Biologist Bob Howe, professor of Natural and Applied Sciences and director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, and Erin Giese, the Center’s data manager, are UW-Green Bay’s participants in a newly announced, multi-state, multi-university grant of $10 million to monitor coastal wetlands around the Great Lakes Basin over the next five years. This project expands an existing grant that has involved Howe, Giese and more than 20 UW-Green Bay undergraduate and graduate students since 2010. Coordinated by researchers at Central Michigan University, the project allocates $222,000 to support field activities and data analysis by UW-Green Bay staff and students. The basin-wide coastal wetland monitoring program evaluates ongoing and future wetland restoration efforts, as well as fish, invertebrates, birds, amphibians, plant communities, and chemical and physical variables at the majority of coastal wetland areas throughout the Great Lakes basin. Results will be used to prevent further wetland degradation and to set priorities for future wetland protection. Along with Central Michigan and UW-Green Bay, the initiative includes collaborators from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, UW-River Falls, Lake Superior State University, University of Notre Dame, Grand Valley State University, University of Windsor, State University of New York at Brockport, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Geological Survey, Environment Canada, and Bird Studies Canada.
What began in 1923 as a small field station on Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal Zone is now one of the world’s leading research collaboratives, used annually by some 1,400 visiting scientists. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution employs 45 research scientists not just in Panama’s tropics but around the world in studies of forest dynamics, coral reefs, climate change and more. Since 2006, UW-Green Bay has developed close ties with STRI, including an annual student trip to Panama and establishment of a long-term forest research plot in northern Wisconsin. These activities, funded largely through the generosity of Dr. David and Mary Ann Cofrin, have provided hands-on research opportunities for 10 to 25 UW-Green Bay students every year. On Friday (Sept. 18) at 11:40 a.m., Matthew Larsen, director of the STRI for the Smithsonian, will lead a seminar informing the UW-Green Bay community and the general public on the history and scope of STRI research. Titled “A Century of Smithsonian Science in Panamá,” the program will take place in Room 103 of the University Union. Larsen is a hydrologist/geologist who has published widely on topics ranging from landslides to global climate change, and he served previously as chair of the U.S. committee to UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme. His Sept. 18 presentation is free and open to all. For further information about Dr. Larsen’s visit contact Dr. Amy Wolf or Dr. Robert Howe.
Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Data Specialist Erin Giese, along with UW-Green Bay faculty members Bob Howe and Amy Wolf, graduate student Nick Walton, and Nature Conservancy biologist Nick Miller, have published a paper in the Ecological Society of America’s new online journal Ecosphere. The paper, titled “Sensitivity of breeding birds to the ‘human footprint’ in western Great Lakes forest landscapes,” documents how bird populations respond to human activities like road-building, logging, and housing density in the northwoods of Wisconsin and nearby states. The paper is an outgrowth of Giese’s master’s thesis in the UW-Green Bay Environmental Science and Policy program and has become the basis for an ongoing effort (www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/forest-index/iec.asp) to measure forest health in the western Great Lakes based on birds. Howe says online scientific journals such as Ecosphere seem to be the wave of the future. Check out the article (for free) at: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/ES14-00414.1
Editor’s note: For an enlarged version — which shows a current day aerial of campus and the Les Raduenz Woods (outlined in green) with inset images from 1960 (pre-campus and mostly farm fields) and 1992 (transitional stage of arboretum development) — click on image above.
A ceremony was held Friday (May 15) to dedicate “Les Raduenz Woods,” a 22-acre forest/woodland south of Circle Drive across from the Office of Facilities Management. Raduenz was a central figure in development of the Cofrin Arboretum and UW-Green Bay campus for 35 years. He retired in 2006 as director of Facilities Management, a position he held for 12 years. Raduenz took a special interest in this area, overseeing a tree planting program that has led to its conversion into an early successional woodland and, eventually, an extension of Mahon Woods, one of the Arboretum’s most important natural features. Others who contributed significantly to the development of Les Raduenz Woods included faculty members Dr. Keith White, Dr. Paul Sager, and founding Chancellor Edward Weidner; Facilities Management staff members Mike Vanlanen, Lylas Dequaine, Dennis Nellis, Jim Stiefvater, and Paul Pinkston; and students like Neil Diboll, who eventually became a pioneer in ecological restoration through the establishment of his company, Prairie Nursery, located near Westfield, Wis.
Six University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students will report on research conducted at three UW-Green Bay natural areas at the 26th annual Cofrin Student Symposium from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, in the Christie Theatre in the University Union. More than 150 students over nearly three decades have received funding through the program made possible by an endowment established by the Cofrin family. The program also will include recognition of the recipient of the Paul and Thea Sager Scholarship for excellence in scientific writing. The event is free and open to the public.
Students in the program carry out research projects related to UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin Memorial Arboretum and other University-managed natural areas in Northeastern Wisconsin. Funding is provided by a student research grant endowment established by the families of the late Dr. David A. Cofrin and the late John Cofrin. The Land Trust Grant was established by Michael Draney and Vicki Medland of the UW-Green Bay faculty/staff to support student research at other natural areas in Northeast Wisconsin. Between the two programs, grants of up to $1,000 are awarded competitively based on student proposals and are open to all students at UW-Green Bay. Projects, carried out in collaboration with faculty members, must contribute to improving understanding of the ecology, history, and appreciation of the selected natural area(s), and help land managers in conservation and restoration efforts. The projects also give students experience in properly designing and carrying out research.
Students interested in applying for grants for the upcoming year should call Vicki Medland at 920-465-2342 or visit www.uwgb.edu/biodiversity/ for application guidelines. Applications are due April 13, 2015.
Among the six students presenting their results at the Cofrin Student Symposium on March 3, two will highlight the importance of invertebrates in forest ecology. Amber Konrad, Sturgeon Bay, used her grant to survey and create a GIS map of the distribution of ant mounds in the Cofrin Arboretum to better understand how the location of these important “soil engineers” may affect the distributions of other species and the ecology of the landscape. Linda Vang, Green Bay, will discuss the results of a project she began in 2013 examining the relationships between invertebrates and wildflower seeds. In 2013 she documented the presence of harvestmen (opiliones, sometimes incorrectly called “daddy longlegs”) on and near the wildflower seeds she was observing. She designed her second study to determine if harvestmen are predators of spring wildflower seeds and to assess the role of these arachnids in seed dispersal.
Lindsay Hansen, Kiel, conducted bird surveys at the University-managed Kingfisher Farm natural area in Manitowoc County. Her goals were to provide a detailed list and description of the migratory birds using the Lake Michigan shoreline and river mouth habitats at Kingfisher Farm and nearby conservation areas in order to provide land managers with information about the use of shoreline habitats by migratory bird species.
As part of a restoration effort in the wetlands at Point au Sable Nature Preserve, Cassondra Kollatz, Burlington, collected, counted and identified zooplankton she collected in a bayshore lagoon and in the bay of Green Bay. The goal was to provide baseline data for an ongoing restoration effort by informing ecologists about how changing water levels and future controlled burning of invasive plants may affect the zooplankton communities that form the basis of the food chain in the ecosystem.
Students at UW-Green Bay have been conducting snake surveys on the Cofrin Arboretum for several years, providing a unique opportunity to continue examining snake populations, distribution and movement. Students Jacqueline Corrigan and Tessa Moeller, Seymour, compared data from previous surveys to the data they collected last summer and fall to examine the effectiveness of sampling methods and to determine what impact the harsh winter of 2013-2014 might have had on the survivorship and distribution of snakes in the Arboretum.
As part of the symposium program, this year’s Sager Scholarship for Undergraduate Scientific Writing will be presented to Christa Kananen, Sobieski, for her paper titled “Drawdown of the Potentiometric Surface of the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer in Marinette County, Wisconsin.” Prof. Robert Howe, director of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity at UW-Green Bay will introduce and moderate the March 3 program.
Profs. Amy Wolf and Bob Howe of Biology and Natural and Applied Sciences participated in the fourth Diversity and Forest Chance Workshop at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden in southern Yunnan Province, China, from July 28 to Aug 8. The event, funded by the National Science Foundation and Chinese Academy of Sciences, brought together 48 field ecologists from 16 countries to share information and ideas from large forest research plots in the Smithsonian Institution’s “ForestGEO” network including the UW-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity’s Wabikon Forest Dynamics Plot near Crandon. In addition to giving a research presentation, Wolf and Howe worked with colleagues from other plots on collaborative research papers. After the workshop, they visited the Danum Valley Conservation Area in eastern Borneo (Sabah, Malaysia), location of a ForestGEO plot established in 2010.
Educational Television Productions of Northeast Wisconsin’s (ETP-NEW), located on the UW-Green Bay campus, is proud to announce that its latest documentary has been honored with a Telly Award. Robert Howe and Gary Fewless of the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity are among those featured in interviews in the “Emma Toft: One with Nature” documentary. The program was a silver winner in the 35th Annual Telly Awards, which attracted 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries. The documentary highlights Emma Toft, described as Wisconsin’s First Lady of Conservation, and tells how she and her family saved one of the most pristine areas of Wisconsin from development. Her work helped Door County’s Toft Point, near Baileys Harbor, remain a haven for wildflowers, birds, animals and white pine to this day under the management of UW-Green Bay. “The positive feedback we have received from people all over Wisconsin about our documentary has been truly overwhelming,” said Dean Leisgang, documentary producer. “Now, to learn that our work has been honored on a national stage is a true source of pride for all involved.” For the full news release and specifics on the award.
The popular NAS and Cofrin Biodiversity Center Heirloom Plant Sale returns this weekend. (The faculty/staff “pre-sale” — as always, shhhhhhhh — runs from noon to 5 p.m. this Friday, May 16, in the LAS greenhouse. It’s a rare and much-appreciated perk for on-campus employees, so keep it quiet, and use it, don’t abuse it.) The main public sale is Saturday, May 17. Read more.
The annual NAS Heirloom Plant Sale will take place two weeks from now on Saturday, May 17 at the Lab Sciences greenhouse. Sale organizers have posted summaries of all the different tomato, pepper, flower and vegetable varieties that will be available. Plan your garden; plan your sale weekend buying. More details.
A celebration of the distinguished career of Gary Fewless and the renaming of the University Herbarium in his honor will take place at 5:30 p.m. this Friday (May 2) at Lambeau Cottage on the campus bayshore. Students, former students, faculty, staff and other well-wishers are invited to take part and congratulate Gary on his retirement and the renaming honor. The event is free and open to all, but with the need to plan for food and refreshments, reception organizers ask you to send a note, if you plan to attend, to Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Program Associate Kim Mckeefry.