Hubbard Earns Two Awards, Presents Thesis

Trail cam capture of a black bear

Northern Michigan University biology graduate student Tru Hubbard has received two NMU awards for her thesis research project. She will present a virtual thesis seminar, titled “A Dynamic Landscape of Fear: Human Impact on Carnivore Community Structure,” at noon Thursday, April 22.

Her presentation will address two main topics: the effects of human recreation on the American black bear activity in the Marquette area; and human impacts on carnivore interactions within the carnivore community of the United States.

Hubbard earned a Charles C. Spooner Award for the 2021 winter semester for her research proposal titled “Human recreation impacts seasonal variation in American black bear (Ursus americanus) activity and occupancy across the urban-wildland interface.” A $500 budget was approved for the project.

Hubbard also received NMU's Technology Innovation Student Award both in 2020 and 2021 for her research on how human recreation impacts carnivore habitat use and behavior across multi-use lands. The Technology Innovation Student Award recognizes innovative and creative projects with the use of technology.

“Since last spring, I have been able to see how well my methods in my research worked as well as the outcomes they produced,” said Hubbard. “One of the biggest accomplishments I had in the past year following the first award was launching the Yooper Wildlife Watch project on the Zooniverse website.”

The Yooper Wildlife Watch project captures images of animal movement through 30 trail cameras and incorporates newly developed data management and analysis techniques. Yooper Wildlife Watch has contributed imagery to a nationwide camera trapping effort coordinated by The Smithsonian Institution and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Learn more about her project here.

Hubbard is advised by NMU biology professor Diana Lafferty. She also serves as a teaching assistant at NMU. She plans to submit her thesis and graduate this summer. Hubbard said that she will stay in Marquette through the fall to continue working in the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science lab, as well as to assist with instruction. Afterward, she will search for research work associated with a wildlife conservation agency.

The Green Bay, Wis., native earned a bachelor's degree in zoology at Colorado State University prior to attending NMU. The Zoom meeting ID for Hubbard's thesis seminar is 974 2584 9496 and the passcode is carnivore.

Trail cam image of Hubbard in the field
Trail cam image of Hubbard in the field
Prepared By

Jill Vermeulen
Student Writer

Categories: Around NMU