Joseph K. Bump

Joseph K. Bump portrait
"Nature loves to hide"


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Associate Professor of Animal Ecology & Conservation, SFRES

Faculty Advisor to the Michigan Tech Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

  • PhD, Forest Science (wildlife focus), Michigan Technological University
  • MS, Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming
  • BS, Biology with Honors Thesis, University of Michigan

Why study animal-ecosystem links?

For me, life is about relationships – personally with family, community and place, professionally among students, colleagues, and the species and systems we study, and metaphysically between humans and the earth. My overarching research interest, which is focused understanding the relationship between species and ecosystem processes, reflects this perspective.  This interest has required working across scales from understanding a species’ evolution and physiology to population ecology, community ecology, and ecosystem science.  This is important because it critically informs management decisions and conservation science. 

Fundamental questions in my research include: 1) How do predators control carrion resources and what are the cascading consequences for biodiversity and associated ecological heterogeneity? 2) Under what circumstances do mammalian herbivores create strong aquatic-terrestrial links? 3) How do ungulates influence the distribution of energy, nutrients, and contaminants? 4) How will warming winters affect large carnivore predator-prey dynamics in snowy areas?

Within these fundamental research areas I equally value applied components and strive to integrate both types of questions in my research.  For example, one of my current, applied projects examines vertebrate food web structure and complexity at pulsed food subsidies from hunter-provided bait sites and ungulate gut piles, thereby allowing comparisons with fundamental questions of how large carnivores affect carrion resources.  Examples of other applied work in my lab includes 1) wolf population ecology, survivorship, and conservation in Michigan’s upper peninsula, 2) habitat modeling for forest wildlife, 3) assessment of mercury in select aquatic browse, and 4) combining citizen science derived species distribution models and stable isotope analysis to reveal migratory connectivity in birds species.

Areas of Expertise

  • Predator ecology & ecological heterogeneity
  • Aquatic-terrestrial links
  • Stable isotopes in animal ecology & conservation
  • Vertebrate habitat ecology
  • Conservation ethics

Select Recent Publications

  • Bergman, B.G. & Bump, J.K. 2015. Experimental evidence that the effects of moose and beaver aquatic herbivory may be contingent on water body type. Freshwater Biology 60:1635–1646 doi:10.1111/fwb.12595
  • Peterson, R.O., Vucetich, J.A, Bump, J.K., Smith, D. 2014. Trophic Cascades in a Multicausal World: Isle Royale and Yellowstone? Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 45:325-345.
  • Murray, B. D., Webster, C. R., Bump, J.K. 2014. A migratory ungulate facilitates cross-boundary nitrogen transport in forested landscapes. Ecosystems 17(6):1002-1013.
  • Bump, J.K., Murawski*, C., Kartano**, L., Beyer, D., and Roel, B. 2013. Bear-baiting may influence the likelihood of wolf-hunting dog conflict. PLOS ONE. 8(4):1-7.
  • Murray, B. D., Webster, C. R., Bump, J.K. 2013. Broadening the ecological context of ungulate-vegetation interactions: the importance of spatial scale and seasonal habitat use. Ecology 94:11317–1326
  • Sullivan*, A., Bump, J.K., Kruger, L., & Peterson, R.O. 2012. Batcave catchement areas: using stable isotopes to delineate bat hibernacula catchment areas. Ecological Applications. 22:1428-1434.
  • Bump, J. K. 2010. Landscapes of hope, oceans of promise: trophic cascades. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 25:554-555.
  • Bump, J.K., Webster, C. R., Vucetich, J.A, Peterson, R.O., Shields, J.M., & Powers, M.D. 2009. Ungulate carcasses perforate ecological filters and create biogeochemical hotspots in forest herbaceous layers allowing trees a competitive advantage. Ecosystems 12:996-1007.

Select Recent Projects

  • Vertebrate food web structure and complexity at predator-derived versus human-derived resource hotspots
  • Predator control of resource heterogeneity via prey carcass distribution
  • Ungulates and nitrogen dynamics in northern forests and alpine ecosystems
  • Wolf Ecology, Conservation, & Management in Michigan
  • Large herbivores and aquatic-terrestrial links
  • Modeling geographic catchment areas for bat hibernacula using stable isotopes
  • Habitat structure and predator-prey interactions
  • Golden-winged Warbler Status & Ecology in Honduras
  • Assessment of suitable habitat for elk range expansion in Michigan

Teaching Experience

  • Mammalogy
  • Wildlife Ecology & Management
  • Wildlife Habitat
  • Stable Isotope Ecology
  • Capstone (section leader)