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in the drift: Winter 2015


Issue 21, Winter 2015

Dear Society for Freshwater Science,

Happy new year! 2015 brings SFS back to a more "normal" annual meeting format, and of course like in any new year with us, it's time to crack down on abstract-writing and a slew of other important meeting- and society-related obligations. This is the "deadlines" issue, and we at in the drift are doing the best we can to help (see the "Mark Your Calendars" section below).

Portland was fun last year, but it was also really big and a little chaotic. Too chaotic for many of SFS's traditional events, including both the silent and live auctions. But those will be back this year, so do not neglect to donate if you have any good stuff. All proceeds benefit the students of SFS, and they do all of the organizing. SRC chair Petra Kanzfelder contributed an awesome summary (below) of all the events the SRC is organizing this year in Milwaukee.

As usual, there will be lots of other great stuff at this year's annual meeting, so have a look at the Milwaukee 2015 website for workshops, special sessions, hotel info, and much more. But don't forget about all the other important society stuff going on in the meanwhile, including ongoing BoD elections (vote by 14 Feb!), important policy-related activities (read Dave Strayer's "President's Environment"), and everything else our dedicated committees continue to do.

Thanks for reading, and please do not hesitate to report any relevant news to us for highlighting in in the drift, your SFS newsletter. Email us!


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

  • Dave Strayer's latest President's Environment
  • Everyone knows the Milwaukee abstract deadline was extended to 30 Jan, right?
  • SFS 2015 ELECTIONS Vote here.
  • Read the official comment SFS submitted to the EPA re: "Waters of the United States" here.
  • ALL FWS/JNABS/FIB issues ever published are now available with SFS member login HERE.
  • Does your institution subscribe to FWS? Check this list. If the answer is NO, then fill out this form so UCP can help.
  • Are you an oligochaete fan?? Mark Wetzel and John Reynolds have just released the 2nd Edition of Nomenclatura Oligochaetologica!
  • Don't forget to check out the latest Making Waves podcast!
  • Keep up with Milwaukee 2015 developments, and be sure to use hashtag #2015SFS for all meeting-related tweets.
  •  The name "Milwaukee" allegedly is derived from an Algonquin word meaning "gathering place by the water".


Mark Your Calendars

Winter-issue deadlines special section. Keep these dates close at hand:


Freshwater Science Article Spotlight:

What can poop do for your stream's nutrient cycles?

Hood, McNeely, Finlay, Sterner, Issue 33(4) pages 1093-1107

Chances are, most of us learned in an undergraduate course how important shredders (detritivores) are in transforming CPOM, like leaves, into FPOM that is either suspended in the water column or settles to the stream bed, providing food for a large diversity of small aquatic fauna. But did you realize that this essential shredder-mediated process is predominantly about the massive quantities of poop that these leaf-eaters generate (“egestion”, if you prefer to be ultra-scientific about it)? And not to worry: as Jim Hood, lead author of this issue’s spotlighted FWS article, patiently explained to us, their pee is important too (i.e., excretion of soluble compounds).

Jim developed a lasting curiosity about the importance of shredder waste products to stream nutrient cycling during the early stages of his PhD research – along with co-authors Jacques Finlay and Bob Sterner as his advisers at the University of Minnesota, and Camille McNeely a closely collaborating postdoc at the time. They figured that the process ought to be a pretty big deal in the bigger picture of whole-stream metabolism. The reasoning goes like this: Other invertebrates and microbes use FPOM as key food material, so the quality of FPOM should matter a lot. And because shredders play a key role in generating FPOM, particularly via their waste products, then it is clearly important to understand how shredders’ digestive transformation of CPOM to FPOM impacts FPOM quality.

Authors Jacques Finlay, Jim Hood, and Bob Sterner on the day of Jim's PhD defense. Not pictured is author Camille McNeely, now an associate professor at University of Eastern Washington, who was also highly invovled in all components of the project.

In the summer of 2006, still not yet decided on the main focus of his PhD, Jim happened to have some time and a pile of conditioned leaves on hand at a field site in California (Elder Creek, in photo). He was interested in nutrient stoichiometry, so he set up a preliminary experiment with a couple of local shredder taxa and controlled diet rations consisting of conditioned leaf litter from different species and also stream algae. What he found baffled all of the co-authors. It turned out that a common model used to predict C:N:P stoichiometry of the shredders’ waste products – based on both stoichiometry of the original food source and body stoichiometry of the shredder itself – didn’t work at all. And, voila! Suddenly Jim had a new passion for poop, some great ideas for a broader PhD research project, and even the fodder for a soon-to-be-successful EPA-STAR graduate research fellowship. So it often goes…

The following summer, now armed with that EPA-STAR fellowship, Jim and co-authors designed another experiment to try to figure out why the common stoichiometric models were not working for their focal taxa. They added a sample site in Minnesota, along with more shredder taxa, and this time they also evaluated gut contents after the focal shredders ate the various rations that Jim had carefully measured out for them.

California's Elder Creek, with its strongly detrital-based food web, perfect setting for whimsical shredder-poop experiments. (photo: Jim Hood)

Evaluating gut contents was not easy but was super-informative. “Those guts are small, and it is difficult to get enough material for nutrient analysis,” Jim told us. Indeed, they were only successful for two out of the four total shredder taxa that they attempted (the caddisflies in the photos). What these caddisfly guts told them was that these “shredders” were not exactly eating what Jim et al. (and pretty much all the rest of us) thought they were eating. Rather than eating the cracker with the peanut butter on top (stream ecologist slang for leaves conditioned by microbes), they actually were doing something more like licking the peanut butter off of the cracker and leaving most of that boring old cracker behind (i.e., “selective feeding”). Hence, the clincher: knowing the nutrient stoichiometry of the full package (cracker plus peanut butter), which is what most of us measure as the food source for shredders, turns out to be essentially meaningless to predict poop and pee stoichiometry. These shredder waste products are much more nutritious than anyone thought they would be.

The take-home message is that this shredder-generated FPOM is actually higher in nutrient content than the conditioned leaves that serve as the original food source (!!), and now it can serve as a high-quality food for other stream invertebrates and microbes. And to think all of this resulted from a small feeding experiment with a stoichiometric model that didn’t work. Jim has a couple of things to say about this. First, being baffled about something is often a good starting point for big things in science. Think outside the box, and “try and tackle questions from a lot of different directions”, he recommends. “This work grew from a small pilot experiment conducted basically on a whim to an article featured in Freshwater Science!” And then there is also the part about the poop. “Bug poop is important in streams, but there is a cost associated with constantly talking about it,” he admits. But it seems there is some pride for him too, having “earned” the nickname “#2” as a direct result of this work.


Psychoglypha sp. (photo: Jim Hood)

Lepidostoma (photo: Jim Hood)

Pam's Journal Notes

Pam's Corner

Have you noticed recently that you’re having trouble accessing current content of our Journal? Have you visited BioOne only to find FWS missing? Here, Pam solves this mystery, recommends an institutional subscription for all of us, and gives us an easy way to request one.

In January 2014, the University of Chicago Press (UCP) became the Society for Freshwater Science’s copublisher of Freshwater Science (FWS). This new arrangement included the following major outcomes:
  • UCP assumed financial responsibility for the journal
  • SFS assumed responsibility for its content
  • UCP and SFS share the profits
At the same time, UCP recommended (and SFS agreed) that, on the basis of current trends in academic publishing, the business model of the journal should be modified to reduce page charges and to increase the number of institutional subscriptions to the journal. To this end, we have consolidated access to current and past journal content by moving all content to JSTOR and ending our contract with BioOne as of December 31, 2014.

Freshwater Science

Many of your institutions probably subscribe to the JSTOR archive, where past journal content is stored after a 3-y embargo period. However, FWS current content (<3 years old) is hosted online on the JSTOR Current Scholarship web site. This content is not part of the JSTOR archive and can be accessed only by subscription to FWS, which (as you know) is included in your SFS membership.

You have unlimited access to journal content via the SFS web site. However, access to current content via any other pathway, including an institutional subscription to the JSTOR archive, will be restricted unless your institution has a subscription to FWS. Therefore, if you like to access the full text of SFS with one click from a web search, the solution is to contact your institution’s librarian to request an institutional subscription to FWS or to ensure the library’s listing is updated to direct to the current content on JSTOR. You will benefit (1) the journal by helping to increase the number of institutional subscriptions and (2) yourself by eliminating the need to access FWS current content via the SFS site.

Some helpful instructions
  • To see if your institution has an active subscription to FWS, visit https://www.freshwater-science.org/Journal/files/FWS_subscriptions_2015-01-05.pdf
  • If your institution has a Print-Only subscription or is not on the list, recommend an electronic FWS subscription to your librarian. Librarians consistently report that recommendations from faculty, staff, and students are among the most important factors they consider when making acquisition decisions.
  • To recommend FWS to your librarian, visit journals.uchicago.edu/LRF/FWS and provide UCP with a little information about yourself and your institution. When you submit the form, UCP’s will deliver the recommendation to your institution’s serials librarian on your behalf.
  • If your institution has a Print+Electronic or Electronic-Only subscription to FWS, remind your librarian that new content will no longer be posted to BioOne starting in 2015. Instead, the library’s listing should be updated to direct to the journal’s current content on JSTOR.
  • Questions? Contact UCP’s Journals Customer Service at subscriptions@press.uchicago.edu or call 877-705-1878 (toll-free, U.S. & Canada) or 773-753-3347.


Kim's Cash-Flow Corner

Kim Haag

In this second edition of our Finance Committee Chair’s column, Kim takes on two linked topics: 1) the impact of fluctuating membership on SFS finances, and 2) the Reserve Fund, our Society’s financial safety net.

SFS Membership – A Moving Target

Did you know that SFS membership has ranged from 1,594-1,810 during the last 10 years? That variation in excess of 200 members is equivalent to about 15%, and that makes membership A Moving Target. These relatively large fluctuations in membership are important because more than 75% of SFS income comes from membership dues (recall from Kim’s last column), and a loss of up to 15% in dues income is substantial.

Ideally, of course, we’d like more members rather than less, and during the past 10 years, the SFS Executive Committee and Board of Directors have considered several strategies for increasing, or at the very least maintaining, SFS membership and the essential income it generates. One strategy proposed in 2010 was to offer a Young Professional membership to members during their first 3 years following graduation. The Young Professional membership ($55) costs more than a Student Membership ($40) but less than a Regular membership ($75), and is meant to encourage former student members to continue to belong to SFS as their income [presumably] rises gradually after graduation. Another strategy has been to provide membership to all those registering as non-members at the annual meeting. The increased cost of registering as a non-member then goes into the pool of membership dues income. Our most recent promising strategy has been the Chapters Initiative. Those joining an SFS Chapter are also automatically SFS members, and we hope that by stimulating interest and participation in chapters, we will ensure ongoing SFS membership at the broader level of the whole Society.

The Officers, Executive Committee, and Board of Directors strive to control SFS expenses so that membership dues do not have to be increased. The last dues increase ($10 for Regular Members and $5 for Student Members) occurred in 2007! A subsequent increase in the cost of membership ($5) in 2010 was related to the cost of online access to the journal and hence does not contribute to membership dues income. …But what happens when dues income decreases due to falling membership, and operating expenses exceed dues income?

The Reserve Fund to the Rescue!

SFS maintains a Reserve Fund (in the form of a basic savings account), which originated in 1982 at about $10,000. The Reserve Fund is conservatively invested, and yields interest and dividends, which were historically added to the Reserve Fund to increase its size. During years when there was a profit from the annual meeting, that profit was also added to the Reserve Fund. The Reserve Fund is there as a “safety net”, to cover unexpected expenses, maintain the solvency of SFS, and to pay all the bills accrued in the unlikely event that SFS has to disband. The Finance Committee recommends a minimum balance for the Reserve Fund, which is the sum of two years of operating expenses, and about 35% of average annual meeting expenses. During the past 15 years, the Reserve Fund was available to cover two substantial meeting deficits of about $35,000 each without falling below the recommended minimum balance.

The Reserve Fund grew during the years since its inception. In 1996, when the Reserve Fund reached about $100,000, a decision was made to use part of the Reserve to match Endowment contributions. In 2001, after a particularly profitable annual meeting in Wisconsin, SFS began to use part of the profit from annual meetings to support the Presidential Discretionary Fund (instead of putting all of the profits into the Reserve Fund), which pays for special projects that SFS presidents believe will contribute to the mission and long-term goals of the Society. Interest and dividends of about $20,000 annually are also no longer added to the Reserve Fund but are used to help support SFS annual operating expenses, so that a dues increase can be postponed. The Finance Committee eventually imposed a maximum size limit for the Reserve Fund, and beginning in 2011 Reserve Funds in excess of the recommended maximum have been used to support Strategic Plan initiatives.

Thank you, Reserve Fund!

We hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to contact me (Kim) any time with questions or feedback: khhaag@usgs.gov.

Fun with the SRC in Milwaukee!

Many thanks to SRC president Petra Kranzfelder for contributing the following summary of fun and useful student events for 2015...

The Student Resources Committee (SRC) will be running four exciting events including the: SRC Workshop, Silent Book Auction, Live Auction, and Student-Mentor Mixer. We will also support undergraduate travel awards and administer merchandise sales.

SRC Workshop. Student members, do you enjoy kayaking with friends down beautiful rivers? Well then, join us for our SRC Workshop on Sunday, May 17th from 9 AM to 3 PM, where we will explore human interactions with the freshwater environment through a guided kayak tour down the Milwaukee River. Check out the meeting workshop page for more info or contact our coordinator, Cameron Turner (crt343@gmail.com).

Silent Book Auction. We are now accepting book donations for the Silent Book Auction. Consider donating a newly published book written by your favorite scientist, a regional aquatic book, or a classic freshwater science text. For contributions, please contact us via email or bring the book by the Silent Book Auction table the first day of the conference. Information and donation contact: Hilary Madinger (hmadinge@uwyo.edu). And don’t forget to bid on books during the conference to support the endowment awards!

 Our fabulous auctioneer Nick Aumen takes bids on a NABS 1992 mug during the live auction in 2012. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Live Auction. Don’t miss out on participating in the Live Auction this year! The auction is scheduled for the evening of Monday, May 18th. We are looking for unique and creative donations from SFS members. Donations can be anything from artwork to pottery to beer-themed bird feeders (see Fall 2013 newsletter). All of the funds raised from the live auction go to the SFS endowment awards, which supports SFS student research and travel awards. We look forward to being entertained by our auctioneer Nick Aumen! Please contact the live auction coordinator for more information: Joanna Blaszczak (joanna.blaszczak@duke.edu).

Student-mentor mixer. The student-mentor mixer, designed to facilitate interactions between students and experienced professionals, will be held on Monday, May 18th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Mentors may include aquatic science professors, research associates, post-doctoral researchers, government employees, and private consultants. This mixer provides students a great opportunity to network and engage in lively conversation with mentors and peers in a relaxed environment. Each student (over age 21 of course) gets a free drink ticket!! Please check the box and fill out the associated info for this event during registration, so that we can match students with mentors based on shared interests.

Bruce Vondracek and students at the 2009 Student-Mentor mixer. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Milwaukee merchandise!
This year we will be selling SFS 2015 logo t-shirts ($15), long sleeve shirts ($20), hoodies ($30), and Pilsner beer glasses ($10). Pre-order your merchandise during registration and pick up your item(s) onsite at the SRC merchandise table for best availability.

To learn more about these activities and to stay updated as the Milwaukee meeting approaches, visit our SFS-SRC webpage or Facebook page. We hope to see you all at our SRC-sponsored events in Milwaukee!

Some examples of the merchandise that will be available for purchase in Milwaukee.

Founding member "Larry" Larimore (1923-2015)

This brief announcement is courtesy of Mark Wetzel. A more extensive memoriam highlighting Larry's personal life and professional career will soon be presented on the SFS website.

Dr. Richard Weldon (Larry) Larimore, 91, passed away Tuesday 13 January 2015 in Urbana, Illinois. Larry was an aquatic ecologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) from 1946 through 1988, focusing on the ecology of fish and benthic communities in lotic and lentic systems. In April 1953, Larry and 12 other biologists convened an informal meeting at the INHS river lab in Havana, Illinois, thus founding the Midwest Benthological Society. Larry is survived by his bride and life partner, Glenn E. "Ghee" Livingston Larimore, sons Richard Livingston Larimore (Cloydia), Kenneth Gregory Larimore (Tanja), and Michael Scott Larimore; grandchildren Rachel Larimore, Ryan Larimore, and Eric Larimore; niece Lynn Stanberry (Darrell); great-nephew Jay Stanberry; and many friends throughout the world. A memorial service celebrating his life is planned for Friday 23 January, at the INHS Forbes Natural History Building in Champaign, Illinois.


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
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 26: Carbon Fates, Dr. Erin Hotchkiss more
  • Fall 2017 Issue of In the Drift now available! more
  • September 2017 Issue of Freshwater Science now online 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 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



    Over 60 logos were submitted by 28 individuals and narrowed to 3 finalists. Now is your chance to select the winner.

  • SFS signs two letters sent to the US EPA regarding the Trump Administration's proposed revisions to the Waters of the US rule


More SFS News...

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