- Michelle LaRue
- Research Fellow, PGC
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 612-625-6609
What I Do
I am interested in using GIS and remote sensing to answer broad spatial and conservation ecology questions. My master's thesis focused on large mammal habitat selection and movement, particularly the phenomenon of potential recolonization of cougars (Puma concolor) in the Midwest. I have now moved my focus to the Antarctic, where high-resolution satellite imagery can be used to study marine mammal and bird populations, and how changes in sea ice may affect populations. I am currently using remote sensing to research population status and abundance of emperor penguins and Weddell seals.
As a research fellow at PGC, my responsibilities range widely from analyzing remotely-sensed imagery, to supporting logistics, operations, and planners, to mentoring students, and collaborating with Antarctic researchers worldwide. I am also PGC's team lead in the field, so I am responsible for planning, organizing, and conducting field work in the Dry Valleys every year.
- PhD, Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, expected 2014
- MS, Zoology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2007
Thesis title: Predicting potential habitat and dispersal corridors for cougars in midwestern North America
- BS, Ecology, Minnesota State University Mankato, 2005
Personal Info / Hobbies
I live on the St. Croix River with my husband, Chris, and two golden retrievers, Hank and Townes. We enjoy fishing, gardening, hiking, biking, and paddling together (even the dogs). I absolutely love photography, and the travel opportunities that my line of work allows me to do.
I strongly feel that knowledge and critical thinking are crucial to understanding the world around us, and I am a proponent of practicing what we preach. So, I enjoy volunteering at elementary schools to teach kids about Antarctica and our environment. Seeing the excitement on their faces is an incredibly rewarding experience! I also do my best to grow my own vegetables in the summer, eat locally-grown foods, carpool to work, and bike or walk everywhere I can.
- LaRue, M.A., C.K. Nielsen, M. Dowling, K. Miller, B. Wilson, H. Shaw, and C. Anderson. 2012. Cougars are recolonizing the Midwest: analysis of cougar confirmations during 1990-2008. Journal of Wildlife Management. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.396
- Fretwell, P.T., M.A. LaRue, P.J. Morin, G. Kooyman, B. Wienecke, N. Ratcliffe, A. Fox, C. Porter, A. Fleming, P. Trathan. 2012. The first global, synoptic survey or a species from space: emperor penguins. PLoS ONE 7(4):e33751. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033751.
- LaRue, M.A., J.J. Rotella, D.B. Siniff, R.A. Garrott, G.E. Stauffer, C.C. Porter, D. Ainley, and P.J. Morin. 2011. Satellite imagery can be used to detect variation in abundance of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in Erebus Bay, Antarctica. Polar Biology 34:1727-1737.
- Henaux, V., L.A. Powell, K.A. Hobson, C.K. Nielsen, and M.A. LaRue. 2011. Tracking large carnivore dispersal using isotopic clues in claws: an application to cougars across the Great Plains. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00107.x.
- LaRue, M.A. and C.K. Nielsen. 2011. Modelling potential habitat for cougars in midwestern North America. Ecological Modelling 222:897-900.
- LaRue, M.A., and C.K. Nielsen. 2008. Modelling potential dispersal corridors for cougars in midwestern North American using least-cost path methods. Ecological Modelling 212: 372-381.
- LaRue, M.A., C.K. Nielsen, and M.D. Grund. 2007. Using distance sampling to estimate densities of deer in south-central Minnesota. The Prairie Naturalist 39:57-68.
- LaRue, M.A., and C.K. Nielsen. 2006. Using expert-opinion surveys and GIS to model potential cougar habitat in midwestern North America. Endangered Species Update 23:55-61.
- LaRue, M.A. 2012. The Polar Geospatial Center: what it is and how it can help you. Association for Polar Early Career Scientists workshop, Portland, OR.
- LaRue, M.A., J. Rotella, B. Garrott, J. DeVoe, K. Banner, and D. Siniff. 2012. Using high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor population changes in Weddell seals in Ross Sea, Antarctica. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research International Conference, Portland, OR.
- LaRue, M.A., D. Ainley, M. Swanson, P. Lyver, K. Dugger, G. Ballard, and K. Barton. 2012. Receding ice fields provide habitat to encourage increase in colony size of Adelie penguins at Beaufort Island, Antarctica. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research International Conference, Portland, OR.
- LaRue, M.A. 2012. Monitoring the Ross Sea from space: applications of high-resolution satellite imagery. Ross Sea Workshop, La Jolla, CA.
- LaRue, M.A. (Keynote Speaker) 2011. Lessons from Antarctica: How satellite imagery is redefining ecological research. Minnesota Phenology Conference, Finland, MN.
- LaRue, M.A. and P.J. Morin. 2011. The Polar Geospatial Center. Arctic LTER Meeting, Woods Hole, MA.
- Herried, B., P.J. Morin, M.A. LaRue, C. Porter, and S. Niebuhr. 2010. The Antarctic Geospatial Information Center: Three years of supporting Antarctic Science and Operations. American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA.
- LaRue, M.A., C.K. Nielsen, M. Dowling, B. Wilson, H. Shaw, C. Thompson. 2010. Cougar confirmations in the Midwest: 1990-2008. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Minneapolis, MN.
- LaRue, M.A. (Invited Speaker) 2010. Mapping Earth's Newest Continent. Minnesota Geological Society Seminar, Minneapolis, MN.
- Niebuhr, S., M.A. LaRue, P. Morin, and K. Matsumoto. 2009. Change detection of melt-water lakes and glacial lobes in Taylor Valley, Antarctica using remote sensing: A 50-year comparison. American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA.
- LaRue, M.A. and C.K. Nielsen. 2009. Predicting cougar potential in the Midwest. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Springfield, IL.
- V. Henaux, L.A. Powell, K.A. Hobson, C.K. Nielsen, and M.A. LaRue. 2009. Tracking cougars in Midwestern North America: clues in claw isotope ratios. Defenders of Wildlife Carnivores Conference, Denver, CO.
- LaRue, M.A., and C.K. Nielsen. 2009. Potential recolonization and population viability of cougars in the Midwest. Ecological Society of America Conference, Albuquerque, NM.
- LaRue, M.A., and P.J. Morin. (Invited Speaker) 2009. Finding mummified seals and following the South Pole Traverse: a dual role in Antarctica. Association of Women Geologists Luncheon, St. Paul, MN.
- LaRue, M.A., 2009. (Invited Speaker) Antarctica: A land of no law, no logic, no God, and no maps. University of Minnesota Paleoecology Student Seminar, St. Paul, MN.
- LaRue, M.A. and C.K. Nielsen. 2007. Predicting potential dispersal corridors for cougars in the Midwest. The Wildlife Society Conference, Tuscon, AZ.
- LaRue, M.A., and C.K. Nielsen. 2006. Predicting potential habitat for cougars in the Midwest. Defenders of Wildlife Carnivores Conference, St. Petersburg, FL.
- LaRue, M.A., C.K. Nielsen, and M.D. Grund. 2005. Using distance sampling to determine densities of deer in south-central Minnesota. Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Grand Rapids, MI.