December 2015

2015-2016 Issue of Confluence, published annually by the MSU College of Letters & Sciences, showcases several Department of Ecology faculty, students, and their research. Confluence can be accessed online here. Mentions include faculty Bob Garrott (p28), Chris Guy (p12-13), Andy Hansen (p11 & 20), and Jia Hu (p6-7), graduate students Tony Chang (p20) and Eric Scholl (p12), and undergraduate student Cheyenne Stirling (p28).

December 16, 2015, Assistant Professor Ben Poulter (Ecology and Institute on Ecosystems) was selected to be one of the first Leshner Leadership Institute Fellows by AAAS. The 15 fellows will focus on public engagement around climate change issues. View the story here, and read about the fellows here.

December 12, 2015, MSU Fall 2015 Commencement Ceremony included 16 degree candidates from the Department of Ecology: 3 MS in Biological Sciences, 3 MS in Fish & Wildlife Management, 10 BS in Biological Sciences. The list of candidates, along with honors designations, is published in the MSU News article here.

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October 2015

October 15, 2015, Scholarship awards announced for 2015-2016 academic year:

 Kenneth D. Lorang Memorial Award
 $500 to Adeline Dutton, MS candidate, Fish and Wildlife Management
 Matthew F. Clow Memorial Award
 $1500 to Allison Stringer, MS candidate, Fish and Wildlife Management
 $1500 to Michael Lance, MS candidate, Fish and Wildlife Management
 Jim Belsey Graduate Student Scholarship
 $2500 to Jeffrey Glaid, MS candidate, Fish and Wildlife Management
 $2500 to Jaclyn McGuire, MS candidate, Fish and Wildlife Management
 The Don C. Quimby Graduate Wildlife Research Scholarship
 $1500 to Carson Butler, PhD candidate, Fish and Wildlife Biology
 Kevin Hurley Wild Sheep Biology Award
 $2400 to Blake Lowrey, PhD candidate, Fish and Wildlife Biology
 Jack Creek Preserve Foundation Scholarship
 $3000 to Tanner Cox, BS candidate in Biological Sciences – Fish & Wildlife Ecology & Management

For details on each scholarship and the application process from this fall, see our scholarship page.

October 14, 2015: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks published a video on their YouTube channel on the hoary marmot research currently being conducted by Ecology graduate student Ben Turnock and his crew. Ben studies under Drs. Steven Kalinowski and Andrea Litt.

Video titled "Marmots" can be seen here:

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September 2015

A crew of 2 Ecology graduate students and 4 additional researchers are off to do their field research on the Weddell seal in Antarctica. Graduate students on the trip are Kaitlin Macdonald and J. Terrill Paterson, along with department employees Eric Boyd, Michael Forzley, Ross Hinderer, and Erika Nunlist. Professors Bob Garrott and Jay Rotella will join them in October.

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July 2015

July 24, 2015 in the MSU News: A story on the MSU-linked documentary “Unbranded,” which recently won audience choice awards at two international film festivals, mentions Ecology Professor Bob Garrott as one of the scientists and conservation experts featured in the film. The documentary will release in September of this year. See the story here:

July 23, 2015 in the MSU News: Spotlight on Ecology undergrad student Cheyenne Stirling's research in Glacier National Park, funded by Jerry O'Neal Fellowship. See story at (See also story on Stirling Fellowship Award below from May 2015.)

July 2, 2015, Great Falls Tribune: Marmot mysteries: Team goes extra mile to learn more
Several Ecology faculty and students quoted in article that summarizes current research being done by Grad Student Ben Turnock on hoary marmots in Montana. The article, which mentions Ecology faculty Drs. Steven Kalinowski and Andrea Litt, graduate students Kaitlin MacDonald and Ben Turnock, undergraduate Adam Starecheski, and employee Jonathan Hashisaki, made the front page of the Outdoors Section of the Great Falls Tribune, with several large, color photos. Read online version here:

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May 2015

During the May Board of Regents meeting the title of Professor Emeritus of Ecology will be conferred on Billie Kerans, along with seven other recently retired and long-time MSU faculty. This title honors her service to the university, the state and the world at large. Thank you Billie for your service to the Ecology Department and our Institution!

"MSU Undergrad Awarded Jerry O’Neal Fellowship for Bat Research in Glacier National Park

Cheyenne Stirling, an undergrad at Montana State University in Biological Sciences, is the recipient of a 2015 Jerry O’Neal National Park Service Student Fellowship. Cheyenne will use her fellowship to support “Bats in Bats in Buildings: Assessing Human Structures as Roost Sites in Glacier National Park.” The objective of this study is to document the locations and types of roost sites occurring in human structures throughout Glacier National Park (GNP). This information will aid biologists in GNP on the impacts of white-nose syndrome should it arrive here. Study data will also help expedite the compliance review process for projects that seek to remodel, restore, or repair buildings by informing managers about whether the structure is, or has been, occupied by bats. If bats are using a structure, this study will provide park staff with the necessary information to develop mitigation measures to protect bats.

The Jerry O’Neal National Park Service Student Fellowship is named for the former deputy superintendent at Glacier NP, in honor of his dedication to science and research in the NPS. The Fellowship is for work in Glacier National Park, Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS, or Little Bighorn Battlefield NM. The competition is facilitated through the Rocky Mountains CESU and is open to students at all of the RM-CESU universities. For more details contact Lisa Gerloff, Executive Coordinator of the RM-CESU at the University of Montana, at"

Cheyenne is working with Ecology Faculty Dr. Andrea Litt and Lisa Bate, biologist at Glacier National Park. Above text from

In December 2014 our department said good-bye to two beloved employees, Billie Kerans - Professor at MSU for 18 years, and Judy Van Andel - Academic Coordinator in the Ecology Department for 10 years. The following text was written for the Thank You celebration given for them by faculty and staff.

Billie Kerans
In addition to her teaching and advising she contributed great work in the field with Whirling Disease. Whirling disease afflicts young trout and salmon (fingerlings and fry) and causes skeletal deformation and neurological damage. Fish "whirl" forward in an awkward, corkscrew-like pattern instead of swimming normally, find feeding difficult, and are more vulnerable to predators. The mortality rate is high for fingerlings, up to 90% of infected populations, and those that do survive are deformed by the parasites residing in their cartilage and bone. They act as a reservoir for the parasite, which is released into water following the fish's death.

Billie especially enjoyed teaching Community Ecology and Advanced Stream Ecology, and working with her graduate students. She will miss you all, and we will especially miss her.

Judy Van Andel
Judy took great care of all the undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff here in the department. Among her hundreds of tasks to take care of every day, she most enjoyed the people. She is looking forward to traveling - her first trip will be to China - and taking care of the land she lives on. Her smiling face will be missed by all she had the pleasure to meet.

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