Nick Fisch recently joined the QFC as an MS graduate research assistant working with Dr. Jim Bence. Although originally from Nova Scotia, Nick grew up in Florida. He attended the University of Florida, studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation with an emphasis on Quantitative Ecology. At University of Florida, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Florida Rivers Lab under the supervision of Dr. Bill Pine where he developed an independent research project assessing the possible relationship between Eastern oyster landings and freshwater discharge in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. During the summers, he worked as a field technician in Glacier National Park, Montana and as a student data analyst in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. Johns, Newfoundland. Nick’s specific area of research has not yet been decided, but it will likely involve simulation work to evaluate assessment methodologies for Great Lakes fish stocks.
This summer the QFC hosted two students from Shanghai Ocean University, Velonica (Cong Lu) and Sunny (Haoliang Wu). These students were members of a larger group of students who were visiting the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife as part of a program between MSU and SHOU. Velonica and Sunny arrived on campus on July 10th and stayed about a month, giving them the opportunity to enjoy campus and get to know the students in their labs and the department as well as the chance to explore a bit of Michigan and end their trip with a quick stay in Chicago. One of the students, Sunny, joined Alex Maguffee and Jeremy Rhody in the exciting world of otolith chemistry. Sunny learned how to extract, clean, section, and polish juvenile Chinook salmon otoliths to prepare them for trace element chemical analysis. She worked closely with Alex and Jeremy, gaining experience in data collection, as well as advancing her microscope skills. By the end of her short stay, Sunny had really perfected the techniques. Both her diligent work and bright personality were a great addition to the lab this summer. The other student, Velonica, worked with Sam Truesdell and Lisa Peterson on a project that consisted of two parts, completing the QFC’s online R class and using R to analyze a data set. Though she had never used R before, Velonica quickly completed the class and moved on to the data. The data set described walleye movement in Lake Erie, and Velonica’s analyses examined patterns in movement linked to where the fish were originally tagged. She also created a time lapse plot that tracked a single fish that had entered Lake Erie from Lake Huron. Her work helps lay the foundation for a more involved analysis of Lake Erie walleye movement.
The QFC’s very own Jim Bence has recently earned two prestigious recognition’s. First, Dr Bence was awarded the Anderson-Everett Award that recognizes contributions to the IAGLR association. Jim has served as IAGLR president and is currently chair of the Publications Committee. You can learn more about the award here.
Second, The Fisheries Division of Michigan Department of Natural Resources named Dr. Bence the “William E. Ricker Professor of Fisheries Management” for his ground breaking interdisciplinary research and outreach that has improved the DNR’s ability to better manage fisheries resources.
Congratulations Dr. Bence!
The QFC just celebrated its 10 year anniversary. This milestone was celebrated in style with a large party at the home of Jim and Sue Bence. Around 40 people attended, including current students and staff, board members and even out of state alumni!
The band Jackalope played during the festivities. Jackalope donated a house concert to the Steiner Chorale charity auction and Jim and Sue Bence were high bidder and donated this entertainment to the QFC celebration. Another special thanks goes to Mark Ebener who donated some smoked fish!
Iyob Tsehaye, QFC research associate, has recently taken a research scientist position with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (W-DNR), in Madison, WI. In his new role, Dr. Tsehaye will continue to work on Great Lakes fishery management issues, focusing on the analysis of population dynamics of commercially important fisheries and the development of assessment tools to inform their management, mainly in Lakes Michigan and Superior. During his first weeks on the job, Iyob traveled to several Great Lakes field offices in Wisconsin to meet with fishery biologists and talk about their top research priorities and specific assessment modeling and statistical/analytical needs for both lakes. In Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay, some of the priority research areas concern the management of yellow perch, lake whitefish and walleye. Continuing the assessment of yellow perch is also one of the top priority research areas southwestern Lake Michigan fishery managers, based out of Milwaukee, are facing. For Lake Superior, he discussed with fishery biologists located in Bayfield/Ashland about lake trout assessment needs, among other things. Iyob will doubtless be a valuable addition to the Wisconsin DNR research team, which also includes QFC alumnus Dr. Gretchen Hansen, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as he represents one of our important partner agencies. We will miss having Iyob here at MSU, but wish him the best of luck with his new career.
Three members of the QFC (Mike Jones, Lisa Peterson, and Norine Dobiesz) traveled to Rome, Italy this January to attend the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries. This international conference was held at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. With attendees from over 40 different countries the conference took a global, multidisciplinary approach to a variety of freshwater fisheries issues. Oral presentations and interactive discussions concluded in a group session to develop recommendations for inland fisheries policy statements. MSU was well represented, with President Lou Anna K. Simon giving the keynote address discussing a new partnership between MSU and FAO and quite a few members of the Fish & Wildlife Department giving talks and presenting posters.
The QFC was active as well with a poster and a short course. Lisa presented a poster titled “Breaking down barriers to transparent decisions: A role for structured decision-making in the management of impounded rivers” on the work she did during her time as a Fenske Fellow. Mike, Lisa, and Norine taught the Introduction to Programming in R for Fisheries Scientists workshop which had 10 participants from nearly 10 different countries. Though this was not the QFC’s first foray into teaching the course internationally, it was certainly one of the most diverse!
Congratulations to our two newest graduates. Both Jared Meyers and Dave Fielder earned their Ph.D’s!
2014 was another successful and busy year for the QFC. We closed out the year with 24 staff members, including 7 Post-Doctoral Research Associates/Research Scientists, 6 Ph.D. students, 5 M.S. students, and 1 undergraduate researcher. One M.S. student (Lisa Peterson) defended her thesis research and elected to stay at the QFC to pursue a PhD. Three Ph.D. students (Chris Vandergoot, Dave Fielder, and Jared Myers) defended their PhD research; all three continue their employment with fishery management agencies in the Great Lakes region. In terms of educational opportunities, QFC staff taught 3 short courses during the year: 2 courses on the use of R at the American Fisheries Society annual meeting in Quebec and at Shanghai Ocean University and a course on risk and decision making for fisheries management at Shanghai Ocean University. The QFC also continued to offer two non-credit online courses (Maximum Likelihood Estimation for Natural Resources and Ecology, R Essentials for Natural Resource Professional). QFC staff participated in around 20 consultation/outreach projects for supporting partner agencies and were involved in 22 research projects. QFC staff authored or co-authored 23 manuscripts/completion reports/technical reports that were published or accepted for publication, including 19 peer-reviewed scientific publications. The QFC leadership continues to be very proud of the excellent group of researchers and academic staff assembled at MSU and we thank them for their hard work.
Click the links to see pictures and learn more about our new members.
The QFC is pleased to welcome Mike Jones back the the QFC full time. Previously Mike has been the Chair of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife as well as a co-director for the QFC. Mike traded the Chair position and accepted a position as a Peter A Larkin Professor of Quantitative Fisheries. Welcome Back Mike, we are excited to see you around more!