Profile: Ryan C. Menebroeker

Graduated: 2015
Major: biology and natural resources—fisheries and wildlife ecology
Hometown: Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Two weeks before graduation day, Ryan Menebroeker started his first day as a fisheries technician with the U.S. Geological Service, working a coveted position aboard the Kiyi Research Vessel on Lake Superior.

Ryan says he chose Northland for its small class sizes, access to professors, and its proximity to Lake Superior.  He got all three.

In his three years at Northland—he transferred from UW-Eau Claire after completing time with U.S. Air Force—he has participated in significant research, presented his finding, worked as a teaching assistant, modeled fish populations, and gone electrofishing.

Ryan interned with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources aboard the Hack Noyes Research Vessel.

His strong work ethic, thoughtful intellect, and deep motivation to learn and synthesize knowledge did not go unnoticed. Faculty selected him for the first-ever James A. Meeker Award for Undergraduate Research, awarded to a student who has excelled in research in the field of natural resources.

He researched recent declines of the gray jay in northern Wisconsin. Using citizen science data from an annual population survey called the Christmas Bird Count he analyzed and tracked relative gray jay abundance at five locations.

“This boreal species that is at its southern range limit is a case study in the challenges of twenty-first century wildlife management in the face of climate change,” he says.

When Ryan presented his research on the temporal abundance of gray jays in northern Wisconsin at the Minnesota and Wisconsin chapters of The Wildlife Society, they liked what they heard so much, they recognized Ryan for best undergraduate presentation. He has submitted his research results for publication in The Passenger Pigeon, the official scholarly publication of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.

“I hope to continue to study and manage Wisconsin wildlife species that are vulnerable to future extirpation as a result of climate change,” he says.

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