I’ve spent countless hours fishing topwaters for largemouth bass, hurling baits for muskies, and putting dry flies where the brook trout are supposed to be, at least. I grew up with a passion for fishing, and that brought me to fisheries biology. The layers and layers of complexity in solving problems for our ecosystems in the context of society have kept me in the field.
I started as an Environmental Science major at Notre Dame, where I was lucky enough to spend plenty of time in the field. I spent a summer at the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC), where I ran a research project on grey tree frogs and spent every free minute chasing muskies. I learned that this ecology thing might be for me, and started working for Dr. Sally Entrekin and Dr. Jen Tank as a field technician. Their project was measuring the impact of adding large woody habitat to brook trout streams in the Upper Peninsula, and was my first introduction to habitat science.
I followed my growing interest in muskies and did my M.S. under Dr. Jim Diana at the University of Michigan, developing a method to identify where muskies spawn in Wisconsin lakes. I enjoyed working with the Wisconsin DNR during that time and found myself more interested in applying the results of my science in resource management and policy.
This interest in fisheries science and public policy led me to take a position with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service called the Knauss Fellowship. I was staff to the NMFS Science Board, a high-level group of scientists that run the science operation: operating $54 million dollar ships and counting all the fish in America’s oceans (easy, right?). More directly, I was on teams that guided the strategic planning for NMFS’ habitat science program and that produced the largest national estuary habitat assessment to date for the National Fish Habitat Partnership.
I came to Michigan State in 2012 to study under Dr. Bill Taylor for my Ph.D. My research is focused on Largemouth Bass, specifically how do healthy habitats help baby Largemouth survive and grow, and what are the socioeconomic factors that influence landowners’ habitat management choices. At MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, I work with a group of researchers from across the country supported by the USDA that are studying the services our aquatic ecosystems provide. Finally, I serve on the Board of the Michigan Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society, which serves to “promote understanding and comprehensive management of Michigan’s inland lake ecosystems.”
For more information on my background, see my curriculum vitae or email me at JNohner@msu.edu.