Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

B&C Fellow - Noelle Thompson

Michigan State University – Ph.D. Student in Fisheries and Wildlife - Projected to Graduate in 2022
Project Title: Evaluating Management Strategies for Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan White-tailed Deer

I was raised on the south side of Chicago. I went to college thinking I wanted to work in a wildlife conservation department within a large zoo - the extent of my knowledge about wildlife careers. During my undergraduate program at the University of Illinois, I joined the chronic wasting disease (CWD) lab and became interested in wildlife diseases and applied research. I stayed with the CWD lab for my master’s degree to assess how a long-term deer management program affected deer habitat use and spatial structure in an important natural area with implications for potential disease spread. After my MS, I began my PhD at Michigan State University where the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center was initiating a multi-year CWD project. For my dissertation, I am evaluating effective management strategies for CWD in Michigan's free-ranging deer herds. My research interests focus on wildlife infectious diseases, wildlife policy, and wildlife management. In the future, I aim to make an impact on wildlife diseases and policy as a wildlife disease ecologist within a federal or state agency.

Evaluating Management Strategies for Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan White-tailed Deer

I am developing a temporally- and spatially-explicit agent-based model to project and assess a suite of management strategies for chronic wasting disease in free-ranging deer populations in central Michigan. The model has three major components: a deer population submodel, a deer movement submodel, and a CWD transmission submodel. There are two goals for my research: 1) to identify management options for the MI Department of Natural Resources that reduce transmission of CWD and that are cost-effective and socially-acceptable, and 2) to develop a model that can be easily altered and adapted to serve as a management tool for wildlife agencies responding to CWD.


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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt