The following are the oral presentations for the 2021 Jim & Katie Krause CNR Student Research Symposium. 

 FISH1T- Effects of Riparian Habitat on Diets of Brook Trout in the Little Plover River, Wisconsin

Effects of Riparian Habitat on Diets of Brook Trout in the Little Plover River, Wisconsin

Logan Cutler & Rachel Valeria


Adviser(s): Dr. Joshua Raabe, Dr. Jered Studinski, Jeff Dimick

Abstract: Coldwater streams are heavily dependent on elements derived from the surrounding riparian habitat. The vast majority of stream fishes, including the socially, economically, and ecologically important Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), rely on macroinvertebrates that either fall into the water from the riparian zones or are aquatic at some point in their life cycle. The Little Plover River in central Wisconsin supports a self-sustaining population of Brook Trout and features a variety of riparian habitats including forest, wetland restoration, agriculture, and grassland, that may support different macroinvertebrate communities. The objectives of this study were to determine if the composition of aquatic and terrestrial macroinvertebrate communities in Brook Trout diet contents differed from those available in drift or among riparian habitats in the Little Plover River. The three sampling sites on the Little Plover River corresponded with different riparian habitats (forested, wetland restoration, and agriculture/grassland). In fall 2019, drift nets were deployed for 24 hours to collect aquatic and terrestrial macroinvertebrates, and electrofishing was conducted immediately after drift nets were removed. Brook Trout diets were obtained through gastric lavage and were compared with drift net samples. There was much variation among samples, with some taxa that were abundant in drift yet absent from Brook Trout diets, and other taxa that occurred more often in diets than in drift nets. These results provide insight into Brook Trout feeding behavior among riparian habitat types in small coldwater streams.

 FISH2T- Phenology and Habitat Utilization of Spawning Brook Trout in the Little Plover River, WI

Phenology and Habitat Utilization of Spawning Brook Trout in the Little Plover River, WI

Natalie Coash

Adviser(s): Dr. Joshua Raabe

Abstract: Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis are a native salmonid species within Wisconsin that require cold, high quality, flowing water. Brook Trout naturally reproduce in the Little Plover River, a groundwater dominated stream in central Wisconsin, but experienced mortalities during low flows and dry reaches from 2005-2009 caused by drought and groundwater pumping. Efforts to improve watershed health and river flows include groundwater pumping changes, wetland restoration, and riparian and channel modifications. Understanding Brook Trout spawning locations (i.e., redds), timing, and behavior would aid in identifying important locations and time periods for restoration and protection. Therefore, we conducted weekly redd surveys in Autumn 2017-2020 by walking the main passage of the river and recording redd locations consisting of at least two actively staging or spawning Brook Trout over a designated redd. Redd locations were over-laid on a simulated groundwater upwelling arcGIS map of the Little Plover River. Brook Trout spawned throughout most of the stream but redd locations varied by week and annually. In 2017, redds were denser in areas with higher groundwater inflows. In 2018-2020 redds were located upstream and at differing groundwater inflows. Varying redd locations could be due to differences in river discharge, with much higher flows in 2018-2020 potentially influencing groundwater inflow and/or Brook Trout movement. Peak redd activity occurred during the second and third weeks of November during all four years. As water levels continue to rise over the period of study, we look into how habitat availability and quality may play a role in spawning location and possible effects on recruitment. This research provides valuable information on Brook Trout spawning behaviors and can be used to help ensure maximum benefits of restoration efforts and is part of an ongoing evaluation of the Brook Trout population and watershed restoration efforts of the Little Plover River.

 FOR1T- Effectiveness of Native Plant Regeneration after Glossy Buckthorn Removal and Treatment in Schmeeckle Reserve

Effectiveness of Native Plant Regeneration after Glossy Buckthorn Removal and Treatment in Schmeeckle Reserve

Bethany Brownfield & Shannon O'Fallon


Adviser(s): Dr. James Cook, Dr. Michael Demchik

Abstract: With the aid of Society of Ecological Restoration (SER) members, site stewards Bethany Brownfield and Shannon O’Fallon removed glossy buckthorn at a site in Schmeeckle Reserve named Jetson Oaks. Jetson Oaks is one of the sites that has been selected for student restoration and monitoring efforts as a part of the stewardship program led by SER. We delineated four quadrants of the site to assess and monitor any changes in vegetation and site quality that result from buckthorn removal and subsequent herbicide treatment. A baseline vegetative assessment was conducted for each quadrant before and after the glossy buckthorn removal, which was then analyzed using a Universal Floristic Quality Assessment Calculator to compare the pre-removal state to the post-removal state. Data was collected for assessment concerning several conservation-based metrics, particularly regeneration and basal area. Glossy buckthorn herbicide treatment will be followed by native vegetation seeding in half of the quadrants to investigate the effectiveness of native plant seeding on regeneration at sites that were previously dominated by invasive buckthorn. Our results remain inconclusive since the study remains in its preliminary stages, and post-removal metrics will be collected in the spring when vegetative changes can be accurately assessed. We hypothesize that quadrants that are seeded with native vegetation will show greater levels of regeneration than those left to naturally regenerate following glossy buckthorn removal and herbicide treatment. This study is meant to provide a basis for future stewardship research as ongoing restoration efforts throughout Schmeeckle Reserve require further monitoring and management adaptation. 

 FOR2T- Factors affecting the presence of invasive buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica & Frangula alnus) in Wisconsin school forests

Factors affecting the presence of invasive buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica & Frangula alnus) in Wisconsin school forests

Colby Powers


Adviser(s): Dr. James Cook, Dr. Shuva Gautam, TJ Boettcher

Abstract: Land use and disturbance have both been of rising concern for their role in the invasion of European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus), and other exotic invasive species. Buckthorn has long been known to cause many negative forest health problems such as decreased herbaceous biodiversity and decreased forage for native fauna. It can be difficult to control due to its ability to grow in a wide variety of habitat types and environmental conditions. Land use changes have been linked to increases in buckthorn densities in the past, however it has never been conducted on a statewide level in Wisconsin. This study measures common land use factors such as housing density, road density, distance to the nearest house, and amount of forest edge and compares them with the presence of both buckthorn species in forests across Wisconsin. We sampled 44 school forests in 44 counties across Wisconsin ranging in size from 7.9 hectares to 23.5 hectares with a total of 664 plots sampled. Our study determined that housing density, distance to nearest house, solar irradiation (WH/m^2/y), and road density all were significant factors while distance to the edge of the stand was not found to be significant. Our findings can be used to help land managers focus efforts in areas with higher predicted concentrations of buckthorn.
Advisor(s): Dr. James Cook, Dr. Shuva Gautam, TJ Boettcher

 HD1T- Frequency of Leucocytozoon spp. Blood Parasites Found in Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Adults and Nestlings in Central Wisconsin

Frequency of Leucocytozoon spp. Blood Parasites Found in Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Adults and Nestlings in Central Wisconsin

Carter Freymiller, Luke Trittelwitz, Emmaline Belling, Alison Anthony


Adviser(s): Dr. Shelli Dubay, Matthew Hanneman

Abstract: In Wisconsin, red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus) are listed as a threatened species (Wisconsin DNR 2012). Population decline is primarily due to habitat destruction from forestry practices, civilized development, and draining of wetland nesting habitat (Bednarz and Dinsmore 1982, Jacobs and Jacobs 2002, McLeod et al. 2000). Population declines in the genus Buteo may be attributed to parasitic infections (Hayes et al., 2019), and red-shouldered hawks nest near forested wetlands where definitive hosts of blood parasites are common. Leucocytozoon is an Apicomplexan parasite and either blackflies (Simulium species) or a biting midge serve as their definitive host and birds serve as the intermediate host (Nahm et al. 1997). Leucocytozoon spp. can cause anorexia, emaciation, and extreme limb weakness (Bates 2004). Little is known about blood parasites of raptors, although previous research on red-shouldered hawks showed that nestlings can be heavily parasitized. Our goal was to determine the baseline prevalence of Leucocytozoon in red-shouldered hawks in Central Wisconsin. Red-shouldered hawk nests were located from March to May 2020 and sampled while nestlings were still present in June of 2020. Blood samples were taken from adults and nestlings to assess the presence of Leucocytozoon. Morphometric data were also taken, including mass, tail length, wing chord, and fat scores. Determining the extent to which red-shouldered hawks are infected with Leucocytozoon will help us understand how parasitic loads are changing within the environment and how we can better manage wildlife afflicted by blood parasites. 

 WATR1T- Graphene-Based Materials in Wastewater Treatment

Graphene-Based Materials in Wastewater Treatment

Tim Lamoureux


Adviser(s): Dr. Seyed Amirfakhri

Abstract: Graphene is a carbon-based two-dimensional honeycomb structured material that has properties creating technological revolutions. Currently, Graphene has sheered its way into markets including but not limited to, anti-corrosive coatings, clothing, computing, as a concrete additive, energy storage, and wastewater treatment. The following research encompasses a review of applications for Graphene-based materials used in wastewater treatment.  Graphene Oxide expresses efficiency at treating a range of wastewater contaminants. Moreover, at a reduced cost compared to pure Graphene, Graphene Oxide exhibits several properties which permit it as a viable material for raising wastewater standards while reducing energy usage in wastewater treatment. Graphene Oxide is hydrophilic and corrosion-resistant so water containing harsh chemicals can easily flow through it without degrading its properties. Controlling the ability of water to flow through Graphene Oxide is essential for the ability to improve wastewater filtration by limiting the flow of contaminants while still allowing water to easily flow through. By intercalating π bonds of Graphene Oxide with polycyclic π conjugated cations, a relationship between the filters' ability to reject contaminants is expressed based on the concentration of the polycyclic material. For example, Graphene Oxide nano-filters have been used to filter salts within the pulp and paper industry, and for the adsorption of organic compounds such as dyes and pharmaceuticals. Through simulation and testing, optimal polycyclic materials for intercalating with Graphene Oxide could further improve Graphene Oxide filtration practicality influencing economic motive for industrial Graphene Oxide water filtration implementations. 

 WILD1T- Influence of hard mast production on bait site visitation frequency of Ursus americanus 

Influence of hard mast production on bait site visitation frequency of Ursus americanus 

Arthur Young


Adviser(s): Dr. Cady Sartini, Nathan Kluge

Abstract: Multiple studies have found a negative correlation between the abundance of hard mast and the hunting success of hunting bears with bait. Even though the interaction between hard mast production and hunter success has been examined in other states, a similar study in Wisconsin is useful because of its unique combination of hunting methods and an extended baiting season. The objective of this study is to examine how hard mast production affects the frequency of bears visiting bait sites. Ten bait sites with trail cameras were installed in two central Wisconsin counties from August third to October third. A hard mast index was created for the all the counties within the bear management zones by sampling ten random locations within each county for acorn abundance. The number of minutes a bear was present each day as well as the estimated hard mast availability were calculated for each site. We expect to find that as mast production decreases, the visitation rates of bears at bait sites will increase. We hope that the correlation between mast production and bait site visitation will be strong enough that an annual, regional hard mast survey can be used to help predict hunter success rates in Wisconsin counties.

 WILD2T- Evaluating Wild Turkey Brood Activity Levels in Wisconsin Using Snapshot Wisconsin Trail Camera Images

Evaluating Wild Turkey Brood Activity Levels in Wisconsin Using Snapshot Wisconsin Trail Camera Images

Shelby Truckenbrod


Adviser(s): Dr. Jason Riddle, Emily Buege Donovan, Hannah Butkiewicz, Christopher Pollentier, Jennifer Stenglein

Abstract: The Eastern Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) was successfully reintroduced to Wisconsin in the 1970s and is currently found in every county throughout the state. Populations have traditionally been monitored through fall and spring harvest and brood observation surveys. Trail cameras may offer an effective, cost-efficient alternative method for monitoring wild turkey populations. For this study, we reviewed and classified Snapshot Wisconsin trail camera images of wild turkeys from 2016 to 2019 based on sex and age class. Our objective was to determine the level of brood activity between May and August in forested, open, and developed landscapes. We defined “activity level” as the number of triggers or events/camera/unit time. We hypothesized that there would be a difference in (1) the number of brood triggers and events, (2) brood activity between dawn/dusk hours and daylight hours in open, forested, and developed landscapes, and (3) brood activity between May to June and July to August. The Snapshot Wisconsin program provides a novel way to observe long-term brood activity trends at unprecedented spatial scales. 

 WILD3T- Waterfowl Distributions and Habitat Use on Pool 8 of the Mississippi River During Autumn Migration

Waterfowl Distributions and Habitat Use on Pool 8 of the Mississippi River During Autumn Migration

Casey Kroening


Adviser(s): Dr. Benjamin Sedinger, Kirsten Schmidt, Stephen Winter

Abstract: Migrating waterfowl can meet their nutritional demands by foraging at stopover locations during migration.  Nutritional demands are species specific so the distribution of waterfowl species is dependent on the occurrence of their preferred forage types.  Distributions of waterfowl species can also be influenced by predation risk and other behaviors not related to foraging.  The Mississippi River corridor is an important migratory pathway for many waterfowl species traveling to and from their breeding grounds.  We used 2017-2019 vegetation data from the Long Term Resource Monitoring Program (USGS) and waterfowl aerial survey data (USFWS) from pool 8 on the Mississippi River to examine how two species, Canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) and Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), distribute themselves relative to the common waterfowl foods, wild rice Zizania aquatica and wild celery vallisneria americana.  We also examined how hunting disturbance and proximity to terrestrial environments affected the distribution of these species on pool 8 throughout the hunting season. Canvasbacks appear to be selecting areas in close proximity to wild celery, a preferred food, while mallards were generally located in closer proximity to wild rice beds and land cover. Canvasbacks and mallards used waterfowl sanctuary areas that were closed to hunting which suggests that both disturbance and food availability influence how waterfowl use the river corridor during migration.  Conclusions from this research aim to help prioritize resources selected for by various species of waterfowl during migration along the Mississippi River Corridor.

 WILD4T- Effects of Fire on Flowering of Two Prairie Forbs

Effects of Fire on Flowering of Two Prairie Forbs

Lydia Martin


Adviser(s): Dr. Cady Sartini, Rich Henderson

Abstract: Fire is an important aspect of prairie communities. Habitat managers seek to better understand how fire affected the land throughout history and how prairie plants adapted to it. I examined flowering rates of two native wildflowers, Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida) and Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), in areas that had been burned in the current year compared to those that were left unburned. In the burned areas, I also looked at the time since that area had last been burned: two years previously and four years previously. Flowers and plants of both species were counted by quadrat sampling on transects. From there, I calculated the percentage of individuals flowering, flowering stem count per flowering individual, and flowering stem count per individual. Data analysis is ongoing, but I expect to find higher rates of flowering in plants in the burned area when compared to the unburned area. Higher flowering rates along with synchrony have been shown to increase plant reproduction. Habitat managers can use this data to help increase reproduction and make management and restoration more efficient. 

 WILD5T- Effects separation has on the behavior of captive African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)

Effects separation has on the behavior of captive African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)

Lauren Welvaert


Adviser(s): Darian Livanec, Dallas Zoo Carnivore Team

Abstract: Due to the species' reclusive nature in the wild and their endangered status, little data has been collected to understand African Wild Dog pack dynamics and behavior. This study focuses on how the absence of a male member of the Dallas Zoos’ small African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) pack, named Mzingo, affects the amount of time his brother and littermate, Jata, spent alone with the newly introduced female, Cholula. Tensions were high over how the brothers might react to the presence of the new female due to a previous attempt in 2019 to introduce an older female, Olah, which ended in a fatal incident. After the initial introduction of Cholula to the brothers, small scuffles and chases with the new female as the target led to zoologists making the decision to separate Mzingo from the pack. The null hypothesis, “Mzingos absence had no effect on the time Jata spent with Cholula and the time Cholula spent with Jata,” was created to better understand the influence Mzingo’s presence had on Cholula and Jata’s  relationship. Interns collected data from the roof of the carnivore building which overlooked the Wild Dog habitat. This allowed for optimum visibility and the ability to collect auditory behaviors that would be missed on security cameras. Collected behavioral data was split into three categories: Before Mzingos Separation, During Mzingos Separation, and After Mzingos Separation. A t-test was performed to understand the statistical significance of how the separation affected Jata and Cholulas relationship. This data can be used for future reference by other captive facilities facing similar challenges, and provides zoologists the opportunity to decide if separation is the solution to their struggles. Since the end of the data collection period and internship, the dogs have been reportedly doing well.

 WILD6T- Parasite Communities in Populations of Greater and Lesser Scaup in Green Bay, WI

Parasite Communities in Populations of Greater and Lesser Scaup in Green Bay, WI

Allison Luebke, Nicole Lueck, Gina Magro 


Adviser(s): Dr. Sarah Orlofske

Abstract: Across North America Greater and Lesser Scaup populations have declined over the last few decades. In Wisconsin, major die offs of scaup along the Mississippi River have been linked to non-native trematode (flatworm) parasites. Scaup have diverse and abundant parasite communities because of their habitat use, behavior and diet. Our research goal is to survey parasites of scaup, including potentially pathogenic trematodes, in the Green Bay, WI area since very little data has been collected on scaup parasites in this region of the state. We predict that scaup with higher parasite loads could potentially suffer from pathology or mortality. We obtained waterfowl carcasses donated from hunters during the 2019 and 2020 season. A total of 20 birds were dissected into their major organs and each was inspected for parasites using standardized protocols. Any parasites we found were separated by major taxonomic group, counted, and identified the lowest taxonomic level possible using morphological traits. We found a diversity of different parasites in scaup with cestodes (tapeworms) being the most abundant endoparasites. Arthropods including lice and mites were detected on feathers. Specimens from the Phyla Acanthocephala and Nematoda were also identified. In our focal parasite group of trematodes, we found representatives of 9 families and all three of the pathogenic introduced trematodes: Leyogonimus sp., Cyathocotyle sp. and Sphaeridotrema sp. The average number of parasites in females was only slightly higher than males with a total of 95 and compared to 81. Our research uncovered a high diversity and abundance of parasites within the scaup population. Our future goals include comparing our parasite inventory to published data for scaup from other regions. Monitoring parasites in scaup is important for waterfowl management to better describe the distribution of pathogenic species as well as understand the species interactions with the native parasite community.  

 WILD7T- Compared Morphometrics of Northern Saw-Whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) Trapped in Sandhill Wildlife Area and Schmeeckle Reserve

Compared Morphometrics of Northern Saw-Whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus) Trapped in Sandhill Wildlife Area and Schmeeckle Reserve

Michaela Meehl, Carter Freymiller, Aiden Gehrke, Madison Fell, Cole Suckow


Adviser(s): Dr. Jason Riddle

Abstract: The Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (NSWO) is a mesopredator within upland ecosystems that can be found as far North as Central Canada and Alaska and will migrate as far south as Central Mexico. NSWOs migrate in the fall from September until December, peaking around mid-October, and this species is relatively abundant in Central Wisconsin during this time. Our project is interested in studying the migration patterns of these owls. From 2007 to 2019, this project was conducted at Sandhill Wildlife Area, a 9,000-acre wildlife refuge in Babcock, WI, operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Over 1,000 NSWOs have been captured at Sandhill. The 2020 trapping season was conducted at Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, WI. Schmeeckle Reserve is a 280-acre nature area and wildlife refuge located North of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point campus. During the 2020 NSWO trapping season, 20 NSWOs were captured using call-playback devices and mist-nets. The owls were banded using USGS aluminum leg bands, contributing to National banding data on Northern Saw-whet Owls. The methods and protocols used at Schmeeckle Reserve were identical to those used at Sandhill to minimize bias. We are interested in comparing how the population of birds caught at Schmeeckle in the 2020 season corresponds to the population of owls at Sandhill and determining the effect of an urban environment on the activity of NSWOs. Morphometrics comparing weight, sex, and age will determine if the populations of owls are similar between locations. Further research will examine the time of capture to determine if NSWOs in Schmeeckle, representing urban environments, are active at different times of night than the owls in Sandhill Wildlife Area, representing rural environments. We hypothesize that the NSWOs in urban areas will be active later in the night compared with owls in rural areas due to the presence of auditory interference and will therefore have a later average time of capture than the owls in rural locations.  

​​ ​