Explore NABS

in the drift: Spring 2014


Issue 19, Spring 2014

Dear Society for Freshwater Science,

Within the week, we'll be in Portland for the 2014 Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting. Please do click on that link because this meeting promises to be rockin', and also very large, busy, and probably a little crazy. We certainly have not been able to keep up with every detail, and we hand it to SG for keeping track of it all on the JASM website. Use Twitter hashtag #2014JASM for all meeting Tweets, and be sure to check out the smartphone apps that SG has set up for help managing your schedule during the meeting!

Given that SFS is sharing the meeting with 3 other societies, there are a number of schedule-shifts for some of our traditional events. Here is the best we can make out for some of the typical SFS big-ticket items:
  • 8-9:30am, Monday, Oregon Ballroom: Randy Fuller's presidential address, Stuart Bunn's plenary, AND Colin Townsend's Award of Excellence lecture
  • 6:00-8:00pm, Monday, room C123-124: SFS Business "Lunch" (now featuring dinner, we are hoping!), plus presentation for Hynes, Environmental Stewardship, and Service Awards, and who knows what else!
  • 6:00-8:00pm, Tuesday, Exhibit Hall: Taxonomy Fair
  • NO auctions this year, but YES to a jam session. When: Tuesday 8-11pm Where: Paddy's Bar & Grill in downtown Portland
Safe travels, and see you in Portland!


Short SFS notes and quick links collected from "the drift"


All Hail, Willamette River!

Portland's river has won an international award and is the star of Freshwaters Illustrated's next major film.

We at SFS have been fans of Freshwaters Illustrated (FI) at least since the nonprofit group’s release of Riverwebs (2008), which celebrated the life and science of Dr. Shigeru Nakano. FI has been busy since then with various smaller projects, but their next feature film is now undergoing its final round of edits. The new film’s subject is the river that runs through Portland, a river whose basin houses 70% of the human population of Oregon, and a river that we have a feeling most SFSters will be a fan of when all is said and done.

FI director Jeremy Monroe will be on hand at JASM for two separate screenings of story segments from what is known as the Willamette Futures project. Willamette Futures derives its name from the Willamette River Planning Atlas, a highly successful and detailed watershed-planning guide published in 2002, among of the first of its kind. A key concept of the Atlas, which was coauthored by SFS member Stan Gregory, was to model a set of “alternative futures” for the river, based on its current trajectory of change and models of continued change over the next 50 years under three separate scenarios (based on different levels of conservation/restoration effort vs. “market”-driven objectives).

Underwater photo
On location with Freshwaters Illustrated in the making of Willamette Futures. A restoration crew works to restore large wood habitat on the McKenzie River, a major salmon producing tributary of the Willamette River (photo: David Herasimtschuk)

The Atlas has provided guidance to a variety of successful, multi-stakeholder watershed restoration efforts in the Willamette basin, many of these funded at least in part by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, a state-level entity that is funded predominantly by lottery revenues, and the Portland-based Meyer Memorial Trust. The synergism among these funders, plus university scientists, watershed groups, state and federal agencies, landowners, and other stakeholders is together known as the Willamette River Initiative. Stan describes the group as “an open group of dedicated and well-intentioned people”. It’s a group that has guided restoration in the Willamette basin into a phase that Jeremy calls “post-environmentalism conservation”. The idea seems to be that they've moved from mandated/litigated conservation to cooperative ecological restoration, much of which takes place on private working lands throughout the Willamette Valley.

“The Willamette has one of the most creative conservation communities that you'll find anywhere”, Jeremy says – and it appears that the world has noticed this also. The Willamette River won the 2012 Thiess International Riverprize, from the Australia-based International RiverFoundation, thanks to the effective, collaborative approach of the Willamette River Initiative. The prize recognizes the resulting marked improvements to the health of the river over the past decade, a “true American turn-around story” according to RiverFoundation CEO Matthew Reddy. Stan informed us that the Willamette River Initiative now has an opportunity to develop a “twinning program” with a river basin in a different country to share knowledge and encouragement.


Although it is clear that Stan played a big role in the success of the Initiative and its river, he credits the truly collaborative nature of the group: “Some are more active than others, some are more vocal than others, but everything that happens in the Willamette is because of each person that makes an effort to create a healthier river and a more liveable future”.

Stan Gregory will talk about his experiences engaging the public in Willamette River restoration in session 001 (“Communicating The Value Of Aquatic And Wetland Ecosystems To The Public And Policy Makers”, on Monday at JASM). There is some indication that he might have the Thiess Riverprize trophy in-hand as well. Jeremy Monroe will give a presentation on imagery and story telling in the same session.

The two [repeat] screenings of a series of stories from Willamette Futures will occur on Sunday 4:00-5:00 and Tuesday 12:15-1:15, both in room C123-124 of the Convention Center. See you there!

Planning Atlas
The Willamette River Basin Planning Atlas (2002, by David Hulse, Stan Gregory, and Joan Baker) was a strong motivation behind the nearly completed Freshwaters Illustrated project Willamette Futures.

On location with Freshwaters Illustrated in the making of Willamette Futures. A habitat restoration project conducted by the Johnson Creek Watershed Council on the mainstem Willamette in metropolitan Portland. (photo: David Herasimtschuk)



Freshwater Science Article Spotlight:

Nutrient concentrations and algae in streams: correlation ≠ causation.

King, Heffernan, and Cohen. Freshwater Science 33(1): 85-98

Sean King, Jim Heffernan, and Matt Cohen’s paper in FWS Issue 33(1) – the first issue published by the U of Chicago Press – is rather atypical among our recent article spotlights but is admittedly representative of a fair proportion of the science that we SFSters do. The authors completed the entire paper in the office, with only a networked computer, a keyboard, and a monitor.

Brilliant study in ‘data-mining’ though it was, the idea behind the project was seeded in real field sites. Spring-fed rivers in Florida, to be exact. As Sean was beginning his PhD program at the University of Florida, a big question in the region was whether increasing nitrate concentrations in these unique systems was causing the observed proliferation of macroalgae. Intuitively, the link made sense. But the wrench in the works was a previous study that had shown the artesian spring sources to replenish nitrogen continuously, such that these systems were assumed not to be N-limited.

So the authors took a step back from the regional issue, and Sean decided to address a broader question as one of the key objectives of his PhD research: Is the concentration of a nutrient the best metric of nutrient availability and limitation in rivers and streams in general? He first gathered data from the existing literature, then ultimately wound up testing a series of metrics (including various combinations of nutrient concentration, stream discharge, and spiraling measures) against data borrowed from the LINX I and LINX II datasets. (In case you didn’t already know, “LINX” refers to the Lotic Intersite Nitrogen Experiments, with data from 80 streams across the USA.) Sean and co-authors hypothesized that N uptake length (from spiraling theory) ought to be a better predictor of N limitation than simple N concentration in the water column, but for their more pointed question about the stimulation of algal growth, they developed and tested a slightly altered metric specific to autotrophic uptake.

Underwater photo
Underwater shot of a healthy spring-fed river in Florida. The autotrophic community is dominated by Sagittaria kurziana (strap-leaf sagittaria) along with a number of other species including Chara sp. (musk grass) and filamentous algae. The sandy substrate supports a variety of snails and other invertebrates. (photo: Sean King)

When the authors tested their metrics against the LINX I data, the outcome was intriguing. Metrics that accounted for streamflow (including spiraling parameters) could predict N limitation significantly better than could N concentration alone. But the strange and as-yet unexplained result was that these same metrics did not fare so well when tested against the LINX II data. At the moment, the authors are working to develop new models that they will be testing back in the field in the Florida streams. Sean now has a position with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, where he continues to work on the problem of macroalgal proliferation and to look for regional-scale management solutions.

Sean does not appear to regret the computer-intensive project in the least. Indeed, his advice to new PhD students is to dive right into literature review and synthesis of pre-existing data (of whatever sort). Among the benefits, he says, are: 1) not having to wait for multiple years of data collection to begin writing, 2) becoming totally immersed in the literature relevant to your discipline, and 3) being able to test your hypotheses on large, diverse datasets that you probably can’t even begin to imagine collecting yourself. Last but far from least: this approach is easy on the pocketbook, not requiring much in the way of supplemental funding!


King mining
First author Sean King hard at work at his main “field site”, busily accumulating LINX data and developing nutrient-limitation metrics.


Pam's Journal Notes

Pam's Corner

When it comes to finding and downloading scientific literature these days, most of us have become accustomed to the luxury of quick Google searches, followed by an easy one-click link to the full-text articles we want. If you’ve noticed lately that FWS is not accessible using these one-click approaches (yes, there is a good chance that you must log in to the SFS website first, and you might actually break a sweat doing so!), then it is likely that your institution does not have a FWS-specific subscription. This issue, Pam explains why FWS has become a little more frustrating to access and how to change that.

The transition to copublishing with the University of Chicago Press (UCP) has changed the mechanics of publishing and accessing FWS articles. Most of us can now navigate Editorial Manager, and UCP and I have established a smooth workflow. The final challenge is adjusting to how we access articles. I’d like to explain the rationale for the changes and offer practical advice.

FWS balances costs among authors, SFS members, and institutional subscribers. With decreased funding for page charges and tight library budgets, this balance is more difficult to achieve. One reason we sought a publishing partner was to stabilize our budget, and UCP thinks that increasing institutional subscriptions is the best way to ensure the long-term sustainability of FWS.

Freshwater Science Cover

Two keys to obtaining institutional subscriptions are discoverability and usage. The more available the content, the more cited, the more cited, the more used, the more used, the more the subscription is seen as necessary. UCP works with JSTOR to provide librarians with usage data (both “successful” usage and “turn-aways”) on the journal’s entire run, hosted all on one site. They think this consolidated usage is the best way to show the significant impact of the scholarship. As a result, our membership in BioOne will end in December 2014, and UCP asked SFS members to access FWS on JSTOR via the SFS web site or their institution’s subscription to FWS.

This strategy has created a change for users who access FWS via BioOne. FWS has relatively few institutional subscribers and many of our authors and users are not SFS members, so the need for an institutional subscription has made FWS temporarily more difficult to access. UCP is actively marketing FWS to institutions, and members have access to the entire journal content and FWS in e-book format via the SFS web site. Still, what used to appear seamless has become frustrating. The most positive way to deal with this frustration is to ask your librarian for an institutional subscription to FWS.

Things you should know:

  • A subscription to the JSTOR archive does not provide access to FWS current content, which is part of the JSTOR Current Scholarship program and requires a subscription specifically to FWS
  • FWS will not have a reliable impact factor until 2014 because its title changed in 2012. The 2012 data are:
    • 2-y impact factor (J-NABS): 2.957 (9th/100 marine–freshwater biology; 39th/136 ecology)
    • Immediacy index (FWS): 0.784 (9th marine–freshwater biology; 3rd ecology)
    • Eigenfactor (J-NABS): 0.00715 (23rd marine–freshwater biology)
    • Article influence score (J-NABS): 1.012 (9th marine–freshwater biology)
  • Subscriptions
    • Institutional print+electronic and e-only subscriptions include unlimited online access back to volume 19 (2000). Rates are tiered according to an institution’s type and research output: $248–496 (print+electronic), $210–420 (e-only). E-mail: participation@jstor.org
    • Institutional print-only is $248. Contact: UCP Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637 USA. E-mail: subscriptions@press.uchicago.edu
    • Free or deeply discounted access is available in developing nations through the Chicago Emerging Nations Initiative. Link: www.journals.uchicago.edu/ceni/
    • Librarians can contact Kari Roane (kroane@press.uchicago.edu) for more information about subscriptions

Partake in a Portland-area natural history field trip

Volcano Lands

Laura McMullen and Ivan Phillipsen, owners and guides at Portland’s own “Volcano Lands” (http://www.volcanolands.com), started their careers as full-blown aquatic ecologists, working their way through prestigious PhD programs and each publishing multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers. They’ve also attended their fair share of NABS/SFS meetings. But a few months ago they made the leap into a new realm. They pooled their resources, became certified nature guides, and started up a nature tourism company, exploiting a wide-open niche in the immensely diverse landscape surrounding their adopted hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Although still relatively new to the game of eco-tourism, Volcano Lands’ line-up of field trips is already awe-inspiring and continues to expand in scope. A participant can choose from “Wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge”, “Northern Oregon Coast”, “Mount Saint Helens”, and just about everything in-between (including one with the intriguing title “Hot Lava in the City”). Ivan and Laura ran their first trips in March 2014 and have successfully completed multiple trips weekly since then.

When we asked about what inspired them to leave our little SFS family and light off on their own as nature guides, Laura and Ivan had contrasting answers, but both pointed to a level of dissatisfaction they had reached in the field of research science. Laura had been working in consulting and doing interesting modeling work on streamflows and fish habitat, but it’s pretty clear she had been sitting in the office for too long. “In almost 2 years, I never once went down [to California, where her project was based] to experience the river,” she says. “In my opinion, that’s disturbing.” Ivan is a self-proclaimed “natural history fanatic” who loves multi-day backpacking trips lost in the wilderness with just a pair of binoculars, a camera, and a sleeping bag. He conveys a sense of disillusionment at the increasingly narrowing focus of his scientific research, when he longed for the opposite: to be out there “learning about everything”.

Another issue for both of them was that academia and research had taken them – temporarily, as is often the case – to a region that they grew to love to the extent that they could not imagine leaving. With Volcano Lands, they have put down roots in this wonderful place, and they plan to expand and share the love with as many others as they can.

So, if the JASM-specific field trip you wanted to join is full (as many already are), consider joining these ecology-savvy former NABSters. To go birding, learn the late spring wildflowers, or explore the geology and waterfalls of the region with Volcano Lands, simply visit their website (link above), click the “Calendar” tab, and sign up. And don’t worry about transport: they’ve got a rad new van to pick you up and haul you to your adventure. Finally, Laura and Ivan’s special bonus to their old SFS friends is a special discount code for JASM. Just enter the code JASM14 on the online reservation form!

Laura and Ivan
Go check out some waterfalls and other cool stuff around Portland with Laura and Ivan!



A new SFS chapter: Regional and international chapters!

You might have heard about regional and international SFS chapters being formed in the past year. Here's the scoop...

Michael Barbour took on the cause of organizing regional and international chapters of the Society back when we were still called “NABS”. A few years ago, and a couple of years after he served as NABS president in 2005-06, Barbour took the helm of the Long-Range Planning Committee. Although there had been murmurs around the Society prior to that, this is when the effort towards establishing chapters really got rolling.

Why bother, you ask? Barbour illuminates a couple of reasons. “The change in our name from the North American Benthological Society to the Society for Freshwater Science was a move in the direction of establishing a more global voice in addressing issues of our water resources,” he says, and getting chapters established worldwide should “further enhance that global voice”. Barbour and the Committee realize that other societies, in other regions, have mutual interests and objectives, but the intent is certainly not to compete. “To the contrary,” he says, “we hope that having international and regional chapters will help to align our membership with that of other societies. We recognize that members of our society will also be members of other societies. We encourage cross-over membership, because it creates diversity and mutual collaboration in our interactions and interests.”

Already a number of SFS members (around 250 of them!) have bought in, and to date there are seven established chapters that range widely in geographic extent and fundamental purpose. (See a list of them here.) Among the more geographically compact new chapters is the California Chapter, which already has its own acronym (“CalSFS”). SFS member Jim Harrington took the reins on this one, which has a strong membership overlap with the California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup (CABW), and they already have had their first chapter meeting at the 2013 CABW meeting, they’ve drafted chapter by-laws, and they are planning to meet again to brainstorm in Portland. Last we heard, the CalSFS chapter has 56 members, including 16 new to SFS.

On the other side of the coin are those chapters that span immense geographic extents, some covering greater than a continent’s worth of ground (and fresh water, of course!). One such example is the Latin American chapter, led by SFS members Alonso Ramirez and Andrea Encalada. They are just getting going but are hoping to use the chapter to help support SFS membership and travel to annual meetings, and to encourage the multitude of up-and-coming freshwater researchers in Latin America to expand their research networking opportunities to the international scale. Alonso also has been heavily involved in “Macrolatinos@”, a network of Latin American freshwater scientists interested in macroinvertebrates, stream ecology, and biomonitoring, which accomplished their second successful meeting in Mexico City earlier this year. Macrolatinos@ is independent from the Latin American SFS chapter, but it represents the flurry of freshwater research ongoing from the tip of South America to Mexico and Caribbean islands, and Alonso hopes that these two entities can ultimately create a synergy and help meet a Barbour-esque vision of increasing diversity and mutual collaboration. The SFS Latin American chapter will have their first meeting in Portland this week.

If all of this has piqued your interest in SFS chapters, maybe even to the degree that you think you might like to start your own, Michael Barbour will be leading a town hall meeting in Portland to answer all your questions. It happens Thursday from 4:00-6:00 in room A108 of the convention center. SFS has added more than 50 new members this year because of chapter activity. We hope the trend continues!

Your in the drift newsletter is brought to you by Deb Finn, Julie Zimmerman, and Patina Mendez. We represent the Public Information and Publicity (PIP) committee of SFS, co-chaired by Erin Hotchkiss and Becky Bixby.
What's New
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  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 26: Carbon Fates, Dr. Erin Hotchkiss more
  • Does Cultural Diversity Matter to Scientific Societies? Read the President's Environment more
  • SFS Student Presentation Awards! more
  • In the drift just fell into your sampler! The Spring 2015 Newsletter is here! more
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 14: Nitrogen Fixation in a Warming World, Dr. Jill Welter more
  • The President's Environment: What's New? more
  • 4th International Symposium of the Benthological Society of Asia and 2nd Youth Freshwater Ecology School August 19-25, 2018

  • 2018 Benthic Ecology Meeting (BEM) in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA: 28-30 March 2018.


  • The deadline to submit proposals for AQUATROP Special Sessions or Symposiums is now November 17, 2017

  • SFS joins CASS in condemning silencing of EPA scientists

  • Andy Leidolf appointed as SFS Executive Director



More SFS News...

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