Wildlife Science Seminar: Winter 2017 Schedule

This winter, Professor Laura Prugh is leading the long-running Wildlife Science Seminar, and she has lined up a fantastic slate of speakers. Subjects range from the Florida panther to golden eagles to the effects of fungal diseases on wildlife communities, so take a look at the schedule below and join us for as many talks as you can!

Wildlife Science SeminarThe talks are held on Mondays from 3:30 to 4:50 p.m. in Smith Hall 120, and the public is always welcome. (Undergraduate students may register for credit under ESRM 455; graduate students under SEFS 554. welcome.)

Week 1: January 9
“Wildlife conservation in Washington’s Cascades: a paradigm shift in the role of national parks”
Dr. Jason Ransom, National Park Service, North Cascades National Park

Week 2: January 16
No seminar

Week 3: January 23
“Spatial ecology of coyotes and cougars: Understanding the influence of multiple prey on the spatial interactions of two predators”
Dr. Peter Mahoney, Postdoctoral Research Associate, SEFS

Week 4: January 30
“Genetic introgression as a conservation strategy: past, present and future of the Florida panther”
Dr. Madelon Van de Kerk, Postdoctoral Research Associate, SEFS

Week 5: February 6
“Breeding ecology of golden eagles in western Washington”
Leif Hansen, Graduate Student, Wildlife Science Group, SEFS

Week 6: February 13
“Is the sky falling or is there an elephant in the room? Perspectives on how fungal diseases influence communities and population dynamics”
Dr. Tara Chestnut, National Park Service, Mt. Rainier National Park

Week 7: February 20
No seminar

Week 8: February 27
“American crow vocal behavior”
Loma Pendergraft, Graduate Student, Wildlife Science Group, SEFS

Week 9: March 6
“Megaherbivory, trophic control, and plant defensive landscapes in a savanna ecosystem”
Professor Jacob Goheen, University of Wyoming

ESRM Seminar Series: Winter 2017 Schedule!

The SEFS Seminar Series will be on hiatus this quarter (returning in the spring), but we still have two other terrific series to keep you thoroughly engaged through our darkest months: the Wildlife Science Seminar and the ESRM 429 Seminar.

The latter is our subject today, and SEFS doctoral student Si Gao is running the show this quarter. She’s put together a terrific line-up of speakers around the theme of “Ecosystem Services,” and talk topics will range from deep soil carbon to plant remediation and oceanography.

The talks are held on Tuesdays from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. in Anderson 223. They are always open to the public, and we encourage you to mark your calendars and join us for as many as you can!

2016_12_sefs-senior-seminar_winter-2017Week 1: January 3
“Diversity of ecosystem services: examples from plant community ecology”
Dr. Claire Wainwright, SEFS Research Associate

Week 2: January 10
Topic: Fire management in the Pacific Northwest
Professor Ernesto Alvarado, SEFS

Week 3: January 17
Topic: Life -cycle assessment of wood products
Dr. Francesca Pierobon, SEFS Research Associate, CINTRAFOR

Week 4: January 24
Topic: Social ecology
Professor Steve Harrell, SEFS and Department of Anthropology

Week 5: January 31
Topic: Disturbance ecology and entomology
Professor Patrick Tobin, SEFS

Week 6: February 7
Topic: Deep soil carbon
Cole Gross, SEFS graduate student

Week 7: February 14
Topic: Biological oceanography
Bryndan Durham & Ryan Groussman, School of Oceanography

Week 8: February 21
Topic: Biofuel and Bioenergy
Chang Dou, SEFS doctoral candidate

Week 9: February 28
Topic: Plant remediation
Robert Tournay, SEFS doctoral student

Week 10: March 7
Topic: Atmospheric reactive N cycling
Professor Joel Thornton, UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Director’s Message: Winter 2017

The hardest professional decision I’ve ever faced came last spring when I accepted an offer to take over as dean of the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana. I struggled enormously with knowing how much I loved my job here, yet also feeling an irresistible pull to return to the University of Montana—to be closer to family, closer to where I started my career, and closer to the mountains I learned to call home. I still feel, without contradiction or cliché, the tremendous fortune of moving from one dream job to another, and as I look back on my four years here, I can hardly process all of the incredible experiences with students, faculty, staff and friends. As I prepare to leave next week, I’ve tried to pinpoint a few poignant memories, and I’ve realized how many of them involve field trips—precisely the hands-on experiences that make this school and our programs so special.

Three trips in particular stand out in my mind. They capture what I’ve enjoyed so much about my time at SEFS, and also what I hope to accomplish at Montana.

2016_12_tomdeluca_winter-2017During my second year here, I asked Professor Susan Bolton to take over as the sole instructor for ESRM 201 (our intro ecosystems course), and in return I offered to help with the soils sections and the weekend field trip.  For that excursion, we headed out over Snoqualmie Pass in a caravan of six Suburbans, stopping at several locations along the way to highlight the diversity, sensitivity and complexity of everything from wet coniferous forests to desert. The students were responsive and engaged, and I’ll never forget the power of the natural laboratory we have here in the Pacific Northwest. It gives our students a nearly infinite range of ecosystems to study and explore, as well as the practical experiences—and inspiration—to continue on in their research and careers. I also never forgot that we had grad students and even undergrads drive some of the vehicles, which sparked my crusade to find a safer, more effective and sustainable way to get our students to the field. (The result, of course, was a small fleet of 30-passenger buses, each with a huge ‘W’ on the back and driven by professional drivers!).

The next year, in the autumn of 2014, I got to participate in a Yakama field course with Professor Emeritus Tom Hinckley and Professor Ernesto Alvarado. During this trip, we visited the Yakama Nation and were generously hosted by our friends and alumni on the reservation, including brothers Phil and Steve Rigdon. It was an amazing experience. The students explored some of the knowledge and traditions of Yakama tribal members, and they got a sense of their deep commitment to sustainable resource management—built on a combination of practical savvy, traditional knowledge and cultural devotion. I was struck by the close relationships between our faculty and tribal members, and the depth of knowledge, willingness to share, and the importance of such exposure to our students. I hope to create similar relationships with the many tribes that populate the inland Northwest, and to provide similar opportunities for students at UM.

Then, in 2015 I spent a day touring forest management sites at Pack Forest and with our friends at Port Blakely tree farms. At Pack, we focused on some of the alternative silvicultural practices that Professor Greg Ettl and his students were studying. We also spent time talking with John Hayes about the Mount Rainier Institute, and the crucial work they are doing to cultivate a love of science and the natural world in underrepresented middle school students across Washington. Court Stanley and his colleagues at Port Blakely proudly explained some of the innovative work they were doing on their lands, and the importance of planning 100 years ahead for when their kids’ kids might benefit from the efforts they implemented today. The goal of the trip had simply been to update one another and share ongoing efforts in sustainable forest management, yet I was again overwhelmed by the positive and supportive relationships between our faculty and our partners in industry. I left that day with a profound sense of optimism and pride in the work we were doing, and in our role training the next generation of environmental leaders and stewards. That feeling has thoroughly defined my time at SEFS.

So it’s been hard to take full stock of what I’m leaving behind, and I know many of my experiences at SEFS will continue to shape and influence me for the rest of my life. I’ve been hugely proud to be part of this school, from the Arboretum and Center for Urban Horticulture, to Pack Forest and the Olympic Natural Resources Center, to all of our wonderful students, alumni, staff and faculty, and everyone I’ve had the the privilege of meeting and working with since I arrived. To all of you, please know I’ll never forget my time in Washington, and that you will always have a friend in Montana.

Tom DeLuca
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences