​Join the Wisconsin Center for Wildlife, College of Natural Resources, as they present the Fish and Wildlife of the Great Lakes Region Seminar Series. These free, hour-long presentations are held on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus, College of Natural Resources, Trainer Natural Resources Building, Room 170.


 Secrets of the Wisconsin Fish Fauna with John Lyons, Ph.D.

February 7, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


Mention “Wisconsin” and “fish” and most people think of muskies, walleye, bass, or trout. Certainly, sport fish are integral to the economy and culture of the state, but the fishes of Wisconsin are so much more than just the 25 or so species that anglers target. With over 150 species, Wisconsin has one of the most diverse fish faunas of the temperate zone. Many of these species have unique and unusual characteristics. For example, did you know that there are two Wisconsin fishes that can drown? Or that one type of fish produces only female offspring that are identical clones? Or that one species has an electromagnetic receptor sensitive enough to detect the electric fields produced by microscopic zooplankton? Or that another has males that imitate juveniles or females to sneak by larger males for spawning? In this talk, we’ll explore some of the little-known but fascinating aspects of the amazing Wisconsin fish fauna.


John Lyons is a biologist and ichthyologist with over 32 years of experience. He received his BS degree in Biology from Union College, Schenectady, NY and his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Zoology from UW-Madison. He currently serves as the Curator of Fishes at the University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum and served as a Fisheries Research Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, both in Madison, Wisconsin. 

 Habitat selection of pelagic fish in Minnesota Lakes with Andrew Carlson, Ph.D.

February 21, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resource Bldg. Room 170


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources actively manages the fisheries in over 4,400 lakes across the state.  Assessment gears for these fisheries primarily focus on the near-shore littoral zones with little emphasis on the off-shore pelagic habitat and corresponding fish community.  These offshore areas can support a unique species assemblages including certain life stages of fish traditionally found in near shore areas.  Seasonal fish distribution patterns were compared with temperature and oxygen in these off-shore areas to provide insight on the performance of traditional sampling gears.  Understanding these fish communities and their associated habitat may provide perspective on future changes due to climatic or eutrophication stressors.


Andrew Carlson is a Research Scientist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  He received his B.S. degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University (2000), his M.S. in Biology from Michigan Technological University (2003), and Ph.D. in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming (2006).   

Carlson’s research interests involve evaluating habitat selection of lacustrine fish species related to applied management issues.  Current project work is utilizing species-specific resource selection functions to help understand seasonal movement and distribution patterns related to standard assessment techniques.  

 Studies of Long-lived Iteroparous Lake Sturgeon with Kim Scribner, Ph.D.

February 28, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


The talk will have several themes.

  1. Quantifying the effects of biotic and abiotic affects on current and future reproductive success and mortality across life stages.
  2. Emphasizing the importance of empirical inter-disciplinary studies to characterize features of species reproductive ecology, mating behavior and reproductive success (recruitment dynamics) within and among years.
  3. Highlighting the importance of anthropogenic changes to aquatic systems that alter environmental cues and behavioral and numerical responses of fish and other members of aquatic communities.



Kim Scribner is an evolutionary ecologist with broad interests in population genetics and vertebrate life history, demography and behavior. Research in his lab at Michigan State University (MSU) involves novel application of molecular genetic markers and evolutionary theory to examine important questions in ecological genetics and conservation biology including: levels of gene flow through heterogeneous aquatic and terrestrial landscapes, the evolution of life history traits as adaptations to thermal spawning environments, how environmental heterogeneity and mating systems affect inter-individual variance in reproductive success and genealogical relationships within populations, intra-specific and comparative phylogeography, and development of non-invasive DNA collection methods to estimate population abundance and spatial genetic structure. Graduate student research emphasizes both field and laboratory work and inter-disciplinary training in population and behavioral ecology, population genetics, molecular biology, and evolution. Emphasis is placed on managed or exploited populations and in the area of conservation biology.

His faculty appointment at MSU is in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, he is co-appointed in the Department of Zoology, and active in several inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental graduate programs at MSU including Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program (EEBB) and the Genetic Program. Kim is also one of several faculty in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife who holds a cooperative appointment through the Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management (PERM) program with regional Fisheries and Wildlife agencies. His appointment is affiliated with the Fisheries Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


 Getting Our Bearings: Reorienting Black Bear Ecology with David Williams, Ph.D.

March 7, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


Why might we choose ice cream on a hot and sunny day but not a cold wet day or when the line at the parlor is long? Because context matters. Emerging methods provide new opportunities to evaluate the context of ecological relationships that we have learned about in theory but have limited opportunities to assess empirically. For example, many ecological processes are presumed to be density dependent (e.g., population growth, disease transmission, and habitat suitability, but the difficulty of estimating the density of wild animals, particularly beyond values at spatially-imposed scales (i.e., study area), often prohibits our capacity for inference. Likewise, the surrounding landscape should impact whether, when and how animals select for or avoid resources, but we seldom consider context. I’ll use black bears as a case study to share how we are quantifying spatially explicit densities in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, what factors influence those densities, and how selection of resources changes in different density and landscape contexts.




David Williams, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, at Michigan State University and Associate Director at Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center. He received his B.S. degree from Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, Mass., his M.S. degree from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I. and his Ph.D. from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, N.Y.

 Williams' research interests are broad but focus on understanding how landscape heterogeneity influences populations, animal movements, and habitat use and applying that knowledge in the context of larger ecological processes and management decisions. His teaching has included courses on the analysis and management of wildlife populations, wildlife ecology, and applications of geographic information systems to the management of natural resources. His dissertation evaluated the role of white-tailed deer movement behavior in regard to the potential risk of disease spread through a population in New York State. As part of that work, he used a large number of GPS collared individuals to quantify the temporal and spatial structure of direct and indirect contacts between individuals and applied that information to models evaluating the risk of spread of chronic wasting disease.

 Changes in the Lake Michigan Food Web Following Dreissenid Mussel Invasion with Charles Madenjian, Ph.D.

March 14, 2018 | 3 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


Using various available time series for Lake Michigan, we examined changes in the Lake Michigan food web following the dreissenid mussel invasions and identified those changes most likely attributable to these invasions, thereby providing a synthesis. Expansion of the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) population into deeper waters, which began around 2004, appeared to have a substantial predatory effect on both phytoplankton abundance and primary production, with annual primary production in offshore (N50 m deep) waters being reduced by about 35% by 2007. Primary production likely decreased in near shore waters as well, primarily due to predatory effects exerted by the quagga mussel expansion. The drastic decline in Diporeia abundance in Lake Michigan during the 1990s and 2000s has been attributed to dreissenid mussel effects, but the exact mechanism by which the mussels were negatively affecting Diporeia abundance remains unknown. In turn, decreased Diporeia abundance was associated with reduced condition, growth, and/or energy density in alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), deep water sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii), and bloater (Coregonus hoyi). However, lake-wide biomass of salmonines, top predators in the food web, remained high during the 2000s, and consumption of alewives by salmonines actually increased between the remained high during the 2000s, and consumption of alewives by salmonines actually increased between the remained high during the 2000s, and consumption of alewives by salmonines actually increased between the 1980–1995 and 1996–2011 time periods. Moreover, abundance of the lake whitefish population, which supports Lake Michigan's most valuable commercial fishery, remained at historically high levels during the 2000s. Apparently, counterbalancing mechanisms operating within the complex Lake Michigan food web have enabled salmonines and lake whitefish to retain relatively high abundances despite reduced primary production.


Madenjian Chuck.jpg

Charles P. Madenjian, Ph.D., is a Research Fishery Biologist stationed at the Great Lakes Science Center. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aquatic Biology from Rutgers University in 1975, his Master of Science in Resource Ecology from the University of Michigan in 1979 and his doctorate in Zoology at the University of Hawaii in 1988.



 Reintroducing a Native Predator: Multiple Objectives and Good Science with Roger Powell, Ph.D.

April 4, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


Reintroductions have a long history of use to re-establish populations of native animals and plants.  Few reintroduced populations have been monitored well.  Fishers (Pekania pennanti) have been reintroduced > 30 times.  I have studied reintroduced fishers to understand how fishers use a managed landscape and to test multiple hypotheses related to fisher biology.


powell, roger.jpgRoger Powell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology at North Carolina State University has concentrated his major research interest and contributions in animals' home ranges habitat and social organization. His major research interests have been in animals' home ranges and spacing: how animals space themselves on a landscape, depending on the home ranges of other individuals and on the distributions of pertinent resources.

From 1981 through the early 2000s, his field research was on black bears. With his graduate students, he developed approaches to estimating fitness landscapes. Their approach and results can be applied widely and generalized to other forest animals. In 2009, Powell began multifaceted research aimed at applying these approaches to fishers. The fisher research includes the reintroduction of fishers to the northern Sierra Nevada in northern California.

Powell received his B.A. degree from Carleton College in Minnesota and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has taught course in Wildlife Management, Mammalogy, Evolution, and Ecology of Mammals and Community Ecology. He has authored many books and co-authored numerous publications on the subjects of Behavioral Ecology of Mammals and Wildlife Management.


 The seminar with Lisette Waits, Ph.D. for Wednesday, April 11, has been cancelled

This seminar has been cancelled.

April 11, 2018 | 3 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


Hybridization among different taxonomic groups is a natural evolutionary process but also a conservation and management challenge.  Hybridization can lead to genetic swamping of the less common taxonomic group and extinction.  It can also create taxonomic uncertainties and provide a challenge for conservation and management policies.  North American canids provide a classic case study for the challenges that hybridization can cause for conservation and management.  Genetic studies have demonstrated that hybridization was historically common among North American canids, and it continues today in areas where ranges overlap between different species.  This talk will review the challenges that hybridization and taxonomic uncertainty have caused for endangered species recovery in red wolves and Great Lakes wolves and the management actions that have been taken to control hybridization in endangered red wolves.


Waits pic.jpgLisette Waits is the head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources and leader of the Fishery Resources and Wildlife Resources programs. Her research focusing on conservation genetics and molecular ecology spans four continents and includes collaborators from North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. 

Waits’ lab focuses on developing and implementing molecular genetic methods for monitoring wildlife populations. Among her recent projects include an effort to develop noninvasive ways to monitor the distribution, population size, and genetics of reintroduced populations of animals, such as gray wolves in Idaho and the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits in Washington.

Waits has also served as a co-principal investigator on international grants through the NSF and led student and faculty research trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador to study biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She has published more than 195 papers and recently co-edited a book on landscape genetics, the first book in the new discipline.

Waits has a doctorate in genetics from the University of Utah and a bachelor’s in genetics from the University of Georgia. She joined the faculty at U of I in 1997. University of Idaho Distinguished Professor Lisette Waits was awarded the Jean'ne M. Shreeve NSF EPSCoR Research Excellence Award in the fall of 2017 for her internationally recognized research in molecular ecology.

 There and Back with Richard Crossley

April 18, 2018 | 3:30 p.m. | Trainer Natural Resources Bldg. Room 170


While working on The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl, Richard decided he needed to drive to the Arctic Ocean, northern Alaska from his home in Cape May, New Jersey. Told in a thick Yorkshire accent and with a sense of humor, Richard will talk about his 16,000 mile adventure while living out of his truck, the incredible places he traveled, and the inspiring people he met who changed his thoughts.


Richard Crossley is an internationally acclaimed birder, photographer and award winning author of The Crossley ID Guide series. Crazy, wildly passionate, and driven are just a few of the words used to describe his love of birding and nature.

Born in Yorkshire, Richard first visited the USA as a 21-year old. He quickly fell in love with Cape May and its incredible bird migrations and moved there for good shortly afterwards. After 20 years of hiding in the business world, Richard co-authored the successful The Shorebird Guide. He quickly became obsessed with the newfound opportunities provided by digital technology and book design. The Crossley ID Guide series was created.

The Crossley ID Guide is more than just a guide to birds – it provides a new perspective on how we look at books and nature. Different from any book previously published, it makes the reader pay attention to shapes, patterns, behavior, and other details presented in this type of artwork. It pushes the reader to think about what they are seeing. Recognized with multiple awards, this series has created a movement for other wildlife guides to paint by pixels and depict habitat, behavior, and wildlife in a more lifelike manner. These are books for anyone who loves nature.

Richard is also co-founder of the global birding initiative Pledge to Fledge, Race4Birds and The Cape May Young Birders Club. He has contributed to most major birding publications, is frequently heard on radio, and is a highly sought-after public speaker. He served on the board of directors at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. He firmly believes that the time is right to popularize birding in the USA and other parts of the world.

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