Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Celebrate Accomplishments in 2021

USGS Cooperative Research Unit Corner

Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Celebrate Accomplishments in 2021

Fiscal year 2021 (FY2021) has been an exciting year at the CRU program, as documented in our brand-new “Year in Review” report. The companion file 2020 Research Abstracts includes most of the ongoing or recently completed research. I wanted to use this month’s CRU Corner story to provide a broad overview of the exceptional work being done across the country.

University of Arizona graduate students iimplant transmitter into smallmouth bass-redeye bass hybrid

Kaitlyn Gahl, graduate student at Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (sitting), and Elizabeth EbadiRad, undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, implant transmitter into smallmouth bass-redeye bass hybrid to identify habitat use and movement patterns of fish in Arizona.

Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

By the numbers, the CRU staff and students have achieved truly remarkable accomplishments in FY2021. Despite the continuing global pandemic and restrictions on travel and in-person meetings, our CRU team documented the following achievements:

  • 376 scientific publications, many in top journals such as Science, Fisheries, and the Journal of Wildlife Management
  • 401 presentations at professional meetings and conferences
  • 67 university courses taught on wildlife and/or fisheries science
  • 495 current graduate students across the 41 units, including 318 Masters and 177 Doctoral students
  • 66 graduate degrees awarded, including 54 Masters and 12 Doctoral degrees

In September 2021, we officially signed the Cooperative Agreement creating our first new CRU in 15 years, at the University of Nevada-Reno. All of us at CRU Headquarters appreciate the hard work of all our partners, including USGS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), University of Nevada-Reno, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the Wildlife Management Institute, who helped bring this new unit into existence. I am especially grateful to our Western Regional Supervisor, Dr. Kevin Whalen, for his leadership in all aspects of this start-up.

We recently welcomed Dr. Cyndy Loftin as our new Northeastern Regional Supervisor. Cyndy was formerly the Unit Leader at the Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and replaces Dr. Michael Tome who served the Unit Program for many decades. We welcome Cyndy in her new role in CRU leadership and wish Mike all the best in retirement.

We also had the pleasure and privilege this year of welcoming 24 new CRU scientists into our program. We are excited about this influx of new talent and our new team members look forward to working directly with our cooperators to address pressing scientific and technical assistance needs, while at the same time training the next generation of fisheries and wildlife scientists.

At the CRU program we take our mission of helping to train new scientists and conservation leaders very seriously, and I am especially pleased at the work of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and our entire management staff to implement meaningful steps to increase diversity across our entire program. Noteworthy efforts include our continued involvement with the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership. We continue to prioritize and support these efforts at all levels of our program. New efforts for this year will include mentoring programs to support early-career scientists and professionals to help ensure their success.

We welcome the opportunities to bring cutting-edge science and build on our longstanding strengths in support of the wildlife and fisheries management programs at the state agencies and USFWS. Research areas of interest include:

  • Climate science and climate adaptation
  • Fish and wildlife disease
  • Landscape-scale conservation
  • Species of Greatest Conservation Need
  • State Wildlife Action Plans
  • Migration corridor mapping for large ungulates and other species in the western U.S.
    • Our migration corridor mapping effort, ably led by Wyoming Unit Leader Dr. Matthew Kauffman, has exciting plans to expand its efforts and map (for the very first time) all the known ungulate migration pathways in the western U.S.

The CRU program staff is comprised of excellent scientists, an outstanding administrative staff, and very dedicated leadership that all work together to meet our mission. However, none of this could be accomplished without the tremendous support from each cooperator.

Thank you to all our partners and friends who contribute to this success.

The ONB features articles from Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units, U.S. Geological Survey. The Units are leading exciting, new fish and wildlife research projects that we believe our readers will appreciate reading about. This story was written by Jonathan Mawdsley, Chief, Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Program, USGS.

Photo Credit
Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
March 16, 2022