Michigan Tech Research Forum

Fall 2017 Distinguished Lecturer—Dr. John Vucetich

Excerted from an article written by Kim Gierger for Michigant Tech News | Published 

It's not about wolves. For this lecture, John Vucetich talked environmental ethics and how it bridges into the world of environmental sciences and natural resource management.

"Much of my work is aimed at developing insights that emerge from the synthesis of science and ethics,” says Vucetich, a professor in the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES) at Michigan Technological University. "Environmental ethicists and environmental scientists have a common goal, which is to better understand how we ought to relate to nature,” he adds. “Nevertheless, these two groups employ wildly different methods and premises, and sadly, they rarely interact.” 

"Science can never tell us what we ought to do or how we ought to behave. Science only describes the way the world is. Ethics by itself can't tell us what to do either. Ethics needs science—facts about the world—to be properly informed."John Vucetich

Vucetich presented the Fall 2017 Distinguished Lecture at the Michigan Tech Research Forum. His lecture, "It’s Not About Wolves: Interdisciplinary Knowledge for a Sustainable, Just and Prosperous World," took place November 7, 2017.

Vucetich joined the Michigan Tech Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study in the early 1990s as an undergraduate student majoring in biological science. He went on to earn a PhD in forest sciences at Tech in 1999. Three years later, Vucetich began leading the study along with SFRES research professor Rolf Peterson, who is now retired. This year will be the team's 60th year of monitoring wolves and moose on Isle Royale—the longest running predator-prey study in the world.

SFRES Dean Terry Sharik says, "John’s interdisciplinary perspectives on wolves and their role in coupled natural and human systems have elevated this globally recognized study to another level."

Five questions with John Vucetich