs will be dissected and the parasites present will be identified and quantified. We will calculate parasite prevalence based on this analysis and use a Fisher’s exact test to determine if prevalence of parasites varies by sex.

 WLDL20P - The Effects of Salt Exposure on Osmoregulation and Mass in Freshwater Snails

The Effects of Salt Exposure on Osmoregulation and Mass in Freshwater Snails
Michael M. Meehl, Roiya Meyer, & Hal Edwards

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Adviser(s): Sarah Orlofske, Ph.D. 

Abstract: The use of salt to de-ice roads in the winter is common practice in Wisconsin and many other parts of the country. One consequence of road salt application is the significant run-off of the salt into freshwater wetland habitats. This runoff causes aquatic toxicity of chloride, which peaks in the months of November through April. This peak in chloride toxicity may alter the ability of aquatic organisms to regulate water balance, which may alter mass and other metabolic functions. A previous study done by UWSP students on freshwater snails (Helisoma sp.) indicated that long-term (5 – week) exposure to sub-lethal levels of road salt caused abnormal swellings and changes in the mass of the snails. We decided to extend that experiment with another genus of native freshwater snails (Physa sp.) to determine whether salt exposure would have a similar effect on their mass and osmoregulation. In a replicated regression design, we will expose individual snails (n=5 per treatment) to a range of salt levels (0.0, 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 ppt). We predict that the high chloride concentration creates a hypotonic environment for the snails and that the snails will retain more water than normal to counteract the osmotic changes in the environment. This study will contribute to our understanding of the impact ion concentrations have on invertebrate detritivores and their ability to regulate water balance and maintain other metabolic functions in the presence of chloride toxicity.

 WLDL22P - Using Acoustic Data to detect Fledging Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifungus) Populations in Central Wisconsin

Using Acoustic Data to detect Fledging Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifungus) Populations in Central Wisconsin
Jonathon M. Sicinski, Erinn E. Kiesow, Hannah M. Klopotek, Parker J. Witt, & Aubree Hagen 

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

Abstract: Little brown bats (Myotis lucifungus) mate during hibernation over the winter while in their hibernaculum. The sperm is stored within the female until the spring thaw when they awaken and begin hunting. Pregnant females create maternity or nursery colonies to maintain optimal thermoregulation which increases pup survival. Maternity colonies range in size from 20 to several hundred mothers and pups. In these colonies, the pups are born late June to early July. Once they are born, they attach themselves to their mother’s teat. The mother carries the pup for three weeks at which point the pups begin to fledge or fly independently. This means that the fledglings are usually airborne by August. We are able to determine the species of bat based on their call frequency that we collect using stationary ultrasonic microphones like the Anabat acoustic device located in Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and the SM4Bat microphone located at Wildwood Park in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Bat calls are processed using the Kaleidoscope Pro auto-identification software. During the analysis of these call frequencies, we specifically evaluate little brown bat calls and distinguish adults from fledglings based on frequency (average call frequency of 50 Kilohertz (kHz)) and pattern. Our study will evaluate the potential of fledgling detection using acoustic data. Based on the relationship of body size to pitch, we predict higher average frequencies in little brown bats during fledging.

 WLDL23P - Habitat Selection Modeling for Fisher in Central Wisconsin Using Home Range Data Collected by VHF Collars

Habitat Selection Modeling for Fisher (Pekania pennanti) in Central Wisconsin Using Home Range Data Collected by VHF Collars
Bradley J. Biegel, Nathaniel J. Weisenbeck, Josh D. Kivett, Ellen C. Peterson, & Sam Sodke

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Adviser(s): Cady Sartini, Ph.D.

Abstract: The fisher (Pekania pennanti) is native to forested landscapes within the central and northern regions of Wisconsin. It typically selects mature, contiguous, coniferous and deciduous forested habitat. This species was once extirpated from Wisconsin and is currently protected within the states of Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. It is also listed as threatened in California. The main goal of the Undergraduate Fisher Research Project is to create a habitat selection model for fishers in central Wisconsin, specifically within the George W. Mead State Wildlife Area. We will accomplish this task by live trapping and radio-collaring two fishers in the state wildlife area. Preliminary research will include camera trapping and baiting. Once collared, GPS coordinates of the fishers will be taken on a regular basis. This data will be analyzed using various geographic information systems programs. We hope to find that fishers select for an old-growth mixed deciduous and coniferous environment with a dense canopy. This habitat selection model will be used as a template for fisher management throughout the state of Wisconsin as research is lacking specifically on the habitat selection of fishers in the state. Habitat selection models can greatly benefit wildlife management decisions since they can predict the important resources that animals will utilize.

 Utilization of Woody Biomass from Wisconsin School Forests and Surrounding Areas as a Heating Source

Utilization of Woody Biomass from Wisconsin School Forests and Surrounding Areas as a Heating Source
Adam M. Christensen

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Adviser(s): Shiba Kar, Ph.D.

Abstract: More than half of 446 Wisconsin school districts have designated school forests that can be utilized for education, timber harvesting and possibly wood energy. Natural gas, a low-priced fossil fuel, is currently used as a primary heating source in many schools in Wisconsin even though nearly half of Wisconsin is covered in forests. However, natural gas prices have the potential to fluctuate rapidly in the long-term. This study investigates the potential of four Wisconsin public schools to use woody biomass as their main heating source and examines if their school forest and the surrounding forestlands offer a long-term sustainable fuel source. We selected one school from each of four distinct regions in Wisconsin that include oak/hickory forests of the driftless area, the sparsely forested area of southeast Wisconsin, the central transition forest and the northern forests of Wisconsin. We will utilize forest/school forest maps to calculate woody biomass surrounding each school in variable radiuses. Primary data* collected through recent school district surveys in Wisconsin will be used to estimate and analyze the heating demand and potential woody biomass supply of the schools in each region. Secondary data and case studies will be used to justify the primary data and findings. Expected results would showcase if there is a significant difference between regions in the potential for woody biomass to be used as competitive heating fuel. This study will provide the basis for further studies in the field of wood energy.

 Occurrence of Odonates in the Upper Mississippi River Valley 2013-2018

Occurrence of Odonates in the Upper Mississippi River Valley 2013-2018
Jaden J. Kerkhoff, Jar Xiong, & Ellen Peterson

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Adviser(s): Scott Hyngstrom

Abstract: Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) are one of the most fascinating insect groups on Earth, standing the test of time for over 300 million years. With the last survey of Odonata in the Upper Mississippi River Valley (UMRV) conducted in 1975, it was deemed important to conduct a new survey to investigate current trends. Our objectives were to inventory dragonflies of the UMRV and provide inference on species occurrence, relative abundance, and habitat associations. Citizen scientists conducted field surveys for Odonates in Navigation Pools 6 – 10 of the UMRV from April through October in 2013-2018. Annual reports contained the species, numbers, and comments about the more than 175 hours logged, and 2943 observed Odonates. We constructed a functional database that can be used to better record data in the future. As well as a recording of the endangered species present in the state.

 The Lucky Triple Samara

The Lucky Triple Samara
Ian E. Vierck

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Adviser(s): 

Abstract: The Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum, is a deciduous, monoecious, tree with broad, palmately lobed leaves and fruit which commonly comes in pairs with long, blade-like samaras. Although these samaras most commonly come in pairs, they have been observed to come in groups of 3, 4, and 5. After finding several triple-samaras, I became interested in the probability of finding these unusual groupings. I collected 484 samaras and discovered that there is a 1 in 50 chance of finding a triple-samara on sugar maple. To put this in perspective, you are 200x more likely to find a triple-samara than a four-leaf clover. Why is this unusual arrangement a statistically common occurrence? This is a mutation that occurs in the development of the flowers of the sugar maple. Interestingly, as of 2003, the maple family (Aceraceae) has been absorbed into Sapindaceae or the soapberry family. This change is important to note because most species in the Sapindaceae family have 3-carpellate ovaries, unlike the common 2-carpellate ovaries of the Acer genus. Although it is not commonly reported, the mutation in the number of carpels seems to occur frequently. Another question that presented itself during this project is: what would the germination rates be of seeds from the triple-samaras?

 Western States Land Commissioners Association Survey

Western States Land Commissioners Association Survey
Casey J. Olson, Hannah N. Keckesien, Michael J. Mills

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Robin Rothfeder, Ph.D.

Abstract: In the US, there are 21 states (including Wisconsin) that manage state-owned trust lands, which were granted by Congress at the time of statehood to support public education. In total, these state trust land agencies manage over 500 million acres of surface and mineral resources, making them one of the most significant (but least understood) land management entities in the country. The 21-member states are consolidated under one national organization to promote coordinated decision-making, policymaking, and management action: The Western States Land Commissioners Association (WSLCA). Their primary focus is on resource and real estate development, and there are great clarity and specificity about how each state pursues these activities. Much less clear, however, is if, and how, each state attempts to monetize public access on trust lands. Which states are doing so successfully, and through what mechanisms? What lessons might they offer to other trust lands agencies? The objective of this research is to answer these questions, generating insights for the natural resources field generally and for WSLCA member agencies specifically. These questions are important for several reasons, including the need for states to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility in trust lands management; the potential to increase revenues that support publication education; and the potential to better incentivize conservation- and recreation-oriented management by trust lands agencies. To these ends, this project will conduct a survey of the 21 WSLCA member agencies.

 The Influence of a Fire Regime on Small Mammal Diversity in Oak Savannas

The Influence of a Fire Regime on Small Mammal Diversity in Oak Savannas
Daniel K. Martin

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): 

Abstract: Prescribed fire can be utilized as a management tool to maintain habitat for wildlife in different ecosystems. These same ecosystems may also be maintained through other means, such as mowing. This technique simulates grazing from large roaming animals on the landscape. One ecosystem in central Wisconsin that was shaped by wildfires and grazing activities is oak savanna. This is a grassland that is sparsely dominated by an oak overstory. Historically, oak savannas provided prime habitat for important game species as well as smaller mammals. The main focus of this study was to trap small mammals in two different locations that were both oak savannas. However, they were previously maintained by two different techniques. One of the units was exposed to a seven-year burn rotation to simulate historic wildfires and the other unit was mowed to simulate grazing. Small mammals were present in both units which were dominated by the eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus) and the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus). In the unit with prescribed burning, we saw more small mammals and a more diverse range of the small mammals that were present. Small mammal abundance and diversity was affected by the use of fire for maintaining oak savanna ecosystems.

 Impact of Thinning and Burning on Carabid Beetle Abundance in Pine Stands in Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Impact of Thinning and Burning on Carabid Beetle Abundance in Pine Stands in Tomahawk, Wisconsin
Ian T. Corrado

Presentation Not Submitted

Adviser(s): Holly Petrillo, Ph.D.

Abstract: Carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) are used as indicators of forest management practices in North America because the ecological requirements of species are known, they are found across many terrestrial ecosystems, identification and sampling are simple, and they respond to changes in the environment. Carabid beetle response can be used to provide guidance for sustainable forest management. The red pine/mixed pine stand at the Treehaven Field Site in Tomahawk, WI was broken up into 24 1-1.5 acre blocks and thinning/fire treatments were applied randomly to the blocks. Stands were thinned to basal areas of 50 ft2/acre, 70 ft2/acre, 90 ft2/acre, or not thinned (6 of each). Burn treatments were applied post-thinning at 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-year spring burn intervals, 4-year fall burn interval, and no burn (4 of each). Every thinning level was paired with each burn interval totaling 24 blocks. Carabid abundance was measured with six un-baited pitfall traps in each block, which were open for seven days at a time for six weeks throughout the summer. Generally, disturbance treatments were found to increase overall carabid beetle abundance compared to the controls, with the intermediate treatments having the largest effects. Although species identification is needed for further insights on the effects of the burning and thinning, the data shows that carabid beetle abundance is significantly impacted by thinning and burning. Consistent with results from other studies, this study shows how thinning and burning intensity can have a sizeable impact on ground-dwelling invertebrates, which can significantly alter community interactions.

 Efficacy of a Bioacoustics-Pyrotechnic Approach to Dispersing Canada Geese

Efficacy of a Bioacoustics-Pyrotechnic Approach to Dispersing Canada Geese
Jaden J. Kerkhoff

Presentation Not Submitted

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

Abstract: The presence of Canada geese has been increasing in Stevens Point parks, creating potentially annoying and hazardous conditions for park users. The geese foul sidewalks and lawns with their feces and nesting geese may act aggressively towards park visitors. To mitigate the problem of nuisance geese, the City of Stevens Point hired a student and consulted with a wildlife professor from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to disperse geese from two city parks. Our objectives were to determine the total number of geese using the parks, the response of geese to bioacoustics and pyrotechnic frightening devices, and the attitudes of park visitors toward Canada geese. We walked the lengths of Pfiffner and Bukolt Park at sunrise and mid-afternoon from June through mid-July in 2019 and recorded the number of geese. When concentrations of at least 20 geese were observed in the park with a minimal public observation, we deployed recorded alarm calls of Canada geese through a 4-speaker GooseBuster acoustic system and hand-launched BirdBangers and BirdScreamers toward the geese. We monitored the response of geese to the disturbance and the time at which it took for them to return to the park. We asked 16 park visitors about their opinions on geese and management of geese in the parks. The use of the parks by Canada geese was relatively high and typically ranged from 50 to 100 geese per day. Most of the geese immediately dispersed from the bioacoustics and pyrotechnic devices in the morning but returned within 12 to 24 hours. About 85% of the public favored the removal of Canada geese from the parks. In the future, additional methods, such as oiling of eggs, roundups, and habitat modification, should be used with frightening devices to manage nuisance Canada geese in Stevens Point parks.

 ​Assessing the Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change of Wisconsin Great Lakes Counties

​Assessing the Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change of Wisconsin Great Lakes Counties
Josh Norman

Presentation Not Submitted


Adviser(s): Anna Haines, Ph.D.

Abstract: Climate change is a phenomenon that is acutely distressing communities around the world. An emerging field of planning called climate change adaptation (CCA) has brought about methods for professional planners to mitigate the risks to the changing climate by proactively planning for them. This involves understanding the communities’ vulnerabilities, and resolving how to ensure that the viability and health of said communities will be protected in the long term. Effective CCA also includes the inclusion of diverse and under-represented communities so that the benefits of adaptation are spread equitably throughout a community. That being said, this study assessed the adaptive capacity of the 15 Wisconsin counties that border the Great Lakes, plus three regional planning commissions in those jurisdictions. Results show that the counties have some capacity for adapting to climate change, but there are significant barriers in the way of creating a cohesive CCA plan. Barriers included funding, lack of staff, and lack of local government prioritization. Solutions to these issues are then elaborated on and conclusions are drawn as to the future of CCA on the coasts of the Great Lakes in Wisconsin.

 Using Fish Communities to Assess Health of Minnesota Lakes Relative to Land Use and Geography

Using Fish Communities to Assess Health of Minnesota Lakes Relative to Land Use and Geography
Joshua J. Fluur

Presentation Not Submitted

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

Abstract: As aquatic systems diminish worldwide, it is imperative that we have the proper tools to assess lake health and identify potential stressors so that we may properly manage them. To do this we must determine which factors have the largest impact on lake health. Using watersheds in the Mississippi River Drainage Basin in Minnesota, I wanted to examine how development within northern and southern watersheds affected lake health, as well as how watershed level land use and how shoreline development relates to lake health. To examine these relationships, I compiled data using the Watershed Health Assessment Framework (WHAF), fish-based IBI survey data, and shoreline development survey data from the Minnesota DNR. I found that the lakes in the northern watersheds were significantly higher (p=0.00045) than those in the southern watersheds. I also found multiple significant relationships between mean fish IBI scores and the percent of land developed in the watersheds (p<2.97E-06), as well as between shoreline development and lake health (fish IBI scores) (p=0.00093), although there is much variability in this relationship (R2=0.0141). My results show that there is a clear difference between the health of the lakes in the northern and southern watersheds, likely due to the abundance of agriculture and urban areas in the southern watersheds. It is also shown that shoreline development and watershed land use do have a significantly negative impact on lake health, although the data suggest that watershed land use has a more significant impact on lake health. This suggests that we should focus on land use management when managing lakes.

 Survey of Parasites in Waterfowl From Green Bay, Wisconsin

Survey of Parasites in Waterfowl From Green Bay, Wisconsin
Reece A. Mullen & Demirae E. Berceau

Adviser(s): 

Abstract: Populations of multiple waterfowl species are declining across the nation. Scaup (Aythya marila and Aythya affinis) are two species with population declines observed over the last three decades. Research is needed to better understand the declines but also provide baseline scientific information for future monitoring. The habitat and foraging behaviors of waterfowl make them highly susceptible to many parasites; however, there is a lack of waterfowl parasite surveys in Wisconsin except for directly surrounding the Mississippi river. The primary goal of our research was to investigate parasites of waterfowl and analyze trends among host species, host sex, and parasites intensity. Additionally, we used morphology to identify the parasites to the lowest taxonomic level possible to accurately assess diversity and detect any undescribed species. We dissected five lesser scaups, one greater scaup, two common goldeneye, and one long-tailed duck. Ducks were donated by hunters in the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association and all but two goldeneye were from Green Bay. These waterfowl averaged 67 parasites with the maximum from a male lesser scaup hosting 130 parasites. We identified parasites spanning several taxonomic groups including the phyla Acanthocephala and Nematoda, the class Cestoda and subclass Digenea. The differences in infection could be attributed to the various preferences in habitat and diet among the species. This study is important because a better understanding of host-parasite interaction can help manage duck populations and potential diseases by indicating the location and food sources within their habitats.
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