Gerald Niemi

Center for Water
and the Environment
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Gerald Niemi, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate and Professor

Jerry Niemi

Position and Focus

Gerald ‘Jerry’ Niemi was director of the Center for Water and the Environment from 1988-2008. He now holds an appointment as a senior research associate. He is also a tenured professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Jerry has had over 25 graduate students in biology and conservation biology at the University of Minnesota. He holds graduate appointments in the Integrated Biological Sciences, Conservation Biology, and Chemical Toxicology graduate programs. Jerry has maintained an active research program focusing on birds, the loss of biological diversity, Great Lakes ecosystems, conservation biology, landscape ecology, and sustainable natural resources development. His current projects include 1) bird conservation and management in the Great Lakes region, 2) the Minnesota breeding bird atlas, 3) environmental indicators and thresholds, and 4) predictive models of bird species occurrence in response to human and natural disturbances.


Ph.D. Biology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1983
M.S. Zoology, University of Minnesota, 1977
B.S. Biology, University of Minnesota, 1974

Current Publications

  • 7: Zlonis, E. J. & Niemi, G.J.. 2014. Avian communities of managed and wilderness hemiboreal forests. Forest Ecology and Management 328:26--34.
  • 7: Peterson, A C Niemi, G J & Johnson, D H. 2014. Patterns in diurnal airspace use by migratory landbirds along an ecological barrier. Ecological Applications In press
  • 7: Niemi, G J. 2014. Golden Birds, Golden Opportunities: Minnesota provides essential habitat for the dainty golden-winged warbler. Minnesota Conservation Volunteer May-June
  • 7: Kovalenko, K E, Brady, V J, Brown, T N, Ciborowski, J J H, Danz, N P, Gathman, J P, Host, G E, Howe, R W, Johnson, L B Niemi, G J & Reavie, E D. 2014. Congruence of community thresholds in response to anthropogenic stress in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Freshwater Science 33:958--971.
  • 7: Niemi, G J, Bednar, J D, Condon, E L, Grinde, A R, Harrington, K A, Hoheisel, S M, Joyce, M J, Panci, H G, Terry, J M Vetter, B J & Ward, R L. 2013. Book Review: Community Ecology. The Auk 130:817--818.
  • Click here to view complete publication list.

    Project list for Gerald Niemi :

    (A link will go to the project's current report, an arrow will take you to a project's home page)

    USFS Breeding Bird Monitoring in the National Forests
     Bird monitoring programs (1991-present) within NFs in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin were designed 1) to establish a baseline inventory of local breeding bird assemblages, 2) to monitor population changes of forest bird species over time, and 3) to identify bird-habitat associations, particularly those relevant to forest management activities.

    Post-burn Bird Surveys at Pagmi River, Superior National Forest
    To sample breeding birds (2012-2016) in habitats burned by the Pagami Creek Fire (2011). These data will be used to compare with the breeding communities of both pre-fire samples and areas not affected by the fire.

    Analysis and Website Support on Minnesota Breeding Birds
    Using data gathered from 2009-2014 on up to 250 breeding bird species, we will analyze the relationships of breeding bird species with habitat, landscape, and climate data across the state of MN. We will also estimate breeding bird populations with appropriate confidence intervals, summarize available population trends, and summarize habitat and landscape associations.

    St. Louis River AOC R2R Support Project - Ecological Monitoring and Assessment
    Establish baseline conditions for restoration locations in the St. Louis River estuary using aquatic macroinvertebrates, aquatic vegetation, and birds. We are also examining the potential for mercury in the estuary sediments to raise concerns for wetland restoration, and how examining estuary circulation patterns may affect restoration sites.

    Avian Responses to Climate Change in the Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota
    Birds are critical indicators of the health of our environment, plus they are relatively easy to identify and monitor. This project will model the potential responses of breeding bird species in the Chippewa National Forest to changes in habitat, landscapes, and climate. The responses by these species will be linked with a landscape and disturbance model, LANDIS-II, to predict future climate changes in this region.

    An open standards data and metadata pipeline for the Natural Resources Research Institute Great Lakes Data

    Great Lakes Environmental Indicators (GLEI) II - Indicator Testing and Refinement
    The GLEI-II project will focus on wetland near-shore conditions of the Great Lakes, and consists of five tasks: 1) Refine coastal ecosystem indicators from previous monitoring programs through calibration against updated landscape/land use information within the entire Great Lakes basin; 2) Test the temporal and geographic integrity of existing Great Lakes indicators; 3) Test and compare analytical techniques to cross-calibrate indicators from concurrent monitoring programs; 4) Evaluate cost-effectiveness of indicators; 5) Implement a data collection, analysis, and reporting system, as well as a map of baseline conditions for the Great Lakes basin based on historical and current monitoring information.

    Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring
    To assess the biotic condition of all the major coastal wetlands of the Great Lakes, United States and Canadian shorelines.