Suter Science Seminar to focus on decision-making and analysis for issues of wildlife disease management

Katrina Alger ’08, a biologist and decision analyst at the United States Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, will give a Suter Science Seminar at Eastern Mennonite University on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 4:15 p.m. Her talk is titled “Difficult decisions: the role of value-focused thinking in wildlife disease management.”

Katrina Alger

The seminars are free to the public, and made possible by the sponsorship of the Daniel B. Suter Endowment in Biology and the co-sponsorship of supporting programs. They will be live streamed on the EMU Facebook Page.

Alger will speak on decision making and analysis for issues of wildlife disease management, and how to do so in transparent, inclusive, and defensible ways. 

“Outbreaks of disease in wildlife populations can have far-reaching consequences for biodiversity conservation, agricultural production, and human health,” Alger explains. “From a management standpoint, wildlife disease is often considered a ‘wicked’ problem due to ecological complexity, competing stakeholder objectives, and underlying uncertainty about both the system and treatment efficacy.”

Alger has worked on a variety of issues for the National Wildlife Health Center, including white-nose syndrome in bats, tissue loss disease in coral, and chytrid fungus in salamanders. She holds a master’s degree in conservation biology from the State University of New York School of Environmental Science and Forestry. 

The next seminar will be given by Laura Cattell Noll ’09 of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and pediatrician Dr. Kelly Smucker ’09 on March 24.

Named in honor of long-time EMU biology professor, Daniel B. Suter (1920-2006), the Endowment in Biology was established in 1986 through the generous donations of alumni and friends and currently consists of over $1 million of invested funds. EMU hopes to double the Suter Endowment in order to more adequately support distinguished faculty and to increase scholarship aid to deserving students.

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