UMD Professor Joins Nature Conservancy Board

Swenson Science Building at UMD
February 6, 2020

The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin welcomes Dr. Thomas Hrabik to its Board of Trustees.

Thomas Hrabik

Dr. Thomas Hrabik

Tom Hrabik is a Professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he also recently served as Biology Department Head. His work focuses on aquatic diversity, as well as aquatic and landscape ecology, specifically within freshwater lake systems.

Hrabik has authored or co-authored approximately 75 publications in the field of aquatic ecology and has active research projects and field experiments with several focuses, including the management of food webs to control exotic fish species in the lakes of Wisconsin.

The waters of Northern Wisconsin are a special focus for Hrabik, who grew up on Trout Lake in Vilas County where he spent considerable time shadowing local biologists. He attributes his early interest in the outdoors and biology both to the freedom his parents gave him to explore, and to time spent on the water with older family members who showed him the beauty and importance of the work.

Hrabik has also worked for years at the University of Wisconsin's Trout Lake Research Station, and authored a novel study showing that diversity in lakes is associated with the position in the landscape. His lifelong connection to and work with various managing agencies on Lake Superior also helped draw him to The Nature Conservancy via the organization’s focus on water conservation generally and on sustainable fisheries in the Great Lakes in particular.

"I really appreciate the whole endeavor of The Nature Conservancy. Any way I can help I certainly will,” Hrabik says. “It’s in the name. Conservation is one of the primary things that we must do. It’s one of the things I learned about back when I was at UW Steven’s Point reading Aldo Leopold. Here’s an organization that’s actually purchasing pieces of high-quality habitat to conserve them—not always to prevent human use, but what people have to embrace is sustainable use.”

Currently on sabbatical from his department, Hrabik will focus his time on the board helping The Nature Conservancy with its fresh water science, and to build stronger relationships with other organizations and agencies working to restore water quality and native fish stocks. He also enjoys fly fishing for steelhead and stream trout and exploring the incredible seasonal variability and beauty of Lake Superior.