Mark Vrtiska

Mark Vrtiska

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught

Contact Information

TitleWildlife Management Specialist | SNR Teaching Coordinator
Faculty RankProfessor of Practice
Address524 South Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
  • office: 402-472-8146
  • fax: 402-472-4915
VitaeDownload file


My Story

Hi, I'm Mark Vrtiska, Professor of Practice, Wildlife Management Specialist, with the School of Natural Resources.

My primary duties are instruction of undergraduate courses, serve as the coordinator for the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership ( and conduct research in wildlife ecology and conservation biology of threatened and endangered species. Mentoring undergraduate and graduate students are also a primary focus.

Previously, I was the Waterfowl Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. I served as the agency’s representative on the Central Flyway Waterfowl Technical Committee, and was the Committee’s representative on [Adaptive] Harvest Management Working Group, Service Regulations Committee, National Duck Hunter Survey, Human Dimensions Working Group, and North American Waterfowl Management Plan Revision. I also was an agency representative on the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Technical Committee and chair of the Conservation Planning Working Group of the Joint Venture.

Prior to working the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I was a Regional Biologist with Ducks Unlimited, Inc., in Ridgeland Mississippi. I was responsible for various restoration and management projects on public lands in 13 southeastern US states. I also worked on various waterfowl research projects in North Dakota, California, Oregon and Louisiana.

I’m originally from Beatrice, Nebraska, and feel fortunate to have a career in wildlife conservation and management only 40 miles from my hometown. My passion for wildlife management originated from my dad taking me hunting and fishing and became more directed after my first wildlife job (a volunteer position) in northeastern Montana at Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

I still like to hunt and fish, and probably now enjoy the outdoors more with my dog and grandkids.

Selected Publications

Gruntorad, M. P., M. P. Vrtisksa, C. J. Chizinski, J. N. Duberstein, D. C. Fulton, H. W. Harshaw, A. H. Raedeke, and J. Spaeth. 2024. Duck hunters and difficulty complying with harvest regulations. Wildlife Society Bulletin e1505.
Gruntorad, Matthew P, M. P. Vrtiska, R. J. Murano, M. J. Garrick, and C. J. Chizinksi. 2023. Duck identification and regulation preferences among waterfowl hunters: a pre-assessment of the Tier II bag limit. Human Dimensions of Wildlife.
Gruntorad, Matthew Philip, M. Vrtiska, M. Garrick, and C. J. Chizinski. 2023. Taking matters into their own hands: effects of effort and success on duck hunter satisfaction. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 1–12.
Hinrichs, Matthew P, M. P. Vrtiska, M. P. Gruntorad, and C. J. Chizinski. 2023. Strangers in the blind: Identifying appropriate mentees and mentors for waterfowl hunter recruitment. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management.
Hinrichs, M. P., Gruntorad, M. P., Nawrocki, J. A., Vrtiska, M., Pegg, M. A., Chizinski, C. (2021). Constraints to Waterfowl Hunting by Hunters and Anglers in the Central United States. WILDLIFE SOCIETY BULLETINOnline
Jorgensen, J.G., Brenner, S.J., Greenwalt, L.R., Vrtiska, M.P. 2021. Decline of Novel Ecosystems Used by Endangered Species: The Case of Piping Plovers, Least Terns, and Aggregate Mines. Ecosphere. 12(4), Article e03474.Online
Kaemingk, M. A., Vrtiska, M., Hurley, K. L., Powell, L. A. (2021). Linking social and ecological components to spatial and temporal components of harvest. Harvest of fish and wildlife: new paradigms for sustainable management.. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
Vrtiska, M. (2021). Migratory game bird regulations. K. L. Pope and L. A. Powell, editors. Harvest of fish and wildlife: new paradigms for sustainable management (pp. Pages 283-300). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
Gruntorad, M. P., J. J. Lusk, M. P. Vrtiska, and C. J. Chizinksi. 2020. Identifying factors influencing hunter satisfaction across hunting activities in Nebraska. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 25:215–231.
Lyons, T., Powell, L. A., Vrtiska, M. (2020). Effects of liberalizing harvest regulations on Canada goose (Branta canadensis) demography in Nebraska. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management, 11(2), 1-13. Online
Lyons, T., Vrtiska, M. (2018). Banding Canada Geese.Online
Cunningham, Z. J., Powell, L. A., Vrtiska, M. (2017). Fidelity and Survival of Mallards in the Nebraska Sandhills. Prairie Naturalist, 48, 87-95.Online
Haugen, M. T., Vrtiska, M., Powell, L. A. (2017). Variation in number of ducks harvested among hunters in the Central Flyway. Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 4, 80–84.Online
Cunningham, Z., Powell, L. A., Vrtiska, M., Stephens, S., Walker, J. 2016. Skewed Age Ratios of Breeding mallards in the Nebraska Sandhills. American Midland Naturalist. 175(2):280-285.Online
Haugen, M., M. Vrtiska, and L. A. Powell. 2015. Duck species co-occurrence in hunter daily bags. Wildlife Society Bulletin 39:70-78.Online
Haugen, M., M. Vrtiska, and L. A. Powell. 2015. The Effects of Harvest Regulations on Behaviors of Duck Hunters. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 20:15-29.Online
Uden, D., Allen, C., Bishop, A., Grosse, R., Jorgensen, C., LaGrange, T., Stutheit, R., Vrtiska, M. (2015). Predictions of future ephemeral wetland habitat availability for the continued management of North American waterbirds under global change. EcospheOnline
Uden, D.R., C.R. Allen, A.A. Bishop, R. Grosse, C.F. Jorgensen, T.G. LaGrange, R.G. Stutheit and M.P. Vrtiska. 2015. Predictions of future ephemeral springtime waterbird habitat availability under global change. Ecosphere 6(11):215.Online
Haugen, M. T., Powell, L. A., Vrtiska, M. (2014). Assessment of Spatial Changes in the Duck Harvest within the Central Flyway, 1997-2011. Wildfowl, 64, 75-90.
Groepper, S. R., Vrtiska, M. P., Powell, L. A., Hygnstrom, S. E. (2012). Evaluation of the effects of September hunting seasons on resident Canada geese in Nebraska. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 36, 524–530.Online
Henaux, V., Powell, L. A., Vrtiska, M., Hobson, K. (2012). Establishing Winter Origins of Migrating Lesser Snow Geese Using Stable Isotopes. Avian Conservation and Ecology, 7, 5.Online
Groepper, S. R., P. J. Gabig, M. P. Vrtiska, J. M. Gilsdorf, S. E. Hygnstrom, and L. A. Powell. 2008. Population and spatial dynamics of resident Canada geese in southeastern Nebraska. Human-wildlife Conflicts 2:271-278.Online
Hinrichs, M. P., Vrtiska, M., Pegg, M. A., Chizinski, C. (2021). Motivations to participate in hunting and angling: a comparison among preferred activities and state of residence. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 26(6), 576--595.Online



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyForest Resources; Wildlife Ecology majorMississippi State University1995
Master of ScienceBiologyEastern Kentucky University1991
Bachelor of ScienceAgriculture; Natural Resources major with a Wildlife Management Option and a Biology minorUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln1986




SNR Program Areas

  • Applied Ecology

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Avian ecology
  • Conservation biology
  • Harvest management
  • Waterfowl conservation and management


Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/ 2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/ 2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant TitleSoutheast Kansas Mallard Wintering Ecology Study
Starting Date09/23/2022


Ending Date06/30/2026
Funding Level$362,619.00
Funding AgencyKansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (USFWS)


Grant TitleProtecting the Terns and Plovers of Nebraska and Mentoring the Next Generation (Additional Funding)
Starting Date04/08/2021


Ending Date06/30/2022
Funding Level$21,884.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Environmental Trust


Grant TitleProtecting the Terns and Plovers of NE and mentoring the Next Generation (Additional)
Starting Date04/01/2020


Ending Date06/30/2021
Funding Level$21,355.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Evironmental Trust



Graduate Programs

Master of Applied Science

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences
including specializations in

  • Applied Ecology

Doctorate of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences
including specializations in

  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught

Course NumberCourse TitleFall Even YearsFall Odd YearsSpring Even YearsSpring Odd YearsSummer SessionCross Listing
NRES 001Special Topics: Wildlife Tools and EquipmentXX
NRES 101Natural Resources OrientationXX
NRES 111Natural Resource Conservation in Society
NRES 233Wildlife Field Techniques LabXX
NRES 431/831Waterfowl Ecology and ManagementX
NRES 433/833Wildlife Management TechniquesXX