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Douglas Lake Report A Special Report to Alumni & Friends of the University of Michigan Biological Station

Fall 2010

Where the Wolves Are by Nell Gable

In the summer of 2010, a wolf pup was trapped by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Cheboygan County, Michigan. For the first time in over 100 years, there was the potential for a growing wolf population in the Lower Peninsula. USDA Wildlife Services wolf specialist Don Lonsway parked his immense, fully loaded truck outside of our classroom. The truck looked scary and intimidating but Don did not. He had a smaller build, with a gray scruffy beard and warm brown eyes. He spoke slowly and deliberately, not trying to impress anyone as he introduced himself to the classroom full of eager listeners.

He explained the process of trapping, taking blood samples and radio collaring wolves. He first digs a small hole, in which he buries the foot trap. He explained how he modifies the trap himself, transforming it from a harsh metal claw, into a humane contraption that does not harm the animal. He then conceals the trap with foliage, and applies scent lures. The finished product is a patch of land just like any other, invisible to any eye except for his, designed to catch only wolf paws. Don then explained the handling of the trapped wolf, telling us how he puts it down using a specific amount of tranquillizer, at which point he completely holds the wolf ’s see WOLVES, p. 6

UMBS prepared for new NSF Requirements by Kyle S. Kwaiser

Recently, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that all future proposals will be required to include a Data Management Plan ( policy/dmp.jsp). The upshot of this requirement is that investigators must include a description of the products that will result from proposed research as well as policies

and plans that will make these products publicly available. What are the implications of this policy for UMBS researchers? In truth, thanks to effective presaging by the NSF and early action from Knute Nadelhoffer and Karie Slavik, UMBS has already developed the tools investigators will need to meet these see NSF, p. 5



calendar SKI WEEKENDS February 4-6 February 11-13 GARDEN PARTY March 12 SPRING term May 22-June 18 MINI-COURSES June 15-19 SUMMER term June 25August 20 Friends & Alumni Weekend August 25-28

Director's Notes

Knute Nadelhoffer UMBS Director

It’s great to be back! Having spent September 1 through June 1 on sabbatical provided me an outside view of the Biological Station through the fall and winter, a critical time of planning and outreach for our unit. My sincere thanks to Professor Phil Myers for serving so well as Acting Director and to Associate Director Karie Slavik for advancing on-going projects and tackling important issues arising over the year. It was a wonderful sabbatical, allowing me to better engage with researchers and students in my laboratories (at U-M and UMBS), work with collaborators in New England and various North American field stations, and engage legislators and policy makers in discussions about science and the environment. This latter activity involved visits to US Senate offices in November and to the US House of Representatives during the 40th Earth Day anniversary in April, as well as my participation in US Global Change Research Program and US Forest Service science workshops focused on Great Lakes region climate change and natural resources. All in all, the sabbatical was a great opportunity to tie our science to important policy matters within the Great Lakes and at national and international scales. While on sabbatical, I continued working with the Biological Station to prepare for our external review. This review brought field station directors and scientists from peer universities to our Douglas Lake campus last July to evaluate our research, education and outreach programs. The review report they provided in October was a strong endorsement, characterizing ours as being among the top-tier of field stations nationwide. In addition to highlighting our strengths, it provided candid and helpful suggestions for improvements, which we are acting upon as 2

we plan for an exciting future. I am greatly appreciative of the staff effort leading up to this on-site review, of the time taken by students, faculty, and researchers for speaking with the review team, and of the reviewers for their hard work and the valuable report they provided. Other summer 2010 visitors included U-M Vice President for Research Stephen Forrest, Vice President for Communications David Lampe, Assistant Vice-President for Development Beth Halloran, Director of Foundation Relations Maureen Martin, Executive Director of U-M Plant Operations Rich Robben and LSA Director of Major Gifts Martha Luckham, all of whom visited us for the first time. LSA Associate Dean for Natural Sciences Myron Campbell visited twice, once during the external review and again during the end of Summer Term student symposium. All took opportunities to talk with staff, faculty, researchers, and students and to visit research facilities. Steven Forrest took the opportunity to meet with our External Advisory Committee as well. I am delighted, but not surprised, to report that all of these guests were impressed with the scope of our operations, the diversity of our research and educational offerings, and our potential for leadership in addressing regional and global environmental scientific issues. Of the many who have worked at UMBS, two achieved milestones this year. One, Sharon Shattuck, alumna-turned-filmmaker, brought her documentary, “Parasites: A User’s Guide” to our campus for its unofficial Michigan premier. This creative and engaging film, which includes footage from Douglas Lake and of Station faculty and alumni, has gone on to showings at the Traverse City see DIRECTOR, p. 7

Station News Bug Camp Stewards to the Rescue The ever-busy Bug Camp Stewards made many noticeable improvements to the Station by the end of summer. Among their projects was construction of an observation tower near Hilltop Housing. Views from the tower (left) approximate those visible from the old fire lookout tower that was dismantled in the 1990's. The Stewards also brought trail steps and handrails to the 3 lone cabins in “Siberia" (right).


Community Garden Joins Station Amenities

The Dining Hall will have a new roof before the start of the 2011 season. LSA Facilities was very helpful in supporting this major undertaking. Residents will soon be able to wash clothes using high-efficiency machines that replace some of the standard machines currently in use.

Trail Blazers Bob Vande Kopple and Kyle Kwaiser teamed up to post trail markers on both Grapevine and Pine Point trails. The markers have satellite images with trails, “You are here” markers, and distances superimposed on top. Take advantage of the new signs by signing up for a Ski Weekend in February.

2010 marked the arrival of a multi-purpose community garden at the Biological Station. Located adjacent to the Greenhouse, the plot held three different types of gardens: food production, ethnobotanical and experimental. The Ethnobotany class developed the ethnobotanical garden and the summer General Ecology class used the experimental section to study plant competition between agricultural crops. Nate Lada, a former Biological Station student and 2010 UMBS Research Assistant, managed the food production garden. He worked with Dining Hall Manager Laurie Brooke to coordinate planting and harvest schedules with the menus. The goal of the garden was to educate the UMBS community about sustainable gardening and to provide supplemental produce for the dining hall. In its first season, the garden produced on average enough food to supplement two dining hall meals per week for at least 200 people per meal. In addition, the garden successfully composted all vegetable kitchen waste as well as some additional food wastes from the dining hall. For a recap of the food gardening season, read Nate's blog at

Paperback History of UMBS Now Available Former UMBS Director David Gates has written A History of the University of Michigan Biological Station: 1909-2009. The book's narrative and wealth of photos are sure to be treasured by Station alumni and friends. You may order copies from the Douglas Lake office (231-539-8408) or directly from Lulu (see the UMBS website for the Lulu link). detail from new UMBS Trail Map


Scholarship Honors Long-Time Faculty Couple Former students, family, and friends of Dr. Frederick H. Test are providing funds to establish the Fred and Avery Test Scholarship Fund for the Biological Station. Larry Wolf, Fred Test’s nephew, is the organizer of this effort. The fund will be used to benefit students at the University of Michigan Biological Station with financial need. It pays tribute to an admired and delightful couple from the Station’s past. Avery Test passed away in 1998, and Fred in March of this year. According to Larry Wolf, when he “was thinking about how to honor the memory of my uncle and aunt, Fred and Avery Test, the importance of teaching and learning in their lives, along with their love of the time they spent at UMBS, immediately suggested an endowed scholarship, named for them, that would continue their legacy with future generations of students at this world-class field station. I believe they would be very pleased that, through this scholarship fund honoring their memories, they are able to help students attend UMBS.” Fred Test was an eminent zoologist and distinguished field biologist. He was a Pro-

fessor of Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan and taught Vertebrate Biology at the Station for more than 20 years. He enjoyed a long marriage to Avery (Grant) Test. Avery Test was also a scientist, having earned her Ph.D. in zoology and working as a researcher at U-M. The Tests were the quintessential academic couple with keen, persistent intellects matched only by the warmth of their personalities. Avery is remembered as a welcoming presence to all and an impeccable judge of character. She was an avid and skilled swimmer who taught many UMBS children and adults how to swim. Fred was known for always being pleasant, informed, and patient in conversation. His dapper field attire left a lasting impression on many of his students. The Tests eventually built a cottage on the north shore of Douglas Lake. From that base they enjoyed canoeing Douglas Lake and berry picking along its shores. Visitors from the Station were always warmly received at the Test cottage. Thank you to Mary Scholtens for her help in writing this article.

In Memorium

Dr. Fred Test at the Biological Station, 1964.

UMBS Faculty Emeritus Frederick (Fred) H. Test died March 26, 2010 in Asheville, North Carolina. He was 97. Dr. Test touched many students’ lives during his tenure at the Station. He taught Vertebrate Biology from 1951 to 1955, and from 1957 to 1972. Dr. Test taught as a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan and was awarded the title 4

Professor Emeritus in 1978. He was named Honorary Professor by the Central University of Venezuela where he taught during periods of leave from the University of Michigan. He was the author of more than 50 scientific publications and served as the Associate Editor of the journal Ecology. As a field biologist, Dr. Test he had a profound influence on the study of biology. He established a field protocol which is still used. Dr. Test received U-M’s Ruth M. Sinclair Award for Excellence in Counseling in 1974, reflecting his impact on numerous Ph.D. candidates who continue his legacy

NSF from front page

site gazetteer (a fun, interactive map), and a list of research projects and investigators. Users may navigate to the Gateway from the UMBS website “Research” section, or directly at

A screen shot of the Research Gateway shows its search menus and home page highlights.


Kyle Kwaiser is the Station's Information Manager.


requirements. Researchers merely need to understand and include them in their Data Management Plans. What tools are available to help researchers adapt to NSF’s new policy? First among these is the Station’s new Data Management Policy ( datapolicy), which outlines the rights and responsibilities of the Station and its researchers with respect to the submission and release of metadata and data. The policy is based on policies already in place at the University of Michigan and the Long-Term Ecological Research Network. It has undergone reviews by the UMBS Community, the U-M General Counsel and the UMBS Faculty Executive committee and is now considered an active policy. To facilitate both parties in upholding these new responsibilities a data management website, the UMBS Research Gateway, was launched in the Spring 2010. The Research Gateway is a powerful data management tool. It stores data and metadata in an attractive and user-friendly format and is currently being expanded to give researchers the ability to submit and manage their own data sets and project information. From the Gateway, one can also view the Station’s research bibliography, its research of teaching excellence and meticulously accurate field research. Dr. Test was educated in the public schools of Lafayette, Indiana. He earned a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University, a Master’s degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkley. Memorials may be made to Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community (1617 Hendersonville Road, Asheville, NC 28803) or to the Fred and Avery Test Scholarship Fund at the University of Michigan (3003 South State Street, Suite 9000, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109).



UT R INP U YO UMBS staff is seeking reader input on two items. FIRST, we are eager to deliver this newsletter electronically to as many readers as wish to receive it in non-paper form. Please e-mail with your name, postal address, and e-mail address if you prefer that we change your Douglas Lake Report delivery medium from paper to digital. SECOND, we are in the earliest stages of planning a "Friends and Alumni of the Biological Station (FABS) Weekend" for August 25-28, 2011. It is intended to recapture the fun and spirit of the 2008 Centennial celebration. To that end, it would be helpful to know what you want to do during the FABS weekend. Send your field trip and activity suggestions to And mark your calendars now for the FABS weekend. We hope to see you there.

WOLVES, from front page

life in his hands. He must ensure that its body temperature does not plummet or spike, and that it can breathe properly. He then described the process of reversing the anesthetic, which causes the animal to wake up after being collared. He added that he prefers to hold the animal for a while so that it will not stumble, fall and hurt itself when it awakes. He does this despite the obvious danger to himself. He dispelled many of the false attributes given to wolves. He stressed that they are curious creatures and that when they encounter humans they will often circle them, assess the situation and move on—just as interested in us as we are in them. He told us of instances where he was inspecting wolf pups, and found that the alpha male would escort him to and from the den, with the alpha female bringing up the rear. After sharing strange and fascinating stories, Don thanked the class, and as a surprise, told us that he would be willing to allow students to ride along with him on some days when he checked traps.

"Wolves are not afraid of humans; people want an animal to fear them."

No wolves or tracks in sight We pulled out of the Station and I could not help but get my hopes up as we drove to check the first of about 15 carefully concealed traps. As we drove down backcountry roads, I asked Don the slew of questions I had stored up in my mind since hearing his talk to my Field Mammalogy class. His answers to my questions were simple and unpreten6

tious. He remained staunchly unbiased, always taking on a utilitarian point of view about the wolves, yet he seemed bothered by how little people have adapted to the idea of wolves since the years when they were being hunted ruthlessly. When I asked why he thought this was the case he replied, “Wolves are not afraid of humans; people want an animal to fear them.” Generation after generation has vilified the wolves despite their lack of real threat to the public. As Don and I discussed these convolutions, we stopped to check several traps. There were no wolves or tracks in sight. Don joked, “We won’t find them here if they are caught in a trap down the road.” We climbed back into the truck, still hopeful. Trap after trap came up empty and while we saw dozens of deer prints, there were no new wolf prints in sight. Several days later, a wolf pup was caught. The event was even more momentous than the original wolf sightings, because it proved that pups had been born in the Lower Peninsula for the first time in a century. No group was more thrilled than my mammalogy class because two of our own were there to witness the processing of the wolf pup, allowing our class to be among the first people in Michigan to see the pictures of the gangly, green‐eyed pup, being handled by Don. Don was able to do all of the processing without administering anesthetic and the pup was released after a short time, un‐harmed. The news spread, first throughout the Station, and then throughout all of Michigan, and while many were pleased, the event carried mixed implications. Don reminded us that these wolves were smart and would certainly learn from their missteps. This meant that the adult wolves, which the DNR was really after, would be warier from now on. In early August, Don parked his truck in front of our classroom one last time to

say goodbye, explaining that he needed to respond to depredation cases in the Upper Peninsula. Fast-forward to a scene in a grassy meadow which is said to be a rendezvous site for the local wolves. In the middle of the field sits a biologist, an ornithologist, a mammalogist, a poet and a dozen or so students including myself; all of us here on this night to hear wolves howl. I wait quietly beneath the stars surrounded by the stillness of the trees. I hear the wolf howl recording, intended to elicit howls in response, and hope they hear it too. Several seconds pause, followed by a chorus of yips and cries in the distant forest. It could just be dogs or coyotes, but after a summer of fruitless searching, I let myself believe that the sound is coming from where the wolves are. Nell Gable is a junior at the University of Michigan. She is a History major with a minor in Program in the Environment. She took Field Mammalogy and Environmental Writing and Great Lakes Literature at the Station this past summer. This essay is the product of her two UMBS class experiences and was selected as the Environmental Writing project for the end of summer student symposium.

DIRECTOR, from p. 2

Film Festival, the Nevada City Film Festival, and the International Science Film Festival in Athens, Greece. Featured among Sharon’s experts in “Parasites,” is our resident parasitologist, Professor Harvey Blankespoor, who announced his retirement this year from our teaching faculty. Generations of students have been beneficiaries of Harvey’s wideranging knowledge in the field of parasitology, as well as his gentle wisdom and amazing stories. We note his retirement with well wishes and thankfulness for all he has shared with us. We have accomplished much, but there is much more to do. Our world’s needs for young scientists, such as we are helping to train at the Biological Station, and for the scientific information produced during this training are increasing. We hope you all will continue to support the Biological Station as we work to fill these needs.

Canis lupus Updatus This brings the total number of young wolves in the lower peninsula to three, including the one Don Lonsway tagged this summer. MDNRE plans to track the collared pups at least once a week. It will help biologists learn the scope of their territory and get survival data. Jennifer said MDNRE is also trying to spread the word to hunters that “If they see ‘coyotes,’ look twice and make sure they’re not aiming at a wolf.”

Jennifer Kleitch, Wildlife Biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, reported in early November that two more wolf pups have been trapped. Both were females in good health. One weighed 49 pounds, the other, 41. Because of their good health and size, MDNRE Wildlife Technician Jeff Lukowski was able to put a radio collar on each pup. Thus far the two wolves have stayed in northern Cheboygan County This is the same area where wolf tracks were verified last winter.


University of Michigan

BIOLOGICAL STATION 2541 Chemistry Building 930 N. University Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1055 Douglas Lake Report Published by the University of Michigan Biological Station at Douglas Lake, Pellston, Michigan 49769. Campus Office: 2541 Chemistry Building, 930 North University Ave., Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1055. Phone: (734) 763-4461 E-mail: Web: Director: Knute Nadelhoffer Associate Director: Karie Slavik © 2010 University of Michigan

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all people regardless of race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam-era veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the University's Director of Affirmative Action and Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator, 4005 Wolverine Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1281, (734) 763-0235, TDD (734) 647-1388. For other University of Michigan information call (734) 764-1817 THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Julia Donovan Darlow, Ann Arbor; Laurence B. Deitch, Bingham Farms; Denise Ilitch, Bingham Farms; Olivia P. Maynard, Goodrich; Andrea Fischer Newman, Ann Arbor; Andrew C. Richner, Grosse Pointe Park; S. Martin Taylor, Grosse Pointe Farms; Katherine E. White, Ann Arbor; Mary Sue Coleman (ex officio)

2011 Mini-Courses

Printed on 100% Post Consumer Recycled Paper

The 2011 roster of enrichment minicourses includes a mix of old favorites and exciting debuts. Mini-courses run from June 15-19. Registration will be available on the UMBS website or by calling the Pellston office beginning January 4, 2011. Consider taking one of the following:

Lower and Upper Peninsulas to observe and collect plants in alkaline and acidic habitats. State listed invasive and rare and endangered species will also be discussed. C. Barre Hellquist is a Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Past Cultural Landscapes of Northern Michigan: Archaeological Field Study; Meghan Howey

Explore food systems “from farm to fork.” We will discuss sustainable production methods, visit local farms, gather ecological data in agricultural settings, and talk with local farmers about production methods. Katie Goodall received her Master’s degree in Natural Resources at the University of Michigan and is currently a PhD student at the University of Vermont.

Immerse yourself in anthropological archaeology and the perspective it provides on preColombian Northern Michigan history. Participants will be treated as active members of an archaeological research team, with hands-on excavation and field trips to places of cultural significance across the region. Meghan Howey is an Assistant Professor at the University of New Hampshire. Aquatic Vascular Plants of Northern Michigan; C. Barre Helllquist

Learn the habitat, identification and general ecology of the submersed and floating aquatic plants. Trips include various locations in the

Sustainable Food Systems; Katie Goodall

Birds of Northern Michigan; Mary Whitmore and Bob Hess

Learn to identify birds by sight, sound and habitat. The class begins early in the mornings and early-risers are rewarded with the traditional field breakfast. We will also have an overnight field trip to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Mary Whitmore has a rich background in ornithology. Bob Hess is the former director of the Michigan DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program.

Douglas Lake Report  

Fall 2010 Edition of the University of Michigan Biological Station Newsletter

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