Michael Runge, Ph.D.

Michael Runge, Ph.D.

Research Ecologist

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Email: mrunge@usgs.gov
Phone: 301-497-5748
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8081-536X

Address:
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road
Laurel, MD 20708

Biography

Michael Runge is a research ecologist at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, where he has worked since 1999.  He received a B.A. in biology and philosophy (1989) from the Johns Hopkins University, an M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) in biology (1994) from Spalding University, and a Ph.D. in wildlife science (1999),with minors in biometrics and agricultural economics, from Cornell University.  He taught math and science at St. Francis High School in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1989 to 1994.  Dr. Runge was a visiting scientist at the University of Melbourne, School of Botany, from 2009 to 2010.

See July 2015 interview in Nature.

Honors, Awards, Recognition, and Elected Memberships
  • Presidential Scholar.  The White House.  June 1985.
  • Phi Beta Kappa.  Johns Hopkins University.  Election, March 1988.
  • Delta Epsilon Sigma.  Spalding University.  Election, April 1994.
  • Gamma Sigma Delta.  Cornell University.  Election, May 1998.
  • Superior Service Award.  United States Department of Interior.  October 2005.  For “an exceptional job of making your science available to natural resource managers for use in their management decisions.”
  • Extraordinary Contribution.  Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System, USFWS.  June 2003.  For extraordinary contributions to Fulfilling the Promise.
  • Regional Director’s Conservation Award, USFWS Region 4.  May 2007.  For contributions to and partnership in the science and recovery efforts of the Florida manatee.
  • Unit Award for Excellence of Service.  U.S. Department of Interior.  September 2007.  “In recognition of outstanding achievements in introducing the adaptive management initiative across the Department.”
  • Unit Award for Excellence of Service.  U.S. Department of Interior.  November 2007.  “In recognition of the outstanding contributions of the International Polar Bear Science Team in providing timely information in support of the USFWS polar bear listing decision.”
  • Regional Director’s Award for Excellence in Communication.  USGS Western Region.  November 2007.  “In recognition of outstanding science leading to enhanced understanding of the relation between climate change and polar bears.”
STAR (Scientific Achievement) Awards
  • PWRC, U.S. Geological Survey.  January 2002.  For helping organize and present the Adaptive Management Workshop at the 2001 Wildlife Society Meeting.
  • PWRC, U.S. Geological Survey.  January 2002.  For helping organize and present the Adaptive Management Workshop at the 2001 Wildlife Society Meeting.
  • USGS.  August 2003.  For supporting the USFWS in the manatee incidental take rule-making.
  • USFWS Region 5.  June 2004.  For outstanding contributions to improving wildlife management science on National Wildlife Refuges throughout Region 5.
  • USFWS Region 4.  February 2005.  For extraordinary efforts assisting the USFWS when a Marine Mammal Protection Act Special Rule for manatees was proposed.
  • USGS.  November 2007.  For significant contributions to the USGS Science Strategy to support USFWS decision-making on polar bears.
  • USFWS, NCTC.  December 2007.  For development of the FWS/USGS structured decision making workshops, and “outstanding performance in developing new opportunities for FWS and USGS collaboration.”
  • USGS.  May 2011.  For leadership in developing an integrated research project across multiple science centers and bureaus to bear on urgent permitting issues related to golden eagles and renewable energy development.
  • USGS, August 2012.  For national leadership in applying decision science to solve complex natural resource problems, including work to support the USGS regional realignment, the Integrated Arctic Management team, and the management of non-native fish in the Grand Canyon.

Science and Products

Filter Total Items: 6
Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
October 19, 2016

The Challange: Several blue-ribbon panels have challenged the waterfowl management world to recognize the linkages between the two primary management frameworks: harvest management under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and habitat management under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Because these two frameworks seek to manage the same populations, there needs to be better coordination, in planning, in modeling, in monitoring, and in decision-making.

West Indian manatees, Trichechus manatus
October 19, 2016

The Challange: Florida manatees are threatened by watercraft-related mortality, the potential loss of warmwater habitat, red tide events, and other anthropogenic factors. The USFWS and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have regulatory authorities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and state statutes to recover manatees. To support management decision-making, these agencies need quantitative assessments of population status.

Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
October 19, 2016

The Challange: Golden and bald eagles are at risk of collision with operating wind turbines located within their habitat. Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), any harassment or lethal take of the eagles in prohibited by law. Wind facility operation is an otherwise legal activity, so the USFWS is seeking a quantitative assessment of eagle collision risk and predicted fatalities at proposed wind projects. This will enable decisions to be made regarding the permitting and mitigation requirements for potential wind installations.

Humpback Chub, Gila cypha
October 19, 2016

The Challange: USGS Patuxent is a recognized world-leader in the application of structured decision making to problems in natural resource management. Scientists at Patuxent are adept at a number of the key skills required in SDM, including objectives elicitation, model development, decision analysis, optimization, monitoring design, and facilitation. In addition, Patuxent scientists train other Federal, State, and academic colleagues in the methods and delivery of SDM.

Polar Bear, Ursus maritimus
October 19, 2016

The Challange: Threatened and endangered species have to be managed in the face of uncertainty, but traditionally, there has been reluctance to think about adaptive management of listed species. Management agencies with responsibility for threatened and endangered species need tools to help manage in the face of uncertainty, with the hope of reducing that uncertainty.

Decision tree illustrating the expected value of perfect information
October 4, 2016

The Challange: The field of decision analysis is a rich and mature discipline that provides robust methods for helping decision makers understand the nature of their decisions, involve stakeholders and scientists in appropriate steps of the process, and develop transparent records for the public. The use of these structured approaches is emerging in natural resource management, and there is strong demand in our partner agencies for support for their application.

Publications

Filter Total Items: 71
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Expert elicitation of population-level effects of disturbance

Expert elicitation is a rigorous method for synthesizing expert knowledge to inform decision making and is reliable and practical when field data are limited. We evaluated the feasibility of applying expert elicitation to estimate population-level effects of disturbance on marine mammals. Diverse experts estimated parameters related to mortality and sublethal injury of North Atlantic right whales...

Fleishman, Erica; Burgman, Mark; Runge, Michael C.; Schick, Robert S; Krauss, Scott
Fleishman, E., Burgman, M., Runge, M.C., Schick, R.S., and Kraus, S., 2016, Expert elicitation of population-level effects of disturbance, in Popper, A.N. and Hawkins, A., editors, The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II: New York, NY, Springer, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 875, p. 295-302.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Expert elicitation of population-level effects of disturbance

Expert elicitation is a rigorous method for synthesizing expert knowledge to inform decision making and is reliable and practical when field data are limited. We evaluated the feasibility of applying expert elicitation to estimate population-level effects of disturbance on marine mammals. Diverse experts estimated parameters related to mortality and sublethal injury of North Atlantic right whales...

Fleishman, Erica; Burgman, Mark; Runge, Michael C.; Schick, Robert S; Krauss, Scott
Fleishman, E., Burgman, M., Runge, M.C., Schick, R.S., and Kraus, S., 2016, Expert elicitation of population-level effects of disturbance, in Popper, A.N. and Hawkins, A., editors, The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II: New York, NY, Springer, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 875, p. 295-302.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Expert elicitation of population-level effects of disturbance

Expert elicitation is a rigorous method for synthesizing expert knowledge to inform decision making and is reliable and practical when field data are limited. We evaluated the feasibility of applying expert elicitation to estimate population-level effects of disturbance on marine mammals. Diverse experts estimated parameters related to mortality and sublethal injury of North Atlantic right whales...

Fleishman, Erica; Burgman, Mark; Runge, Michael C.; Schick, Robert S; Krauss, Scott
Fleishman, E., Burgman, M., Runge, M.C., Schick, R.S., and Kraus, S., 2016, Expert elicitation of population-level effects of disturbance, in Popper, A.N. and Hawkins, A., editors, The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II: New York, NY, Springer, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 875, p. 295-302.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

An evaluation of rapid methods for monitoring vegetation characteristics of wetland bird habitat

Wetland managers benefit from monitoring data of sufficient precision and accuracy to assess wildlife habitat conditions and to evaluate and learn from past management decisions. For large-scale monitoring programs focused on waterbirds (waterfowl, wading birds, secretive marsh birds, and shorebirds), precision and accuracy of habitat measurements must be balanced with fiscal and logistic...

Tavernia, Brian G; Lyons, James E.; Loges, Brian W; Wilson, Andrew; Collazo, Jaime; Runge, Michael C.
Tavernia, B. G., Lyons, J. E., Loges, B. W., Wilson, A., Collazo, J. A., and Runge, M. C., 2016, An evaluation of rapid methods for monitoring vegetation characteristics of wetland bird habitat: Wetlands Ecology and Management, v. 24, p. 495-505.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Detecting failure of climate predictions

The practical consequences of climate change challenge society to formulate responses that are more suited to achieving long-term objectives, even if those responses have to be made in the face of uncertainty1, 2. Such a decision-analytic focus uses the products of climate science as probabilistic predictions about the effects of management policies3. Here we present methods to detect when...

Runge, Michael C.; Stroeve, Julienne C.; Barrett, Andrew P.; McDonald-Madden, Eve
Runge, M. C., Stroeve, J. C., Barrett, A. P., and McDonald-Madden, E., 2016, Detecting failure of climate predictions: Nature Climate Change, v. 6, p. 861–864.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Cross-seasonal effects on waterfowl productivity: Implications under climate change

Previous efforts to relate winter-ground precipitation to subsequent reproductive success as measured by the ratio of juveniles to adults in the autumn failed to account for increased vulnerability of juvenile ducks to hunting and uncertainty in the estimated age ratio.

Osnas, Erik; Zhao, Qing; Runge, Michael C.; Boomer, G Scott
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

Decision-making for foot-and-mouth disease control: Objectives matter

Formal decision-analytic methods can be used to frame disease control problems, the first step of which is to define a clear and specific objective. We demonstrate the imperative of framing clearly-defined management objectives in finding optimal control actions for control of disease outbreaks. We illustrate an analysis that can be applied rapidly at the start of an outbreak when there are...

Probert, William J. M.; Shea, Katriona; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J.; Runge, Michael C.; Carpenter, Tim E.; Durr, Salome; Garner, M. Graeme; Harvey, Neil; Stevenson, Mark A.; Webb, Colleen T.; Werkman, Marleen; Tildesley, Michael J.; Ferrari, Matthew J.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2016

A typology of time-scale mismatches and behavioral interventions to diagnose and solve conservation problems

Ecological systems often operate on time scales significantly longer or shorter than the time scales typical of human decision making, which causes substantial difficulty for conservation and management in socioecological systems. For example, invasive species may move faster than humans can diagnose problems and initiate solutions, and climate systems may exhibit long-term inertia and short-term...

Wilson, Robyn S.; Hardisty, David J.; Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca S.; Runge, Michael C.; Cottingham, Kathryn L.; Urban, Dean L.; Maguire, Lynn A.; Hastings, Alan; Mumby, Peter J.; Peters, Debra P. C.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Decision analysis to support development of the Glen Canyon Dam long-term experimental and management plan

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, and Argonne National Laboratory, completed a decision analysis to use in the evaluation of alternatives in the Environmental Impact Statement concerning the long-term management of water releases from Glen Canyon Dam and associated management activities.

Runge, Michael C.; LaGory, Kirk E.; Russell, Kendra; Balsom, Janet R.; Butler, R. Alan; Coggins,, Lewis G.; Grantz, Katrina A.; Hayse, John; Hlohowskyj, Ihor; Korman, Josh; May, James E.; O'Rourke, Daniel J.; Poch, Leslie A.; Prairie, James R.; VanKuiken, Jack C.; Van Lonkhuyzen, Robert A.; Varyu, David R.; Verhaaren, Bruce T.; Veselka, Thomas D.; Williams, Nicholas T.; Wuthrich, Kelsey K.; Yackulic, Charles B.; Billerbeck, Robert P.; Knowles, Glen W.
Runge, M.C., LaGory, K.E., Russell, Kendra, Balsom, J.R., Butler, R.A., Coggins, L.G., Jr., Grantz, K.A., Hayse, John, Hlohowskyj, Ihor, Korman, Josh, May, J.E., O’Rourke, D.J., Poch, L.A., Prairie, J.R., VanKuiken, J.C., Van Lonkhuyzen, R.A., Varyu, D.R., Verhaaren, B.T., Vesekla, T.D., Williams, N.T., Wuthrich, K.K., Yackulic, C.B., Billerbeck, R.P., and Knowles, G.W., 2015, Decision analysis to support development of the Glen Canyon Dam Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5176, 64 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155176.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Status and threats analysis for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2012

The endangered West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), especially the Florida subspecies (T. m. latirostris), has been the focus of conservation efforts and extensive research since its listing under the Endangered Species Act. On the basis of the best information available as of December 2012, the threats facing the Florida manatee were determined to be less severe than previously thought,...

Runge, Michael C.; Langtimm, Catherine A.; Martin, Julien; Fonnesbeck, Christopher J.
Runge, M.C., Langtimm, C.A., Martin, Julien, Fonnesbeck, C.J., 2015, Status and threats analysis for the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1083, 23 p., at http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151083.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

Resilience and risk: a demographic model to inform conservation planning for polar bears

Climate change is having widespread ecological effects, including loss of Arctic sea ice. This has led to listing of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and other ice-dependent marine mammals under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Methods are needed to evaluate the effects of climate change on population persistence to inform recovery planning for listed species.

Regehr, Eric V.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Rode, Karyn D.; Runge, Michael C.
Regehr, E.V., Wilson, R.R., Rode, K.D., and Runge, M.C., 2015, Resilience and risk—A demographic model to inform conservation planning for polar bears: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1029, 56 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151029.
[title_1]
Year Published: 2015

How much is new information worth? Evaluating the financial benefit of resolving management uncertainty

Conservation decision-makers face a trade-off between spending limited funds on direct management action, or gaining new information in an attempt to improve management performance in the future. Value-of-information analysis can help to resolve this trade-off by evaluating how much management performance could improve if new information was gained.

Maxwell, Sean L.; Rhodes, Jonathan R.; Runge, Michael C.; Possingham, Hugh P.; Ng, Chooi Fei; McDonald Madden, Eve
Maxwell, S. L., Rhodes, J. R., Runge, M. C., Possingham, H. P., Ng, C. F., and Mcdonald-Madden, E, 2015, How much is new information worth? Evaluating the financial benefit of resolving management uncertainty: Journal of Applied Ecology, v. 52, no. 1, p. 12-20.
Filter Total Items: 1
Northern pintail duck
May 31, 2016

Evaluating the predictions associated with climate change just became easier with the development of new statistical methods designed to assess the performance of models producing many of these predictions.