Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program - 2020 Research Abstracts - This report provides abstracts of most of the ongoing and recently completed research investigations of the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program. The report is organized by the following major science themes that contribute to the objectives of the USGS:
Advanced Technologies - Climate Science - Decision Science - Ecological Flows - Ecosystem Services - Energy - Fish and Wildlife Health and Disease - Human Dimensions - Invasive Species - Landscape Ecology - Species and Habitat Management - Species of Greatest Conservation Need - Threatened and Endangered Species
|Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program - 2021 Year in Review - Childs, D.E., 2021, Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program—2021 Year in review (ver. 1.1, March 2021): U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1478, 22 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1478.||March 2022|
|Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program - 2020 Year in Review - Thompson, J.D., Dennerline, D.E., Childs, D.E., and Jodice, P.G.R., 2021, Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units program—2020 Year in review (ver. 1.1, March 2021): U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1478, 22 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1478.||July 2021|
Husker-led study to focus on Nebraska’s wild turkey populations - Through a new study, University of Nebraska–Lincoln researchers seek to understand wild turkey populations across Nebraska, including survival and harvest rates and resource selection.
The five-year study, funded by a $1.8 million grant from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, is a collaboration among Nebraska U., the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the University of Georgia.
Nebraska currently has limited information on wild turkey reproduction, their distribution across various landcover types, their genetic diversity or the effects of hunter harvest. Each of these variables plays a role in wild turkey population numbers, which have shown a general decline across the state in recent years.
“This project will provide insight into the dynamics of our turkey populations, which have declined about 45% in the past 15 years,” said Luke Meduna, big game program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, citing numbers based on rural mail carrier surveys.
The study aims to set a baseline for wild turkey numbers, their annual reproduction and survival rates, their resource selection and movements. Data collected will be used to inform management decisions of this important game bird species.
Researchers will focus their efforts primarily in southwest Nebraska and the Pine Ridge area, where wild turkeys will be captured, banded and outfitted with GPS units over the next three years. Turkeys will be monitored throughout the year, with an emphasis on nesting and roost locations during peak seasons.
“This research will be the first of its kind in Nebraska,” said Andrew Little, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources at Nebraska and co-lead on the project. “Nebraska is considered a destination wild turkey hunting state for many resident and non-resident hunters. With recent evidence of general population declines from Nebraska Game and Parks biologists and many other states across the U.S., now is the time to improve our understanding of wild turkey populations.
This research will ensure the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and landowners across Nebraska have the most current information to make informed land management decisions for wild turkey populations.”
The research team, which includes Little’s Applied Wildlife Ecology and Spatial Movement Lab and the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, will work closely with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Nebraska landowners over the course of the study.
|IANR KRVN Interview November 26, 2022 - UNL IANR Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm shares information on the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, with a focus on upcoming work on Wild Turkey.||November 2022|
|IANR KRVN Interview November 19, 2022 - UNL IANR Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm shares information on the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, with a focus on work on Pearl Dace.||November 2022|
|IANR KRVN Interview November 12, 2022 - UNL IANR Vice Chancellor Mike Boehm shares information on the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.||November 2022|
Eek! Squeak! Husker scientist listens for Nebraska’s bats - -by Leslie Reed, University Communication and Marketing.
Elusive creatures of the night, bats are a popular symbol of Halloween. They fly silently and erratically in the dark. They hide in nooks and crannies and caves.
Because of those ghostly qualities, humans often don’t realize when bats are nearby.
A University of Nebraska–Lincoln scientist is working with the U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and other federal and state agencies to use acoustic detectors to survey bat species and populations in Nebraska and identify where different species occur.
Christopher Fill, a research scientist with the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has served as the Nebraska coordinator for the North American Bat Monitoring Program since 2020.
“Many landowners don’t think they have any bats on their property, because they don’t see them,” he said. “I conduct bat acoustic surveys all summer, and I hardly ever see them. But if you set out acoustic detectors, you learn bats are out there — you just didn’t know it.”
As coordinator of Nebraska’s bat monitoring program, Fill works with about 100 Nebraska landowners and a crew of volunteers from Nebraska Game and Parks and the university’s Master Naturalist program to place bat-detecting acoustic equipment at over 100 locations across Nebraska. The sound-activated detectors identify the presence of bats by recording their calls, which vary by species according to frequency and pattern.
Bat calls normally are outside human hearing range, except when they’re frightened or angry. Fill said he’s also heard mother bats chirping to their babies in trees used as maternity colonies during the spring and summer.
“For some bat species, several female bats will rear their babies together in a tree,” he said. “Sometimes as you walk by the tree, you can hear them chatting to each other with high squeaking noises, somewhere between a mouse and a bird.”
Fill, who has studied bats in Nebraska for almost five years, said about 13 bat species have been found in Nebraska. Most are tree-loving species found in the wooded areas of the eastern part of the state, but some of these also follow the Missouri and Niobrara river valleys into the upper Panhandle near Chadron and the Pine Ridge.
According to the monitoring program, bats are important to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems and, because of their longevity and sensitivity to changes in their environment, are considered to be important bioindicators for ecosystem health. They contribute to agriculture because they consume large numbers of insects during the growing season.
The most common species found statewide in Nebraska are big brown bats, eastern red bats, hoary bats and silver-haired bats. Three species of bats vulnerable to white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease discovered in North America in 2006, also occur in Nebraska: northern long-eared bats, little brown bats and tri-colored bats. Northern long-eared bats have been listed a federally threatened species, while efforts are underway to designate all three species as endangered.
Nebraska has been part of the North American Bat Monitoring Program, which also covers Canada and Mexico, since 2015. Last year, Nebraska collected its fewest number of northern long-eared bat calls since the program began.
After spending most of his summer traveling to detection sites, Fill has completed this year’s fieldwork and now is compiling and analyzing data. Although bats remain active in autumn, researchers don’t want to interrupt mating, hibernation and migration preparations that occur in the fall.
Fill said initial results for 2022 indicate even fewer northern long-eared bat identifications.
More analysis is required before conclusions can be drawn. Analysis may additionally be hampered from an inability to sample a majority of sites in 2019 and 2020 because of historic flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The program standardizes the data collection process so that it’s uniform and comparable,” Fill said. “This allows researchers from across the country to get a better idea of bat distributions, trends and declines along with a better sense of how bats are doing. It’s not perfect, but bats are so difficult to study, it’s hard to come up with anything that would be.”
Fill supplements data collected with stationary detectors with mobile driving surveys using a detector attached to the top of a car, as well as occasional capture surveys.
“After sunset, we’ll drive a route between our sampling points, often along gravel and dirt back roads, to collect bat calls,” he said. “With this particular detector, we can see and hear the bats when they fly over the car.”
In a previous project in 2018 and 2019, Fill set up arrays of acoustic detectors in farm fields, prairies and wooded areas near Homestead National Monument outside Beatrice, Nebraska. In addition to tracking northern long-eared bats and white-nose syndrome, he developed “heat maps” that showed bats’ foraging patterns in different landscapes. He found bats are most active along the edges of fields and near wooded areas and streams, which may encourage farmers to retain those landscape features to maximize the insect-reduction benefit they receive from bats.
Barlow receives national fellowship on water and environmental policy - - Geitner Simmons, IANR Media, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Brandon Barlow, a MS candidate for a National Resources Science degree with a specialization in Adaptive Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, has been awarded a National Sea Grant John A. Knauss Policy Fellowship. The fellowship is a national program that places exceptional, early-career graduate students with host offices of the federal government for a one-year fellowship in Washington, D.C.
Barlow is a graduate research assistant for the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, completing a fisheries-related thesis and helping survey recreational anglers.
His fellowship, announced by the University of Minnesota Sea Grant program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will begin in Washington in January 2023.
Since 1979, nearly 1,500 fellows have completed the program. Fellows have become leaders in science, policy and public administration.
“As a multidisciplinary academic,” Barlow said, “I recognize the incredible potential of collaborating with people of various professional and cultural backgrounds to solve problems. In the future, I hope to find myself in a professional position that provides plenty of opportunities to collaborate with others on a variety of subjects.”
The Knauss program, he said, “has the resources to help me continue my professional journey toward this goal.”
Barlow graduated high school in Nashville, Tennessee, and earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Miami in water, wetlands and marine resources management.
“Knauss Fellows have a unique opportunity,” said John A. Downing, director of the University of Minnesota Sea Grant program, “to directly apply their scientific knowledge and skills to creating smart water and environmental policy for the benefit of the people of the USA. Never before has there been more need to engage brilliant young minds to assist our federal agencies and policy-makers to bring sound science to policy and management for the benefit of us all.”
Minnesota Sea Grant Announces 2023 National Knauss Policy Fellowship Finalists - ST. PAUL and DULUTH, Minn. — The University of Minnesota Sea Grant program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announces five 2023 Minnesota finalists for the prestigious National Sea Grant John A. Knauss Policy Fellowship for ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources.
The Knauss Fellowship is a national program that places exceptional, early-career graduate students with host offices of the federal government for a one-year fellowship in Washington, D.C. Since 1979, nearly 1,500 fellows have completed the program. Fellows have become leaders in science, policy, and public administration.
“Knauss Fellows have a unique opportunity to directly apply their scientific knowledge and skills to creating smart water and environmental policy for the benefit of the people of the USA,” said MNSG Director John A. Downing. “Multiple serious crises need scientific solutions. Never before has there been more need to engage brilliant young minds to assist our federal agencies and policy-makers to bring sound science to policy and management for the benefit of us all.”
This year’s class of 86 finalists comprises students and recent graduates from 62 distinct universities, including 16 finalists from nine minority-serving institutions. The finalists represent 29 of the 34 Sea Grant programs. Finalists completed coursework and research in a range of fields, such as biology, chemistry, ecology, engineering, environmental science and management, law, marine and coastal sciences and policy, and several disciplines of oceanography. Of the 86 finalists, 54% are seeking a master's degree, 44% are seeking a Ph.D. and 2% are seeking a J.D.
“With five finalists, Minnesota Sea Grant is excited to support the most finalists in our program’s history,” said MNSG Research and Fellowship Coordinator Alex Frie. “This year, we worked to advertise the fellowship broadly to regional colleges and universities and streamlined the application process to make it easier for students to apply. The Knauss is an exceptional opportunity for graduate students to engage in science policy and planning and to build professional networks at the federal level.” MNSG had one finalist in 2018, 2019, and 2022.
The five Minnesota Knauss Fellowship finalists, along with the other 81 finalists from across the country, will be matched with their host office in the fall of 2022 and begin their year-long fellowships in February of 2023.
Placement of 2023 Knauss finalists as fellows is contingent on adequate federal funding in fiscal year 2023.
With mentorship from Nebraska faculty, Westside High School student Humphrey gets head start on fisheries career as Hutton Scholar - Ella Humphrey’s interest in fisheries began with a freshwater home aquarium. The rising senior at Omaha’s Westside High School started keeping aquariums as a hobby and built a reservoir of knowledge about freshwater ecosystems in the process. She thrived at taking care of fish and creating balanced systems for them to live in.
“I am fascinated by the diversity of fish species in river systems, which led me to be more interested in the conservation of native species,” Humphrey said.
People who pursue degrees in fisheries often explore those topics throughout their careers, and Humphrey decided to pursue a career in fisheries as soon as she learned it was possible to have one. This summer, Humphrey worked with Jonathan Spurgeon with the U.S. Geological Survey—Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit after she successfully applied to be a member of the Hutton Fisheries Biology Program. Humphrey experienced multiple aspects of the fisheries career field by helping a collection of fisheries experts that included faculty members from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources as well as Nebraska Game and Parks Commission staff members.
The nationwide paid summer internship and mentoring program is sponsored by the American Fisheries Society. The program’s stated goal is to recruit and introduce high school students from underrepresented backgrounds, specifically minorities and women, into fisheries agencies and institutions. Only a handful of Hutton Scholars are chosen each year, and Humphrey is only the second student to partner with Nebraska faculty since the program began in 2001.
Humphrey’s path to applying for the Hutton program began a bit turbulently. During a zoology class she was taking at the Omaha Zoo, she was listening to a presentation about leeches and blood. Midway through it, she fainted.
“I never thought I was squeamish, but I guess I don’t like leeches,” she said.
While she waited to get picked up from school, she started talking with Dr. Elizabeth Mulkerrin, the vice president of education at the Omaha Zoo. Humphrey said they shared a lot of similar interests, and Mulkerrin suggested she look into applying for summer internships. Later at home, she searched online for fisheries-related internships.
“At last I stumbled upon the Hutton Junior Fisheries internship on a random website and was shocked by how amazing the internship sounded,” she said. “That night I began my application.”
Many Hutton Scholars apply with assistance from a mentor they hope to work with during the eight-week internship. Members of the Hutton Program contacted the Nebraska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society to find possible mentors within close proximity to Humphrey. Through a close-knit network of fisheries professionals across the state, Spurgeon was able to mentor Humphrey. Spurgeon said that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln SNR fisheries team, as well as faculty at other campuses across the University of Nebraska system, are happy to provide mentorship to high school students interested in applying for a Hutton scholarship for summer internships in Nebraska. Spurgeon said that the opportunity to work with a Hutton Scholar of Humphrey’s caliber has come as a welcome surprise.
“I’ve been really impressed,” Spurgeon said. “She’s as focused as many grad students.”
Humphrey said one of her favorite experiences of the eight-week internship took place during the first week. Humphrey and Spurgeon seine netted and backpack electrofished along the Platte River.
“This was my first glimpse at the fish diversity in Nebraska and my first time crossing a large river on foot,” she said.
During her summer internship, Humphrey has spent hours upon hours out on some of the Cornhusker State’s major waterways. She said one of her favorite experiences was boat electrofishing with Spurgeon and University of Nebraska-Lincoln SNR fisheries ecologist Mark Pegg.
“We went to the Missouri River where we caught countless species, including silver carp, blue sucker, and a massive 35-inch channel catfish,” she said. “Once we left the river and arrived at the UNL boat barn, I learned how to remove the otoliths from the silver carp, which I later aged.”
Spurgeon said that Humphrey has been “laser-focused” throughout the internship, adding that she can take her interest in fisheries as far as she wants it to go. The direction it appears to be heading is toward the study of large river ecology. She said that, in the future, she wants to conduct research on large rivers in an effort to better conserve threatened and endangered fish species. A “huge dream,” she said, is to work on some of South America’s largest rivers, like the Orinoco or Rio Negro.
“I am very interested in rivers due to the way they are always changing and evolving,” she said. “I think rivers present a fun challenge to work on because they are so interconnected and span huge distances. The fish diversity rivers hold also fascinates me, I love that I can find a little sand shiner or a large sturgeon in the same water. I had an amazing experience this summer on the Missouri River trawling for age zero sturgeon. The fact that a sturgeon barely 20 millimeters long can survive in such a large and fast flowing river like the Missouri still fascinates me.”
She said that the most valuable thing the Hutton internship gave her is “an opportunity to meet so many amazing people in the fisheries field.” Along with numerous SNR staff collaborations, Humphrey also helped conduct habitat surveys in streams with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission researchers.
“Every person I have met during my internship has been very kind and willing to teach me as much as possible about fisheries,” she said.
Spurgeon said that School of Natural Resources would be lucky to have Humphrey if she decided to pursue a fisheries and wildlife major at the school. That’s what she is currently considering.
“I have to admit that I am a little disappointed that I still have a year of high school left and that I can’t start my undergrad already,” she said. “After graduation I plan to get my undergrad in fisheries and wildlife from UNL, then I plan on going to grad school and possibly get a doctorate later on.”
For other high school students with an interest in fisheries, she said they should apply for the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program.
“I would absolutely recommend the Hutton Scholars program to other high school students,” she said. “I believe anyone who has the chance to work with UNL faculty and participate in the program would be extremely lucky. The Hutton Scholars program has given me countless opportunities to network with people and get valuable hands-on experiences in the field.”
-Cory Matteson, SNR Communications
New textbook edited by School of Natural Resources team spotlights social aspects of fish, wildlife harvest management - When you receive a state fishing or hunting license, you will be informed of harvest limits connected with the activity. You can bag up to five rainbow trout in a day. You can keep a walleye if it’s 15 inches long. You can only bag two white-fronted geese per day during their season, but can keep up to 50 light geese per day during theirs.
Making harvest management decisions like these is a challenging, ever-evolving process that is done with sustainability, population dynamics and people in mind, said Larkin Powell, professor of conservation biology and animal ecology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources. The body of research centered on the social aspect has grown in recent years, he said, and it is reflected in a new textbook co-edited by Powell and Kevin Pope, biologist with U.S. Geological Survey and director of the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
“Harvest of Fish and Wildlife: New Paradigms for Sustainable Management” will be released June 7, and is available for pre-order now. The textbook features chapters authored by 24 teams of scientists and game managers with expertise about the subject, and an interest in exploring harvest management issues from angles that Pope and Powell said have not been represented in previous textbooks.
“Historically, we considered harvest management in biological or ecological contexts,” Pope said. “That's how we were trained, but now we're encouraging people to think about harvest management as occurring in a social-ecological system. Ecology is important, but so is the social aspect, the politics and actual actions and behaviors of hunters and anglers.”
The authors include many who represent UNL’s School of Natural Resources, and Nebraska as a whole. Chapter authors include five UNL faculty members, one UNL adjunct faculty member, two UNL grad students, two UNL staff members and two Nebraska Game and Parks Commission biologists. The book also includes scientists and experts who are colleagues of Pope’s and hail from four U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units from across the country.
“This book is a welcome addition to the literature on harvest management, integrating both terrestrial and aquatic perspectives and engaging the social as well as biological sciences,” said Jonathan R. Mawdsley, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program. “The chapter authors are a veritable ‘Who's Who’ of thought leaders in fisheries, wildlife management and decision science, and the book will undoubtedly be of broad interest to state, federal, academic, NGO and private-sector professionals.”
Numerous chapters directly address human elements of the harvest management decision process. Subjects include an exploration of engaging hunters in selecting duck season dates, the social and political context of harvest management and how marketing and ecological models can help predict permit-purchasing behavior of sportspersons.
“Management decisions can be pretty tricky,” Powell said. “It involves population dynamics, but also a lot of stakeholder engagement. And I think that's what emerged in the book. The book tries to bring all those things together, and give guidance to people that are managing these populations. The tricky thing was trying to find the threads that go between all those things. And, for us, that was one of the fun things. It was a challenge, but it was rewarding to help the authors incorporate that into their chapters."
Timothy McCoy, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission deputy director, said that the textbook provides "great insight" into the complex information that agencies consider when making harvest management recommendations and decisions.
"We must continue to adapt, challenge, apply and improve our wildlife science, social science and decision science in harvest management approaches for wildlife and people," McCoy said.
In the preface to the textbook, Pope and Powell wrote that they developed the idea for it with the idea of providing new insights into a traditional area of emphasis for fisheries and wildlife managers.
“We are now in a new era of harvest management,” they wrote in the preface. “Population biologists have new modeling tools that can be applied to harvest questions. Evolutionary biologists have measured effects of harvest that go beyond simple changes in population size, and we can evaluate the potential for selective mortality through harvest to affect populations and species. Social scientists have begun to look reflectively at behaviors of anglers and hunters, especially as anglers and hunters respond to changing densities of fish and game. And, tenets of decision science have proven useful as improved frameworks to select regulations for harvested species in social and political climates that are often hostile toward consumptive uses of fish and wildlife. In sum, harvest management has broadened beyond its traditional roots to embrace information provided by genetics and advanced population-dynamics modeling as well as insights obtained through consideration of human dimensions.”
The textbook explores how harvest management can help ensure a sustainable future, while promoting intentional, thoughtful and transparent justification for fishing and hunting regulations. Pope said that the textbook has appeal not only in fisheries and wildlife classrooms but also for population biologists, evolutionary biologists, social scientists and on-the-ground fish and wildlife managers. It is a valuable resource now, and will be for years to come, said John Carroll, director of the School of Natural Resources.
“Harvest can be one of the most controversial aspects of both fisheries and wildlife management,” Carroll said. “Dr. Pope and Dr. Powell using their respective expertise in population biology led a thorough review of this topic in this textbook. They also embrace a much broader view that includes focus on some traditional harvest topics relative to population biology, but also evolutionary implications and socio-ecological ramifications of wildlife use. There is no doubt that their book is critical now, but will only increase in importance over time as humans continue to dramatically impact fish and wildlife populations on a global scale. These faculty at the University of Nebraska are demonstrating how our natural resources programs not only have a local impact, but also significance at national and international levels.”
“Harvest of Fish and Wildlife: New paradigms for Sustainable Management” is published by CRC Press, an imprint of Taylor and Francis Group. To purchase a copy or request a copy for inspection, visit this site.
- Cory Matteson, SNR Communications
More details at: https://www.routledge.com/Harvest-of-Fish-and-Wildlife-New-Paradigms-for-Sustainable-Management/Pope-Powell/p/book/9781032002002
Virtual Sunday with a Scientist to examine invasive species - The University of Nebraska State Museum-Morrill Hall’s Virtual Sunday with a Scientist will take place at 2 p.m. April 25 via Zoom.
The free program will be led by Allison Zach, program coordinator for the Nebraska Invasive Species Program, which works to prevent the introduction, promote early detection and reduce the harm of invasive species. Participants will learn to identify invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer, spotted lanternfly and zebra mussels. The interactive program will also include crafts, brainstorming and trivia.
Those interested in participating may register online or visit the Morrill Hall Facebook page for the Facebook Live presentation.
Sunday with a Scientist is a monthly event that highlights the work of scientists, while educating children, families and the university community on a variety of topics related to science and natural history. Presenters share scientific information in a fun, informal way through demonstrations, activities or by conducting science on site. During the spring 2021 semester, events will be hosted virtually over Zoom and Facebook Live.
$3 Million Grant Awarded to University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Aquaculture/Fisheries Department - A $3 million grant has been awarded to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Aquaculture/Fisheries Department by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), according to Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, UAPB chancellor.
“We are thrilled to announce that UAPB was chosen to receive a major grant to conduct nationally significant conservation research in partnership with NRCS,” Dr. Alexander said. “I would like to commend Dr. Michael Eggleton and his team for their contributions in leading the monitoring and assessment research that will result in a national framework for improving the wetlands.”
Dr. Eggleton is a professor of fisheries science in the UAPB Aquaculture/Fisheries Department and is principal investigator for the grant. Co-principal investigators include Dr. Uttam Deb, assistant professor/aquaculture economics, Dr. Yingkai Fang, assistant professor/natural resources economics, and Dr. Jonathan Spurgeon, assistant unit leader, U.S. Geological Survey – Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (formerly assistant professor/habitat management at UAPB). The duration of the grant is 2021 through 2026.
Nebraska anglers are creatures of habit -
Study shows seven popular fishing spots across the state consistently attracted visitors from the same ZIP codes, providing key insights for natural resource managers
Fishing behavior of Nebraska anglers may be more predictable than previously thought, says a new paper published in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecological Applications. Seven fishing spots across the state were visited by loyal communities of anglers throughout the year, with little variation from spring to fall in the home ZIP codes of visitors.
“Our original conceptual model was that anglers are highly mobile and dynamic in their behavior,” said Mark Kaemingk, an assistant professor of aquatic ecology at the University of North Dakota and the paper’s first author. “Our new conceptual model is that anglers, as a whole, could be more predictable than previously thought.”
In Nebraska, fishing has an annual economic impact of over one billion dollars, but keeping track of who is fishing where – and how often – is critical for preventing overexploitation of lakes and reservoirs.
The authors had expected that the yearly summertime fishing spike would draw in vacationing families who were willing to travel farther during summer – but were surprised to find that summer anglers were traveling from the same places as those who visited during spring and fall. The team also found that the pattern held true over the course of the whole four-year study period, with little year-to-year variation in the ZIP codes of angler parties’ home residences.
Kaemingk and his colleagues are not sure whether the lakes were being visited by the same anglers repeatedly, or by different groups from the same ZIP codes – say, families with school-aged children during the summer, and retirees from the same town during autumn. But, Kaemingk says, having a big-picture view of anglers’ traveling patterns can help natural resource agencies make more well-informed management decisions.
“Our previous research has also highlighted that where anglers reside on the landscape can be used to predict on-site behavior at the waterbody, such as harvest propensity,” Kaemingk said.
Changes in participation patterns at a given lake could lead to higher or lower rates of fish harvest over time. This means that data about angler behavior can empower natural resource managers to set regulations that optimize the ecological conditions of a lake as well as creating sustainable fishing experiences for anglers.
The study surveyed anglers at Branched Oak Lake, Calamus Reservoir, Harlan County Reservoir, Lake McConaughy, Merritt Reservoir, Pawnee Lake, and Sherman Reservoir.
Texas Unit Student Wins Cottam Award - Kathryn Watson was the 2022 recipient of the Clarence Cottam Award. The Clarence Cottam Award is the most prestigious student award given by the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society to recognize and promote student research excellence in wildlife biology, conservation, and management.
|Unit Scientist Authors New Book - Dr. Clint Boal, Assistant Unit Leader-Wildlife, and colleague Dr. Cheryl Dykstra recently had their edited volume, Urban Raptors: Ecology and Conservation of Birds of Prey in Cities, published by Island Press.||June 2018|
|Texas Unit Undergraduate Wins Poster Competition - Madeleine Thornley, undergraduate assistant in the Texas Cooperative Research Unit, received the award for best undergraduate poster at the 9th Annual Texas Tech Association of Biological Science Symposium. Her poster title was "American Kestrel Food Habits in the Llano Estacado of Texas".||April 2018|
|Texas Unit Fisheries Student Wins Best Student Poster - Emily Richardson, master’s student advised by Reynaldo Patiño, was the 2018 recipient of the Texas Chapter of The Fisheries Society’s Best Student Poster Award for her presentation, “Salinity Adaptation in Golden Alga”||February 2018|
|Texas Unit Wildlife Student Wins Scholarship - Katheryn Watson, doctoral student advised by Clint Boal, was the 2018 recipient of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Sam Beasom Memorial Graduate Student Scholarship.||February 2018|
|Unit Scientist Receive Publication Award - David Haukos (UL, Kansas Unit) and Clint Boal (AUL, Texas Unit) received the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society’s 2018 Outstanding Publication Award for their book “Ecology and Conservation of Lesser Prairie-Chickens”.||February 2018|
UT CFWRU AUL Fish Biologist Position Description – PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT - The US Geological Survey, Utah Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, located in Logan, UT will soon be officially inviting applications (via USA jobs) for an applied Fish Biologist. We seek an individual who will build a research program with a focus on fish environmental physiology, reproductive and growth physiology, and/or disease, with strong implications for fisheries management in the wild and with the potential to inform aquaculture. Research interests may include: physiological and behavioral adaptations to environmental stressors, fish environmental genomics, physiology of growth and reproduction, environmental stressors, fish disease and immunology, and/or phenotypic or physiological responses to the environment.
The successful candidate must have a PhD degree in a relevant field such as (but not limited to) biological sciences, physiology, zoology, fish biology, or fisheries. The Ph.D. or equivalent is required by the date of hire; postdoctoral experience is not required but is preferred. We seek a candidate with a strong background in fish physiology who can conduct innovative applied research in fish biology and management, and can communicate their work effectively to unit cooperators and the broader public. Desirable candidates will possess the following: 1) ability to collaborate effectively with existing faculty at USU (e.g. aquatic and fish ecologists, population and quantitative ecologists, watershed scientists, climate scientists), and with biologists and managers at the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and other state and federal partners, 2) excellent interpersonal communication and collaboration skills, 3) ability to train future practitioners and leaders (e.g. students and fisheries managers), and 4) an understanding of policies related to fish and fisheries management, and an ability to effectively communicate scientific findings, predictions, and recommendations to policymakers. Interested individuals will ultimately need to apply through the USA jobs website (position not yet open online). Questions and preliminary CV’s can be directed to Phaedra Budy, Unit Leader (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hall Sawyer honored for his research contributions in Wyoming - "CHEYENNE – Hall Sawyer, research biologist for Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. (commonly referred to as WEST, Inc.) has been named recipient of the Excellence in Wildlife Conservation Award given annually by the Wildlife Division of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
The Award is designed to recognize government and nongovernment agencies and individuals for exceptional efforts in conservation of Wyoming wildlife and wildlife habitats. Sawyer was recognized for his outstanding contributions to wildlife research and monitoring throughout Wyoming..."