Shout Out

East Lansing, Michigan

My symposium for the upcoming 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting was named as one of the “most unique” symposia of the entire meeting!

LESSON #21: Bask even in the smallest of victories.

View Molly’s nomination for the “most unique” symposia of the AFS Annual Meeting here. This nomination appeared in Fisheries magazine in August, 2015.

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My Moment

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Annual Meeting

This was a good Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Annual Meeting for me. For a couple of reasons…

At the Executive Meeting session of the Annual Meeting, I provided some materials for and made a presentation to the Commissioners (eek!) and Secretariat detailing the work that was completed during our GLFC Retreat in April. I plan to write up the retreat materials and major findings into a manuscript for the GLFC to have and include in its progress report.

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The Commissioner’s Table at the GLFC Annual Meeting Plenary Session. (From L to R) Tom Melius, Trevor Swerdfager, Bill Taylor, Don Pereira, Bob Hecky, Tracey Mill, Doug Stang, and Jim McCain. Dave Ullrich, not pictured. Photo credit: Nick Ebinger

In other news, over the last year, Bob Lambe, Dr. Bill Taylor, and I have been working on the development of an endowment to create a fellowship for a graduate student working on fisheries research in the Great Lakes Basin. This endowment was intended to be supported jointly by the GLFC and the Graduate School at Michigan State University. Because the paperwork for this endowment was finalized just before the Annual Meeting, Dr. Karen Klomparens, the Dean of the Graduate School at Michigan State University, was invited to announce this endowment and fellowship at the Annual Meeting Luncheon. As Dr. Karen Klomparens finish her comments, she mentioned that the first recipient of this fellowship had already been selected. Uh, cue confusion on my part because no one had told me about a fellowship recipient – and I wrote the fellowship language! Dr. Karen Klomparens continued with her closing comments, and announced that I would be the first recipient of the William W. Taylor and Henry A. Regier Great Lakes Fisheries Graduate Fellowship. Needless to say, I had a great night of celebrating with the GLFC at The B.O.B. (The Big Old Building) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

LESSON #20: Persistence pays off.

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Charter Fishing with the Commission

Grand Haven, Michigan

To kickoff this year’s Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Annual Meeting, I organized a charter fishing trip in Lake Michigan for GLFC Commissioners and Secretariat members. This trip was intended to be a fun outing, but also an opportunity for people to connect and network. Thus, a group of us arrived in Grand Haven, Michigan for dinner at Jack’s Waterfront Bistro and Bar on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Early on Wednesday morning, I drove to Grand Isle Marina in Grand Haven, Michigan to help out with charter boat assignments. We reserved five boats for a total of twenty-five fishers. As I mentioned, these fishers were either Commissioners, Secretariat members, or individuals we invited in order to build the GLFC network.

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Some of the fishers assembling at Grand Isle Marina in Grand Haven, Michigan. (From L to R) Bob Lambe, Don Pereira, Bill Demmer (Demmer Corporation), and Fred Posten (MSU). Photo credit: Molly J. Good

I was assigned to Captain Rob Tabiadon’s charter, Tab’s Sportfishing Charters, with Don Pereira (U.S. Commissioner), Dr. Jim Diana (University of Michigan, Dr. Andrew Muir (GLFC), and Dr. Mike Siefkes (GLFC). When you fish out of Grand Haven, it takes some time to move the charter boat from Grand Isle Marine, through the channel, out into Lake Michigan. Let me set the stage: there is fog everywhere. Deep fog. So, about ten minutes into our trip, Tab’s gets lost. Our progress was looking really grim, until Don pulled out “GoogleMaps” on his iPhone! With Don’s help, Tab’s was finally able to get us into the lake! Three hours and three fish later, we headed back to the marina (no fog this time, so our trip was easy).

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Don Pereira helping Captain Ron Tabiadon steer us out of the channel. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

All five boats came back with a serious haul of fish.

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My first and only catch of the day, a nice Chinook or King salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Photo credit: Andrew Muir

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Andrew Muir reeling in a Chinook salmon. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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Mike Siefkes posing with his lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush). Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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A treasured photo – me with my two mentors, Dr. Bill Taylor (L) and Bob Lambe (R). Photo credit: Ted Lawrence

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Mentors in action. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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Perhaps a gruesome photo to some of you, but this was just a part of our damage between five charter boats. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

2015 Annual Fishing Crew - T. Lawrence

The fishing crew! Photo credit: Ted Lawrence

After cleaning and processing the fish, and taking a few group pictures, we headed to Old Boys’ Brewhouse in Spring Lake, Michigan. There, we had an incredible feast of cooked fish, coleslaw, French fries, onion rings, and other goodies.

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When there is food around, I am unaware of the camera. Photo credit: Ted Lawrence

After our lunch, I drove Bob Lambe (GLFC) and Dr. Bill Taylor (MSU) to our hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan to prepare for the Annual Meeting. Talk about some precious cargo.

LESSON #20: Boat captains can get lost, too.

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Strategizing for “Spotlight”

East Lansing, Michigan

Lisa Peterson, past Fenske Fellow and current editor of the Michigan State University’s (MSU) “Spotlight” magazine, requested that I produce a feature article for the 2015 issue highlighting my experience as a Fenske Fellow.

Spotlight” is a professional magazine published annually by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Graduate Student Organization (GSO). I am working with Lisa and Alex Jensen (one of my peer-reviewers) to prepare this feature article for publication in 2015. Thanks for the opportunity, Lisa!

View Molly’s feature article, “The 2014-2015 Fenske Fellowship: Furthering the Future of Fisheries Management in the Great Lakes Basin” here. The article appeared in Spotlight magazine in 2016.

View Molly’s side article, “Spotlight on Fellowships: Janice Lee Fenske Excellence in Fisheries Management Fellowship” here. The article appeared in Spotlight magazine in 2016.

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Retreat to Reflect

Ann Arbor, Michigan

GLFC Commissioners and Secretariat Retreat

This week, I helped gather the Commissioners and Secretariat together at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens facility at the University of Michigan to hold a retreat. The objective of this retreat was to continue discussions about the evolution of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) as an organization. The Commissioners and Secretariat recognized that it is best to discuss an evolution of the GLFC in the context of the Convention of Great Lakes Fisheries. The 1955 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries established the GLFC as an organization with a mission to work across borders to combat sea lampreys, promote science, and establish working relationships among natural resource agencies and personnel. Today, the Convention still guides the GLFC, thus, discussing the evolution of the GLFC based on the actual language and meaning of the Convention was critical.

As a participant in this retreat, I can say that we put in a tremendous about of reflection and thoughtfulness into this retreat. And, as an organizer of this retreat, I can say that I captured a lot of insightful information that, if accepted and implemented, will help the Commission evolve.

LESSON #18: You do not have to know a lot about something to have something worthwhile to contribute.

LESSON #19: Sometimes there is conflict in a group. It is okay if there is conflict, as long as voices on both sides of that conflict are heard.

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Project Planning

East Lansing, Michigan

I wanted to share some details about the two primary projects I have been working on…

Law Enforcement Symposium

With help from Bob Lambe (GLFC), Dr. Bill Taylor (MSU), and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), I have designed a half-day symposium on fisheries law enforcement for the 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting. The symposium is entitled, “Fisheries Sustainability, Crime, and Enforcement: Whodunnit and How Do We Manage It?” I have asked nine individuals to be a part of this symposium, and they have all accepted my invitation. These individuals represent different sectors, ranging from federal and state law enforcement to provincial and tribal law enforcement programs. As part of this symposium, I have submitted an abstract for a presentation that I will give, entitled “Law Enforcement: A Critical Management Tool for Ensuring Fisheries Sustainability.” I hope the AFS Organizing Committee understands the significance of this symposium and associated presentations and decides to include them as part of the final meeting agenda.

Strategic Evaluation of the GLFC Vision

Bob Lambe, Dr. Bill Taylor, John Beck (MSU), and I have met a few times to discuss the need for a joint meeting between the Commissioners and Secretariat to lead a strategic evaluation of the vision of the GLFC. We have tentatively planned to hold a retreat in Ann Arbor, Michigan in early April to talk about the role of the GLFC in the future facilitation of coordinated fisheries management in the Great Lakes Basin. John Beck and I have developed and discussed a detailed agenda5 for us to use at this retreat, which will guide the Commissioners and Secretariat in their discussions.

LESSON #17: An organization’s vision and mission should be evaluated often to make sure that the organization is maintaining its role and functioning effectively for now and for the future.

View Molly’s submitted abstract for her symposium, “Fisheries Sustainability, Crime, and Enforcement: Whodunnit and How Do We Manage It?” here.

View a list of Molly’s invited presenters and their affiliations, presentation titles, submitted abstracts, and brief biographies here.

View Molly’s submitted abstract for her presentation, “Law Enforcement: A Critical Management Tool for Ensuring Fisheries Sustainability” here.

View Molly’s draft agenda for the GLFC Retreat here.

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Bichirs are Bizarre

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Lake Committee Meetings: Round 2

I drove from East Lansing to Ann Arbor, Michigan this week to attend part of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) Lake Committee Meetings for a second time as a Fenske Fellow. If you are interested in reading a fuller description of what goes on during the Lake Committee Meeting, please refer to “Law and Order and Fish.”

Law Enforcement Committee Mid-Annual Meeting

As you may recall, the Law Enforcement Committee holds its mid-annual meeting during the Lake Committee Meeting. The Law Enforcement Committee often organizes a training or workshop to correspond with their meeting as a way to build skills and increase proficiencies among the committee members. This week, the committee organized an invasive species training at the University of Michigan. The objective of the training was to instruct the committee members on the proper identification of common aquatic invasive fish species that can occur, or are expected to occur, in the Great Lakes Basin. As anyone who has taken an ichthyology class knows, fish identification is often difficult because many fish species look familiar (especially at a young age!). Our training leader, Dr. Kevin Wehrly (Michigan Department of Natural Resources), laid out several preserved aquatic invasive species for us to touch and observe. We were also given books and short summaries to read that provided helpful identification information. Though the carp species were relatively easy to identify, I had difficulty differentiating among the rudd, goldfish, and more common golden shiner. I particularly enjoyed observing the snakehead. In this training, the snakehead was contrasted with a bichir or reedfish, which is native to Africa and the Nile River.

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Can you identify the species? (From T to B) Northern snakehead (Channa argus), bowfin (Amia calva), and a bichir or reedfish (Polypteridae). Photo credit: Molly J. Good

After the training, Doug Nelson, the Collection Manager at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology (UMMZ), gave us a tour of the facility. The UMMZ maintains incredible zoological collections for use in research, outreach, and education. According to the UMMZ website, the collections (P.S., Can you find me on the homepage?) include about 15 million specimens total, comprised of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, fishes (3.3 million specimens, representing 90% of all orders!), mollusks, mites, and insects.

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The view down one of the hallways in the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology Collections facility. Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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Reptile specimens! Photo credit: Molly J. Good

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The results of my aquatic invasive species identification quiz. I think I got a 100%! Photo credit: Molly J. Good

LESSON #15: If it is difficult for fisheries scientist to identify a fish, then it probably even more difficult for a member of the general public to identify a fish.

LESSON #16: Workshops and trainings are essential in building skills and improving proficiencies.

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Déjà Vu

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Board of Technical Experts Meeting: Pre-Proposals, Round 2

Well, folks, it is a new year and a new set of BOTE and SLRB meetings. Are they getting old yet, you might ask? You mean the long days, hours upon hours of listening and asking questions and making important decisions? Heck no, I love this stuff.

What a difference a year makes. Now, I know everyone in the room by their name and affiliation. I am no longer brand new to the process of discussing and reviewing proposals, which has allowed me to pay attention to bigger and better things. For example, instead of trying to figure out what a siscowet is (FYI, it is one of the three morphotypes or forms of lake trout in Lake Superior, and it is distinguished from the others because of its physical characteristics and presence in deep-water), I am making connections between climate change, hybridization, and siscowets.

So, you know the drill. If you are interested in reading a fuller description of what goes on during the winter BOTE meeting, please refer to “Fenske Firsts.”

This week, Bob Lambe (GLFC), Dr. Bill Taylor (MSU), and I had a long discussion about my involvement in a couple of projects related to my Fenske Fellowship work. First, we are all interested in raising the profile law enforcement as an important fisheries management tool. Working with the Law Enforcement Committee directly, I plan to submit a symposium for the 145th American Fisheries Society (AFS) Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. This symposium will bring together law enforcement officers and fisheries managers representing all sectors to discuss the importance of law enforcement in ensuring fisheries sustainability. Symposium abstracts are due in March 2015, so I will be working closely with Bob Lambe, Dr. Bill Taylor, and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) on abstract submissions. Second, as I mentioned in the last blog post, I will be assisting the GLFC in conducting a strategic evaluation of their organization’s vision and mission. Bob Lambe, Dr. Taylor, and I plan to work with a facilitator from Michigan State University (MSU), John Beck, to help conduct this evaluation with the Commissioners and Secretariat.

In other news, Julie Hinderer (Sea Lamprey Research Program Associate) and I teamed up once again to challenge Dr. Mike Jones (MSU) and Dr. Stu Ludsin (THE OSU) to an intense Euchre game. Boys won. Boo. 

Sea Lamprey Research Board Meeting: Full Proposals, Round 2

From Thursday, March 5 to Friday, March 6, 2015, I attended my second round of SLRB meetings. If you are interested in reading a fuller description of what goes on during the winter SLRB meeting, please refer to “Fenske Firsts.”

I should mention that today is my birthday. I guess I am a little sad that I have spent the past two birthdays of mine with the SLRB instead of with my family or friends, but this is real life. Actually, to be completely honest, this birthday was pretty special. Some of the readers may know that I greatly admire Dr. Steve Cooke (Carleton University) as a huge fisheries researcher role model in my life. Well, today he sang “Happy Birthday” to me. Julie Hinderer and Jess Ives (Program Associates) also presented me with a piece of cake. It was so awesome.

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My special slice of birthday cake. Cheers to 26! Photo credit: Molly J. Good

LESSON #11: Be adaptable.

LESSON #12: Appreciate constructive criticism.

LESSON #13: Seek mentors that both support and challenge you.

LESSON #14: The only real way to learn about how science is used to inform management and policy decisions is to immerse oneself in the process.

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Executive Status

Rochester, New York

Interim Meeting

My Fenske Fellow status snagged me an invitation to the exclusive, ultra-private, top-secret Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s (GLFC) Interim Meeting, usually held in December of every year. Actually, this meeting is not that top-secret, but it is private, for it is a time when the Commissioners and Secretariat come together to select research topics of high importance to the GLFC and to plan strategically for the future.

Though I cannot elaborate fully on the topic, the Commissioners were particularly interested discussing the GLFC’s preparedness for and ability to address future, emerging fisheries management issues under its current structure. Bob Lambe and Dr. Taylor were both interested in exploring this topic more, as was I. We plan to meet together soon to discuss my role in facilitating conversations about this topic among Commissioners and Secretariat members.

LESSON #10: Opportunities are everywhere. Take advantage of them.

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We Like, We Like to Party

La Crosse, Wisconsin

Sea Lamprey Research Board Meeting: Full Proposals, Round 1

Look familiar? Yes! More SLRB. This meeting though, is a bit different from the winter SLRB meeting. For instance, there are zero presentations during the fall meeting. Instead, SLRB uses this meeting to discuss the peer reviews of full proposals and make decisions about which research projects should be more likely to receive funding.

I should mention that, as a participant in these meetings, I receive a Briefing Book ahead of time that includes copies of the full proposals up for discussion. Reading the full proposals before the meeting begins helped me prepare for the peer review discussion. In that discussion, I learned a lot about how to effectively write a “good” scientific proposal. The comments made by SLRB are incredibly insightful and, while not always positive, are at least constructive. This week, I learned that a clear hypothesis and objective(s), strong rationale for the research needs, a realistic and well-outlined budget, and proper grammar and spelling (cringe) are exceptional characteristics of a “good” scientific proposal.

After the discussion of the peer reviews of full proposals, the SLRB core group met privately to develop their final recommendations for full proposals.

Board of Technical Experts Meeting: Full Proposals, Round 1

And, more BOTE! Again, BOTE is similar to SLRB, but this time, the core group and members-at-large discuss the peer reviews of full proposals and make decisions about which research projects should be more likely to receive funding. After the discussion of peer reviews of full proposals, the BOTE core group meets privately to develop their final recommendations for full proposals.

Some additional observations:

I am beginning to really get to know people and to distinguish some great personalities in the SLRB and BOTE groups. I feel very included in each group, and I appreciate that people are interested in who I am and what I do. I am confident that my network is growing.

Also, these people really know how to shut down a hotel bar! Just kidding. But really, these groups are fun. We spent a lot our evenings this past week sharing memories, discussing cool research stories, and playing a lot of Euchre. I fear that Julie Hinderer (Sea Lamprey Research Program Associate) and I have started a fierce Euchre tradition at the BOTE meeting, in particular. We played on a team against Dr. Mike Jones (MSU) – who plays Canadian rules, go figure – and Dr. Stu Ludsin (THE OSU) – enemy (just kidding) – and battled for glory. Girls won this time, and I think we are all ready for a rematch next winter.

LESSON #8: Socialize with the people you are working with, for this is how to make long-lasting connections.

LESSON #9: Make good use of hotel bars because A LOT can get accomplished there.

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