This year's program is ready! For a downloadable pdf version, click this link: TWS AK 2023 Program

We are excited to offer two workshops at this year’s Annual Meeting PLUS field trips!

Monday April 10th


Wildlife Disease Investigation Techniques Workshop


Take a journey with Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s wildlife health veterinarian Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen as she tells us how to properly take samples from the field so they’re useful in the lab!

Tuesday, April 11th


Creamer’s Field Birdwatching Field Trip

Spring has sprung and that means birds are moving! If they’ve made it to Fairbanks by Tuesday evening, we’ll have a group of folks to take a walk around Creamer’s field and greet the newly arrived migrants!

Thursday and Friday April 13-14

Thursday Afternoon (at the Westmark) – Friday morning (UAF Campus Murie 103/105)

Do the Genetics 101

The Wildlife Society’s Molecular Ecology Working Group hosts the Do the Genetics 101 and other conservation genetics and genomics focused workshops at National and State Chapter meetings to teach molecular ecology techniques, applications and relevancies for wildlife and ecology researchers and managers. This workshop will have a focus on current methods being applied in conservation genetics and most common data sources we see in the literature. The workshop will stress data interpretation and relevance for managers. There will also be a shorter up and coming methods section to share the cutting edge of the field. Please fill out the linked survey so we can gauge interest in specific topics and get a sense of participant’s background.

We are lucky to have workshop leaders and materials developers who have done applied wildlife genetics work in Alaska and across the globe!

Thursday, April 13th

1:30 pm

Large Animal Research Station Field Trip

Take a walk on the qiviut side and get a look at the Large Animal Research Station on UAF’s campus.
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Kimberlee Beckmen, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen is the state of Alaska’s wildlife health veterinarian. Her work drives the field of wildlife disease ecology.

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Lisette Waits, Distinguished Professor, University of Idaho

Dr. Lisette Waits is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. She has a BS in Genetics from University of Georgia and a PhD in Genetics from University of Utah where she studied the phylogenetics and population genetics of grizzly bears. Her research program is centered within the fields of conservation genetics and molecular ecology with particular focus on noninvasive genetic monitoring of wildlife and landscape genetics. Her research team has used genetic and genomic methods to study over 30 different species in North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Asia, and she has published over 240 papers. She has had the great joy of training 40 graduate students and 8 postdocs. She currently serves as an associate editor for Bioscience, Molecular Ecology and Molecular Ecology Resources and on the advisory board of Environmental DNA. She is an elected fellow of The Wildlife Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has served on four US endangered species recovery teams providing genetic expertise and assisting with population monitoring. She currently serves on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Conservation Genetics North American Working Group and the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums Molecular Data for Population Advisory Group. She is also the Past-President of the National Association of University Fish and Wildlife Programs.

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Elise Stacey, PhD Candidate, University of Idaho

Elise Stacy is a PhD Candidate at the University of Idaho advised by Lisette Waits working on population and landscape genetics of wolverines in Alaska and the Yukon, as well as assessing western range wide patterns of local adaptation across different environments, from the Arctic to the Rocky Mountains. She received her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where she got experience in population genetics and environmental DNA methodology through undergraduate research opportunities and served as officer and student chapter president for the Wildlife Society. She worked four summer seasons with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Threatened, Endangered and Diversity program and worked as a specimen preparer in the UA Museum of the North Ornithology Lab. As a graduate student, Elise has taught the Wildlife Department’s Conservation Genetics course and the Environmental Science program’s field techniques lab. Outside of research, she enjoys skiing, white water sports, gardening, and endless crafts.

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Karen Mager, Associate Professor, Southern Oregon University

Dr. Karen Mager is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Policy, & Sustainability and Biology at Southern Oregon University. Her research program focuses on the ecology and conservation of mammal populations, with an emphasis on research opportunities for undergraduates. Dr. Mager received her PhD in Biology with a focus in Wildlife Ecology from University of Alaska Fairbanks. Much of her research has focused on caribou conservation genetics, including how historical population dynamics and landscape features shape the genetic diversity and connectivity of caribou herds, with implications for designation of conservation units in Alaska and Canada. She has also incorporated TEK, historical, and ethnographic approaches to understand historical interactions of caribou and domestic reindeer. Beyond caribou, she loves to work with students on field research in a diversity of ecosystems. She is currently partnering with federal agencies, community organizations, and a team of undergraduates to document wildlife use of the Interstate 5 corridor in southern Oregon with camera traps, as part of an effort to implement and then monitor new wildlife crossing structures.

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Sarah Rauchenstein

Born and raised in southcentral Alaska, Sarah Rauchenstein received her bachelor’s in marine biology at UAS Juneau. Her primary interests include biochemical applications for wildlife and fishery science, and natural resource management. She enjoys tide pooling and cross-country skiing with her dogs, Max and Petunia.

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Susannah Woodruff, Wildlife Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Susannah Woodruff has worked as a wildlife biologist in the US Fish and Wildlife Service Polar Bear Program since 2019. Prior to this position, Susannah worked as a wildlife biologist in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Wyoming on a variety of species from Sonoran pronghorn to wolves. Susannah has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Sciences from the University of Idaho and an MS in Wildlife Biology from Prescott College.

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Sterling Spilinek, Research Coordinator, Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission

Sterling Spilinek is the Research Coordinator and Wildlife Biologist for Ahtna Intertribal Resource Commission (AITRC). Sterling attended Whitman College in Walla Walla Washington where he played on the baseball team and received a degree in Biology. After college Sterling moved back to Wyoming and worked for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department; working throughout Wyoming on projects involving landowner/hunter relations, ungulate migration habitat improvement, ungulate herd tracking, and large carnivore noninvasive sampling. Deciding to continue his education, Sterling enrolled in the Wildlife Ecology program at Texas State University. Sterling wrote his graduate thesis on the rumen morphology of white-tailed deer comparing the energy of diets. After graduate school Sterling moved to Billings Montana and worked for Pheasants Forever, as a partner biologist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service. In 2020 Sterling moved to Alaska and began working for AITRC where he has worked as a collaborative partner on the GMU 13 Bear Study.

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Jeff Stetz, Research Coordinator, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

For the past 20 years, Jeff Stetz has worked primarily on large-scale studies of abundance, population growth rates, and resource selection for large carnivores in the American intermountain West and Alaska using noninvasive genetic sampling methods. These projects have included the first population-wide abundance estimate for grizzly bears in northern Montana and the first density estimate for American black bears in Glacier National Park. He has also helped develop new population monitoring methods for mountain lions and river otters in North America and two bear species in the Russian Far East, as well as conducting a rigorous evaluation of numerous monitoring methods for black bears across northeastern North America. Jeff is currently the Research Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in south-central Alaska where he works on bear, wolf, caribou, and moose population studies.  Jeff is also an Associate Editor at the Journal of Wildlife Management, a Certified Wildlife Biologist®, and an instructor at the Center for Wildlife Studies.


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The Alaska Chapter of The Wildlife Society is a non-profit organization of professional wildlife biologists dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.