CFR News Wildlife & Fisheries Stories


Bird's-eye view: Banding bald eagles on the coast for conservation research

Bird's-eye view: Banding bald eagles on the coast for conservation research

STARKVILLE, Miss.—On a clear spring morning along the Mississippi coast, Scott Rush, a scientist in Mississippi State University's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, ascends over an open savannah in a specialized utility bucket truck designed to climb nearly 10 stories high. When he nears the top of the towering pine tree, where a sizable eagle's nest rests securely in a forked branch, Rush extends a dip net and carefully scoops up one...


MSU experts address Chronic Wasting Disease potential risk in humans

MSU experts address Chronic Wasting Disease potential risk in humans

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State scientists and leading experts in deer and prion research are weighing in on recent news about deer diseases and potential risk to human health.

A recent brief published in the journal Neurology stated that in 2022, two hunters from the same hunting lodge were afflicted with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob dise...


MSU's Langstaff named university's latest Udall Scholar

MSU's Langstaff named university's latest Udall Scholar

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is announcing a junior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Southaven as the university's latest Udall Scholar.

Lily Langstaff is the university's fifth recipient of the prestigious national award given annually to approximately 55 students across the country interested in conservation and environmental issues, and Native American learners working toward careers in Tribal policy and h...


Marsh mystery: MSU experts study elusive bird to properly manage land

Marsh mystery: MSU experts study elusive bird to properly manage land

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Deep in the difficult terrain of the Gulf Coast high marsh lives a tiny, dark and white-speckled bird called the black rail. These elusive birds that make their homes near muddy waters and among sharp-bladed grasses are easier to hear than see. Yet to catch their distinct sound "kick-ee-kerr" is a rare experience.

Black rails, along with high marsh-dwelling yellow rails and mottled ducks, are at the heart of the...


Gupta named MSU's second RISE Germany inductee

Gupta named MSU's second RISE Germany inductee

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State junior will spend this summer in Germany as part of a prestigious undergraduate research program.

Surabhi Gupta, a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Jaipur, India, is the university's latest winner of the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst-Research Internships in Science and Engineering, or DAAD-RISE. DAAD, the German academic exchange service, and the RISE program provide r...


MSU's Jones, Langstaff named national PPIA Junior Summer Institute Fellows

MSU's Jones, Langstaff named national PPIA Junior Summer Institute Fellows

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Two Mississippi State juniors hoping to shape public policy in the future will spend this summer in a prestigious and intensive national fellowship program that will prepare them for graduate-level studies.

Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College members Alijah Jones, a political science major from Greenwood, and Lily Langstaff, a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Southaven, recently were named fell...


From Texas to Tennessee: Burrowing owl makes odd migration, draws attention of MSU scientist, team

From Texas to Tennessee: Burrowing owl makes odd migration, draws attention of MSU scientist, team

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Birds migrating from north to south are a given but migrating from the southwest to the southeast is a little rarer. A burrowing owl is overwintering on a Tennessee River peninsula near New Johnsonville, Tennessee, marking the first sighting of the species in the state, and a Mississippi State wildlife ecologist is researching the fascinating oddity.

As the burrowing owl made its first home on a former Tennessee...


MSU wildlife ecologist designated fellow by international wildlife organization

MSU wildlife ecologist designated fellow by international wildlife organization

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Ray Iglay, an assistant professor in Mississippi State's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is among a handful of wildlife professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada newly recognized as a fellow of The Wildlife Society.

The Wildlife Society was founded in 1937 and includes more than 11,000 leaders in wildlife science, management and conservation across North America. TWS Fellows are wildlife pr...


MSU scientists study effects of supplemental feeding on chronic wasting disease

MSU scientists study effects of supplemental feeding on chronic wasting disease

STARKVILLE, Miss.—As wildlife researchers continue studying the spread of chronic wasting disease, a fatal infectious disease threatening North America's deer populations, scientists in Mississippi State University's Deer Lab are sharing how certain management practices, including supplemental feeding of deer, can impact disease transmission rates.

Steve Demarais, MSU Deer Lab co-director, said minimizing direct contact by elimin...


MSU researchers pioneer new method to detect Chronic Wasting Disease

MSU researchers pioneer new method to detect Chronic Wasting Disease

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University researchers are pioneering a new way to detect the local presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal disease threatening the nation's deer populations.

Steve Demarais, Taylor Chair in Applied Big Game Research and Instruction in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, leads a team studying how scrapes left by deer could be a game changer in detecting CWD before noticeable p...


The Decline of the Black Duck

The Decline of the Black Duck

Approximately 10,000 years ago, the last glaciers retreated, helping form the northern prairies in North America. Among dozens of waterfowl species, mallards and black ducks settled in what are now Canada and the United States. These species share many common traits, but they remained geographically partitioned until recent history.

"When the glaciers melted, mallards settled in the prairie wetland systems of southern Canada and midcon...


Three MSU undergraduates receive exclusive Phi Kappa Phi Pioneer Award

Three MSU undergraduates receive exclusive Phi Kappa Phi Pioneer Award

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three Mississippi State University undergraduate students have received the national Phi Kappa Phi Pioneer Award, a $1,000 prize recognizing exceptional research, engagement and leadership skills.

Grant Peterson, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Starkville; Annamarie Thompson, a senior biomedical engineering major from Trussville, Alabama; and Maria Timberlake, a senior natural resource an...


Altering a Collision Course

Altering a Collision Course

In the U.S., deer/vehicle collisions cause 1.5 million motor vehicle accidents each year, resulting in 200 fatalities and over a billion dollars in property damage. With 1.75 million deer in Mississippi, deer/vehicle collisions are cause for concern. That's why an FWRC scientist, with lead collaborators from participating agencies, sought to better understand how deer respond to approaching vehicles before a collision occurs.

Dr. Ray Igl...


Our People: Lacy Dolan

Our People: Lacy Dolan

Lacy Dolan has traversed the country studying mammals. Her latest stop is Mississippi State University, where she studies the state's black bears.

Growing up, the Dwight, Illinois, native said cats were the first animals to pique her curiosity.

"My parents both grew up on farms, so we had outdoor cats, which I loved. I remember learning about different animals and being fascinated by how they adapted to various environments," s...


MSU-developed land conservation tool recognized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

MSU-developed land conservation tool recognized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A Mississippi State University-developed tool is helping land conservation leaders make informed and effective investments in the Gulf Coast region. Now, the team behind the software is being recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The web-based software uses 26 data sets to help stakeholders determine the best areas along the Gulf Coast for land conservation, based on the environmental and socioeconomic b...


MSU wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture students honored for leadership, academics

MSU wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture students honored for leadership, academics

The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University, under the College of Forest Resources (CFR), recently recognized its exceptional students at the annual spring Student Awards Ceremony. This department is unique in the state, focusing on educating and cultivating future leaders in wildlife and fisheries management.

Graduates from the department go on to vital roles in private companies, nonprofit or...


UN Environment Programme picks renowned MSU ecologist for global advisory group

UN Environment Programme picks renowned MSU ecologist for global advisory group

A renowned freshwater ecologist and Mississippi State scientist is lending her expertise to a historic international report, respected as the world’s most comprehensive account of environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Sandra Correa, assistant professor and researcher in MSU’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, has been invited by the U.N. Environment Programme for members...


MSU department head awarded with Seven Seals Award

MSU department head awarded with Seven Seals Award

The leader of Mississippi State’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture is being honored with the national Seven Seals Award by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Department Head Andrew Kouba, a Dale Arner Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and director for MSU’s Center for Human-Wildlife Conflicts, has been selected for his “meritorious leadership and initiative in support of the me...


Thinking Big for Birds

Thinking Big for Birds

OVER 62% OF MISSISSIPPI'S LAND BASE is forested giving the Magnolia State a $13.8 billion dollar forestry and forest products enterprise. While green covers the map, the residents that enjoy the forested landscape are why Forest and Wildlife Research Center scientists are part of the Tombigbee Forest Bird Partnership (TFBP), an effort aimed at celebrating and enhancing avian conservation in the Southeast's working forests. Emily Jo "EJ" Willia...


MSU scientists, partners awarded grant for amphibian collections care and management

MSU scientists, partners awarded grant for amphibian collections care and management

Polar bears. Giant pandas. Mountain gorillas. In the last several decades, these endangered animals have attracted attention-deservedly so-but what about the smaller, less conspicuous amphibians that are on the brink of extinction? Mississippi State researchers are focused on saving them, too.

Scientists in the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are leading a conso...


MSU partners with state agency to examine turkey hunter experience

MSU partners with state agency to examine turkey hunter experience

For hunters in Mississippi, the call of a wild turkey heralds the official start of spring as much as the emerging daffodils and unmistakable coating of pollen.

With a three-decade trend of declining turkey populations in some regions of the state, an accurate assessment of turkey population is critical to proper management of the birds’ habitats, seasonal hunting regulations and hunt success. State agencies rely h...


MSU faculty selected for national land-grant leadership program

MSU faculty selected for national land-grant leadership program

Three Mississippi State faculty are representing the university in LEAD21, a national program that develops leaders in the fields of agricultural, environmental and human sciences at land-grant institutions.

Beth Baker, associate extension professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture; Jay McCurdy, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences; and Florencia Meyer, associate professor in the De...


Steve Demarais of MSU Deer Lab wins NDA Lifetime Achievement Award

Steve Demarais of MSU Deer Lab wins NDA Lifetime Achievement Award

The National Deer Association is pleased to announce Dr. Steve Demarais from Mississippi State University's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture as the 2022 Joe Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award winner. This award is presented to a person who has dedicated their life and/or career to wildlife management in general, and deer management in particular. The recipient must also have made a significant impact in deer management, deer ...


MSU avian conservation efforts soar with Tombigbee Forest Bird Partnership

MSU avian conservation efforts soar with Tombigbee Forest Bird Partnership

While the U.S. and Canada have lost approximately a quarter of bird life—or 2.9 billion breeding adult birds—since 1970, Mississippi State researchers are finding ways to improve working forests for avian conservation.

Two-thirds of Mississippi, or approximately 19.2 million acres, is forestland. The state's working forests support a $13.8 billion forestry and forest products industry. A new partnership, the Tombigbee Forest ...


MSU doctoral student tackles feral swine across the Southeast as USFWS Directorate Fellow

MSU doctoral student tackles feral swine across the Southeast as USFWS Directorate Fellow

A Mississippi State College of Forest Resources graduate student has taken advantage of a recent opportunity to study feral swine as a fellow for a leading conservation agency, and his work has focused on developing a prioritization tool for feral swine control across the Southeast's 108 national wildlife refuges.

Tyler Evans, a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture doctoral student, was selected as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dir...


MSU graduate student honored with Phi Kappa Phi national Love of Learning Award

MSU graduate student honored with Phi Kappa Phi national Love of Learning Award

A Mississippi State doctoral student in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture is being honored with an award from the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society.

Rebecca Bracken, who soon will defend her dissertation, is one of 200 Phi Kappa Phi members nationally to receive its annual Love of Learning Award, a $500 post-baccalaureate professional development grant. Bracken was first inducted into P...


Our People: Nathan Cowley

Our People: Nathan Cowley

Freshmen entering their first year of college may sometimes feel like a deer caught in headlights. That wasn't the case for Nathan Cowley, who enrolled at Mississippi State with a laser-sharp focus.

Cowley, a rising sophomore wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major, has always set his sights on ambitious personal and career goals. When deciding on a career path, he knew he wanted to foster his passion for hunting and fishing. When ...


Duck and Cover: Nesting Box Research

Duck and Cover: Nesting Box Research

Taylor Gibson, currently pursuing a master's degree in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, was raised with curiosity and respect for wildlife and fishing. As a child, he dreamed of becoming a marine biologist, but as he grew older, he realized his true passion is waterfowl.

After graduating from Mississippi State with a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture bachelor's degree, Gibson went to work. He worked with Ducks...


Protecting the South's
Signature Wildlife

Protecting the South's Signature Wildlife

As the State Land Mammal of Mississippi, white-tailed deer is the South's most significant wildlife species. The important economic and cultural resource contributes to Mississippi's $1.14 billion-dollar hunting industry, with an estimated 280,000 deer harvested each year. FWRC researchers seek to determine how weather and disease impact deer populations so the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, or MDWFP, can make inform...


Our People: Troy Lindsey

Our People: Troy Lindsey

For Coahoma County native Troy Lindsey, life on the water is both a pastime and a career. Growing up fishing and hunting in the Mississippi Delta—the birthplace of America's catfish industry—little did he know his hobby would parlay into a profession. Lindsey grew up in various towns that dot the Mississippi Delta, including Roam and Tutwiler, where he graduated from West Tallahatchie High School. He went on to Coahoma Community Co...


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