Whisper - Volume 6 - April 2019

vol6-dear-friends.jpgDear Friends,

This past weekend we celebrated Decision Day. All newly accepted students were invited to campus, and we were there to welcome them. On the board, student filled in what they are most excited for at UC Davis.

Please take a moment to scroll through our quarterly newsletter highlighting the Department of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology.
Keep in touch by following our Facebook and Instagram pages, sending us an email, or dropping by one of our department seminars.

Nann Fangue and Pernille Sporon Bøving

vol6-picnicday.pngWFCB Picnic Day Exhibit Nominated for Planet Earth Award - This Saturday

The Dept. of WFCB annual Picnic Day Exhibit “Wild About Wildlife” has been nominated for the Picnic Day peoples’ choice Planet Earth Award.  Annually the Student Chapters of the American Fisheries Society (AFS), The Wildlife Society (TWS), and the Ecology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) man exhibits showcasing what makes WFCB great. This year’s exhibits will include live fishes from the California delta to learn to identify and explore with AFS scientists.  We’ll also have EGSA graduate student researchers showcasing their research projects. Our scientists will be ready to answer questions and are excited to share their love of wildlife and conservation biology with you.  

Finally, TWS will host fun kid-friendly animal crown craft tables.  Come visit us and be sure to vote for WFCB for the Planet Earth Award.  A QR code with the link to vote will be distributed and posted at the exhibits and on our social media the morning of Picnic Day.

What:  Picnic Day “Wild About Wildlife” WFCB Exhibits
When:  13 April 2019
Time:  10AM-3PM
Where:  1375 Academic Surge Bldg.

vol6-natgeo.jpgNational Geographic photographer Joel Sartore came to shoot Green Sturgeons in the Nann Fangue lab. The photos are now a part of The National Geographic Photo Ark - "Photographing one species-at-risk at a time.

The National Geographic Photo Ark is using the power of photography to inspire people to help save species at risk before it’s too late. Photo Ark founder Joel Sartore has photographed more than 9,000 species around the world as part of a multiyear effort to document every species living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts".

vol6-timeinecology.jpgTime in Ecology: A Theoretical Framework (Monographs in Population Biology)

by Eric Post

Ecologists traditionally regard time as part of the background against which ecological interactions play out. In this book, Eric Post argues that time should be treated as a resource used by organisms for growth, maintenance, and offspring production.

See more here

Experimental field exclosure of birds and bats in agricultural systems — Methodological insights, potential improvements, and cost-benefit trade-offs.

Experimental exclosure of birds and bats constitutes a powerful tool to study the impacts of wildlife on pests and crop yields in agricultural systems. Though widely utilized, exclosure experiments are not standardized across studies.

Read the rest here.


The official California Department of Fish and Wildlife scientific journal, California Fish and Game, is now available on-line starting with Volume 1, 1915. There is a lot of good information in the journal; the early years were less scientific but gives you a good idea of what was going on with fish and wildlife in the early years of the agency. It is still being published, as an on-line journal and is a good place to publish short papers on California biodiversity and natural history.

California Fish and Game

vol6-fledgling.jpgUnusual late July observation of a fledgling Lapland longspur in low arctic Greenland following the cool spring of 2018

We report an observation of a flightless fledgling Lapland longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) at a long-term study site near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, in late July 2018. On the basis of our observations of longspur nests at the site dating back to 1993, we estimate that the fledgling observed in 2018 may have originated from a nest initiated 12 - 37 days later than nesting in previous years

Read the rest here

vol6-eastafrica.jpgHow effective are the protected areas of East Africa?

Protected areas are the cornerstone of in situ conservation and their effective management is critical for maintaining biodiversity in the long term. In East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) there are 1,776 protected areas (including 186 “strict” protected areas with IUCN management categories I through IV) covering more than 27% of its terrestrial area.

Read the rest here

vol6-zebras.jpgBenefits of zebra stripes: Behaviour of tabanid flies around zebras and horses.

Averting attack by biting flies is increasingly regarded as the evolutionary driver of zebra stripes, although the precise mechanism by which stripes ameliorate attack by ectoparasites is unknown.

Read the rest here.

Horodas Family Foundation for Conservation Research.

Vision: The Horodas Family Foundation seeks to fund graduate student research projects focused on the conservation of biodiversity or ecosystem services. Projects should advance the graduate student’s career and also either contribute to basic conservation science or provide new approaches for conserving biodiversity or ecosystem services.  

Deadline: Three hardcopies of the proposal and all supporting materials must be in the WFCB mailbox of Dirk Van Vuren (Chair of WFCB Endowment Committee) by April 15 2019.

Please see attachment for award guidelines. Three $5000 awards will be allocated in 2019. Funds should support field or lab related research activities. Field/lab assistant salary support (local assistants or undergraduates), materials and supplies, and field travel expenses (accommodation, airfare, car rental, gasoline, etc.) are all permissible. Because the fund is focused on research activities, project budgets CANNOT include any of the following:
- Graduate student stipend and tuition
- Conference travel
- Publication fees

Note: Only graduate students advised or co-advised by a WFCB mentor are eligible to apply. Apply here.

vol6-jdaelittle.jpgA Students Perspective - Spotlight on a WFCB Major

Jade Little, Class of 2019

Describe your job/internship with or via the WFCB department and who are you working with? What has been your “take away” from being part of the project?
The WFCB department has provided me the opportunity to expand on my area of interest in conservation biology. This past summer I was selected to participate in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at Humboldt State University. My research project focused on the nesting success of pelagic cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) and compared their nesting success to oceanic conditions. This study provided information on how local-scale oceanic variations influence coastal bird species populations and provided important context for conservation efforts. My previous WFCB coursework provided me insight and support throughout this research study and I am very appreciative about the course material I have completed and excelled in.
Please tell us one of your “aha" and your “wow” moments as a WFCB student.
This past October, I presented my research at the University of California, Davis Native American Studies Graduate Symposium. My presentation, Wildlife Conservation and Indigenous Knowledge, not only focused on my research with the pelagic cormorants, but also allowed me to share my experiences as an Indigenous woman in this research study and how Indigenous Knowledge is important to include within research methodologies. Within my presentation, I discussed the concept, “Indigenizing research”, which can be defined as including Indigenous methodologies in the sciences, such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge and understanding the balance between cultural knowledge and western/institutional science. This presentation not only gave me the opportunity to share what I accomplished in my research experience, but I was also provided the opportunity to discuss how Indigeneity is shaped within the area of science and the importance of discussing culture in this field. Strengthening Indigeneity helps contribute to the diversification in sciences. Presenting one’s own research through a personal perspective contributes to the diversification of sciences, as it not only shows one’s passion for the sciences, but also what drives one to continue their research for the betterment of Unci Maka (Mother Earth). This was one of the moments of my education I cherish forever and has inspired me to continue my graduate education by balancing my identity and research interests in wildlife.
If you had a line of advice for current WFCB students, what would it be?
One line of advice I would provide for WFCB students is to become involved with multiple communities on campus and to learn about the diversity present in our world. Many cultures have great knowledge pertaining to wildlife and it is very important to ensure these individuals/cultures are acknowledged and/or present in all spaces.
What would be your dream job after you graduate?
I plan to pursue graduate school in fields such as wildlife biology/health, conservation, and environmental sciences with an integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge. One of my goals is to work with Indigenous communities in their wildlife, fish, and forestry departments and learn about their methods of wildlife management. In addition, another goal is to become a professor and teach courses discussing the balance between Indigenous knowledge and wildlife conservation.

vol6-tallman.jpgTaking It To The Next Level - Spotlight on a WFCB Graduate Student

Rachelle Tallman, MS student in Ecology

Describe your project with the WFCB department and who are you working with?
I’m currently working on the Yolo Bypass looking at salmon survival between those reared in modified floodplains (rice fields) versus those in a laboratory/hatchery setting. I’ve spent the last two months rearing fish within the Yolo Bypass and at Academic Surge. I hope to tag my fish with devices that would allow me to monitor their outmigration to Golden Gate Bridge. I currently work with Andrew Rypel from WFCB and Paul Buttner from the California Rice Commission.

How did you get involved in the project? What has been your “take away” from being part of the project?
I met with my advisor just prior to applying for graduate school and he mentioned that there were two possible projects I could work on as part of my masters thesis. Based on my previous work experience I thought this would be a good fit for me because it included my interest in adaptive management. The biggest “take away” I have from this project was the amount of people it took to get the project off the ground. My project wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing staff that helped me implement the study design.

Please tell us one of your “aha” and your “wow” moments as a graduate student.
I knew this from previous experience however it was still eye-opening to see how quickly things can change when your research is subject to the whims of the environment. Being adaptable and flexible is absolutely necessary in this field, and this has been particularly highlighted in my experience as a graduate student.

If you had advice for current WFCB undergraduate students/prospective graduate students, what would it be?
For undergrads: Don’t be afraid to take a few years off between graduation and grad school. Some of the best experiences that I have had in this field were the jobs that I had after my undergraduate career. I feel like these jobs have given me a valuable perspective into this field that I otherwise wouldn’t have obtained.
For potential grad students: Hang in there! I know it’s not always easy trying to get your application together while maintaining a job and keeping up with friends and family. Graduate school isn’t easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding and the experiences you gain, the people you meet, and what you can contribute to current knowledge all make graduate school worth it.

What would be your dream job after you receive your graduate degree?
I would really like to work with an agency like the CDFW or UFWS to apply more adaptive management
strategies to improve current management plans.  

vol6-goodearly.jpgWhere Are They Now? - Spotlight on a WFCB Alumni

Name: Tyler Goodearly

Bachelor's of Science in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology 2015

MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.

What is your current job?
My official title is Pupfish Restoration Project Manager. I am working for a nonprofit called the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) and stationed at the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve in the Coachella Valley.
Could you describe one of your typical workdays?
I’ve been hired specifically to restore a desert oasis to a condition that allows for the oasis to be used as a refugium for the endangered desert pupfish Cyprinodon macularis. The first step of restoration is to remove the invasive species the currently reside in the oasis: red swamp crayfish and tilapia.  
For the first month or so, my days were spent poring over research and developing a crayfish and tilapia eradication plan. Now my days are spent executing the plan. I have aquaria set up in a lab to test the effects of eradication techniques on the invasive species. I also spend a lot of time in the field collecting pre-restoration, baseline data. These data include water parameters (temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, salinity, pH, and flow) and biological parameters (crayfish trapping, benthic macroinvertebrate surveys, and macrophyte surveys).
In a typical week, I spend about half my time in the lab and half my time in the field.
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
Researching, understanding, and applying restoration strategies are fundamental. On a personal level, this job requires that I am self-motivated and dedicated because most days I am out here by myself. The reports coming from this project require statistical analysis and maps, I use R and R-Studio to run my stats and ArcGIS to make maps.
What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
I find that working alone can be quite difficult, especially coming from a school environment where there’s a sense of collectivity that, even if you are working alone, it doesn’t feel so isolating.
It is also difficult interacting with the visitors of the preserve who disrespect the environment by going off trail, harassing wildlife, or picking flowers. There’s an essay by Jack London called “The Golden Poppy” that describes my situation with uncanny similarities.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I am living the dream right now. I love my job, I love being able to work outside, I love watching the roadrunners and the coyotes, I love watching the caterpillars inhale flowers, I love watching the great horned owlets fledge. I could go on and on.
I suppose my favorite thing about this job is that I feel like I am really making a difference.
What advice do you have for current WFCB students?
Take the California Native Plants class! I cannot emphasize this enough, I did not take this class and I deeply regret it. It is a necessary part of every job I’ve had to be able to identify plants and it has been a struggle for me. Take this class! And learn and use Latin names.

vol6-corner.pngStudent Conservation Corner - A Blog

Vaccinating Wildlife for Conservation?
By Emma Deal

Where UC Davis students in WFCB tell stories about wildlife and conservation science. Read the story here

vol6-putah.jpgThe Putah Creek Nestbox Highway - A Blog

First Family Moves Into North Davis Nest Box Neighborhood -
By Alison Ke

Three weeks ago, we saw two feathers: the first signs of tree swallows investigating the real estate by North Davis Ponds. Read the story here

vol6-roaches.jpgRoaches of California - Hidden Biodiversity in a Native Minnow - From California WaterBlog

by Peter B. Moyle

If you inspect small streams in northern California, including those that seem too small or warm for anyfish, you will often see minnows swimming in the clear water. Chances are you are seeing a very distinctive native Californian, usually called California roach. This fish is a complex of species that occurs as far north as Oregon tributaries to Goose Lake and is widespread in tributaries to the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, as well as in rivers along the coast from the Eel River to Monterey... Read the story here

vol6-seminars.jpgDepartment Seminars - All are Welcome

What: WFCB seminar series where graduate students, research staff, post docs, alumni and faculty showcase their latest work. The seminar features 15 minute presentations by 3 people, each followed by a 5 minute Q&A. It's a great way to learn about all the research within WFCB.
When: Wednesday 4/24, @ 4:10 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Where: 1138 Foster Room in Meyer Hall on UCD Campus


Your gifts provide the extra support that enables our students and faculty to reach their fullest potential. Your gifts support experiential learning opportunities, allow scientists to be especially innovative in their research, and keep undergraduate and graduate training financially accessible.

Please contact Pam Pacelli, Sr. Director of Development pmpacelli@ucdavis.edu 530.867.3679 or department chair Nann Fangue nafangue@ucdavis.edu for more information or to discuss impactful gift opportunities. Giving is also easy online.

advisors.jpgConnect With Our 2018/19 Advising Team

Eric Post (Master Adviser)
Danielle Huddlestun (Staff Adviser)
Thalia Badger (Peer Adviser)
Jessica Chalfin (Peer Adviser)

Contact them here: wfcbadvising@ucdavis.edu