CURRENT PROJECT MEMBERS

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Thomas Gable
Project Lead
Voyageurs Wolf Project

Tom is the project lead for the Voyageurs Wolf Project and he recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota. He has been studying wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem since 2014 when he started his Master's at Northern Michigan University. Gable is particularly fascinated by wolf-beaver interactions and his graduate work was focused on trying to understand this predator-prey dynamic. Much of Gable's early interest in wolves stemmed from encountering wolf tracks, kills, and the occasional wolf while exploring the wild places around his family's cabin just outside of Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario during the winter. During and after his Bachelor's in Biology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, Gable worked as a wolf research technician in Grand Teton National Park and on the Minnesota Wolf and Deer Project in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). His time in the BWCAW fostered a deep appreciation and love for the iconic Northwoods of Minnesota.

Austin Homkes
Field Biologist
Voyageurs Wolf Project

Austin works full time as a field biologist on the Voyageurs Wolf Project and has been studying wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem since 2015. Homkes is also currently a Master's student at Northern Michigan University. His graduate work is focused on understanding wolf predation on white-tailed deer fawns in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem. Homkes received his Bachelor's in Biology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He has long been interested in exploring, conserving, and studying wild places and wildlife. Growing up, Homkes developed a passion for the outdoors by wandering around the forests near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, where his family has a cottage, and around Holland, MI where he grew up. Prior to starting his Master's, Homkes thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and worked on the Cascade Carnivore Project as a research technician.

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Joseph Bump
Associate Professor 
University of Minnesota

Joseph is an Associate Professor and the Gordon W. Gullion Endowed Chair in Forest Wildlife Research & Education at the University of Minnesota. He is the University of Minnesota lead for the Voyageurs Wolf Project. Bump studies how wildlife interactions affect ecosystem processes and biodiversity. Research in Bump's lab bridges wildlife research at the scale of biology, community, and population with landscape-scale ecosystem science. Bump’s curiosity in the natural world began with a childhood spent mucking around the Hudson River in upstate New York. Commercial salmon fishing off Kodiak Island, Alaska between undergraduate studies and work at the University of Michigan’s Biological Station confirmed his interest in wildlife ecology and conservation biology. Bump received his Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University and a Master's from University of Wyoming.

PROJECT COLLABORATORS

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Sean Johnson-Bice
Ph.D. Student
University of Manitoba

Sean first got involved with the Voyageurs Wolf Project while working as a technician for Voyageurs National Park in 2015. Sean continued working for Voyageurs until he began his Master's at the University of Minnesota in Fall 2016 studying the spatial and population dynamics of beavers, advised by project member Steve Windels. In 2019, Sean began his Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba as part of the Churchill Fox Project, a long-term research project focused on monitoring food web dynamics at the taiga-tundra-marine interface along the western coast of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba. His research is primarily focused on studying interactions between Arctic foxes, red foxes, and their prey, with a secondary focus on understanding how cross-environment resource subsidies affect these interactions. Sean fostered a passion for the outdoors, wild places, and wildlife through childhood camping trips and by working seasonal technician jobs in places like Maui, the New Mexico mountains, and the Florida Keys. He still reveres the Northwoods of Minnesota, and maintains a collaborative relationship with the project today.

John Bruggink
Professor
Northern Michigan University

John Bruggink is a Professor of Wildlife Biology at Northern Michigan University and has been involved with research in Voyageurs National Park for several years. He was the Master’s advisor for Tom Gable and is currently the Master’s thesis advisor for Austin Homkes and Lucas Beck. Bruggink has been interested in the natural world since boyhood but his interest in a wildlife career resulted from time in his teens hunting squirrels in the Macatawa hills, and grouse and deer near Hisperia, Michigan. Although much of Bruggink’s work has involved the ecology and management of migratory game bird populations, he has broad interests in wildlife ecology and has been particularly interested in wolf ecology since working as a field technician on a wolf project between his Master’s and Ph.D. programs. Bruggink received his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University and his Master’s from Northern Michigan University.

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Lucas Beck
Graduate Student
Northern Michigan University

Lucas started work as a technician on the Voyageurs Wolf Project in the summer of 2018 after graduating from the University of Vermont. In total, Lucas has spent 3 field seasons on the Voyageurs Wolf Project and is currently a Master's student at Northern Michigan University where his work focuses on the reproductive ecology of wolves in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem. In addition to working on the Voyageurs Wolf Project, Lucas worked for the Washington Predator-Prey Project studying cougar predation in the Methow Valley in Winter 2020. Lucas’s research interests include predation behavior, the ecology of hybridization, reproductive ecology and conservation biology. Lucas's hobbies include fishing, wildlife tracking, hiking and reading history.

Dani Freund
Graduate Student
University of Minnesota

Dani is a Master's student and her research primarily focuses on the ecosystem effects of wolf predation on beavers—the ecosystem engineers of boreal forests—in the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem (GVE). Dani is also studying how wolves in the GVE take advantage of unique seasonal prey such as fish. Dani’s interest in scientific research began during her undergraduate degree when she joined a research lab studying the effect of testosterone on honest signaling in female American goldfinches. This experience inspired her to pursue a research study abroad program in Cambodia where she investigated the reproductive strategies of an understudied catfish species. After graduating, Dani was a Princeton-in-Asia communications fellow for 2 years with the World Wide Fund for Nature working on transboundary conservation issues within the Greater Mekong Region as well as the International Water Management Institute working on social inclusion in land management within rural municipal governments. These experiences fostered a drive to dismantle accessibility barriers within scientific research and the scientific community throughout her career. Dani grew up skiing in Washington State, where she developed her respect and passion for the natural environment.

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Project Technicians

Current technicians

Ada Barbee
Taylor Payne
Maeve Tuley
Izzy Evavold
Rachael Stocker
 

Past technicians

Sean Johnson-Bice

Gregory Robertson

Eleni Verveniotis

Genevieve Fuller

Daniel Gorczynski

Ryan Keenan

Michael McMahon

Rachael Riley

Roberta Ryan

Steven Winter

Jordan Pruszesnki

Amanda Tveite

Lucas Beck
Andrea Hynes
Jackie Morton
Kara Sjostrom
Abby Kostiuk
Dani Freund