Dr. Gary Roloff
I started on the faculty at Michigan State University (MSU) in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in 2005. Prior to MSU, I worked for 11 years as a Wildlife Management Specialist for Boise Cascade Corporation. Boise Cascade Corporation, at the time I was hired, was an integrated wood and paper products company that owned approximately 3.2 million acres of forest lands in the United States. My responsibilities included incorporating wildlife and biodiversity into the strategic planning process of the company, threatened and endangered species management and planning, research in support of wildlife and forest management, and forest stewardship certification. I was lucky enough to work in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Minnesota, Alabama, Louisiana, and Maine.
My research laboratory at MSU focuses on applied questions with direct relevance to on-the-ground wildlife conservation. I work closely with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) – Wildlife Division, and serve as a forest stewardship certification internal auditor for the MDNR – Forest Resources Division. My work for MDNR includes forest management effects on wildlife, snowshoe hare ecology, feral pig ecology, and species distribution modeling in support of management decisions. I also maintain close ties to the forest products and paper industry, continuing to do research that positions the industry to balance increasing demands for wood products and wildlife conservation, while staying globally competitive. Furthermore, I work closely with the Natural Resources Department of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Tribal projects include snowshoe hare, marten, and ruffed grouse ecology, fire effects on wildlife, and more recently establishment of a wildlife research and graduate education center to provide Native American students graduate-level training in wildlife.
I expect students entering my lab to work hard and ethically, serve as engaged citizens in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU, professionally represent my lab to our external partners, and to work collaboratively with the lab team. I have a hands-off management style; once we agree on a task or assignment, I expect it to be completed to the best of your professional abilities. I encourage frequent communication so neither of us our surprised at the time of the thesis or dissertation defense. I have limited tolerance for excuses and simply expect that the work gets done, but at the same time I respect work-life balance and will work with students to create a healthy and productive experience. I fully encourage and support the involvement of students in my lab with The Wildlife Society or other professional organizations that are relevant to the student's career goals or the project. Although I tend to hire students to work on specific projects, I also recognize that graduate school is a professional development opportunity and will work with each student to build the skill set that will make you marketable and successful in your careers.