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in the drift: Winter 2016


Issue 24, Winter 2016

Dear Society for Freshwater Science,

Hi SFSters, welcome to the new year and all the deadlines that come with it. We are preparing our abstracts, as usual for this time of year. How is yours coming? Don't give up! This year's annual meeting in Sacramento is going to be awesome, and we are looking forward to catching up with all of you there.

Sac 2016 will bring a variety of fabulous events, including great plenary and special sessions, a number of student-organized events (see the SRC-contributed column below), an off-site banquet in Old Town Sacramento, and lots of fun mixers where we will all meet new people and come up with fantastic new research ideas.

And don't forget about the Taxonomy Fair! Sometimes it might not get its fair share of attention from the paparazzi, but this year is bound to change that. Organizer Sean Sullivan recently let us know that, in addition to the typical diversity of taxonomic experts on-hand to help you identify your specimens (12+ experts specialized in groups from Algae to Mayflies), this year will also feature angling author-lecturer-bug man Rick Hafele and Jerry Schoen of the University of Massachusetts. These are EPT and educational outreach specialists whose photos have been used on websites such as Naturalist, The River's Calendar, Bug Guide, Troutnut, and other citizen science and/or angling sites. Bring your problematic specimens to the Taxonomy Fair, or just stop by to see what Rick and Jerry are up to!

Finally, while it is easy to get caught up planning for the meeting, don't forget about other important Society business. For example, have you voted yet for the new SFS president-elect and other new Board members? Also, have a look at Matt Whiles's latest President's Environment and see what actions SFS is taking to promote diversity in our ranks.

Read on for plenty of other great SFS goings-on, and see you in Sactown!


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


Mark Your Calendars

It is that time of year: lots and lots of dates to remember. Here are all your SFS-related ones:


Freshwater Science Article Spotlight:

Alpine glaciers, streams, winter fieldwork, and pesky terrestrial mammals

Brown, Dickson, Carrivick & Füreder, Issue 34(4) pages 1201-1215.
(Open access; or SFS members login to get journal access!)

To freshwater scientists, one of the coolest things about glaciers is that their meltwater creates unique stream habitat characterized by bed and channel instability, high turbidity, extremely cold water, and a few other interesting physico-chemical characteristics. Indeed, alpine streams in general are known to harbor an unexpectedly high diversity of aquatic life, principally due to the high habitat heterogeneity from one small stream to the next, a feature strongly enhanced by the presence of glaciers. Alpine streams range from glacier-fed torrents, to snowmelt- or rain-fed streams with either permanent or intermittent flow, to highly stable groundwater-fed springs. And depending on spatial location and/or time of year, alpine streams can be influenced by a blend of these various sources.

This issue's spotlighted author Lee Brown, now an associate professor at the University of Leeds, has been working on the hydrology and biodiversity of alpine streams in Europe since graduate school. He has found out that the small watersheds that feed alpine headwaters are highly sensitive to environmental change, and one of the most rapid ongoing changes is shrinking glaciers. Given the fast pace of climate change and a concern for what will become of glacier-influenced stream ecosystems, Lee joined forces with Austria-based alpine ecologist Leo Füreder (who had been Lee's PhD external examiner in 2004) to develop a large project on Alpine streams of Austria's Hohe Tauern National Park. In their spotlighted FWS paper, written along with Leeds colleague Jonathan Carrivick and PhD student Neil Dickson, they saw that both spatial and temporal patterns of macroinvertebrate diversity appear to respond unimodally to the relative amount of glacial meltwater contributing to a stream reach; that is, peaks of biodiversity occurred where and when glacier melt mixed with groundwater sources. They also evaluated the effects of irregular flow and thermal regime to the system from a hydropower project and found, interestingly, that the macroinvertebrate communities were not particularly affected. Lee and coauthors concluded that diminishing glacier meltwater sources will eventually diminish biodiversity in these Alpine streams, but that the suite of adaptations that many macroinvertebrates possess for living in harsh alpine streams might underpin a resilience to other types of stressors (like unpredictable flow releases from reservoirs).

Study basin in the Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria. The glacier-fed mainstem of the Eisboden River appears milky from the glacial "flour" suspended in the water column. The floodplain portion of the river also has a number of smaller groundwater-fed tributaries. (photo: Lee Brown)

A photo from the same location as the above photo, except in winter, when most of the stream channels are covered in snow, and glacier melt is an insignificant contribution to local stream hydrology. (photo: Lee Brown)

A unique component to this study was its year-round monitoring. It is difficult to access high-mountain study sites during the north-temperate winter, when streams can be buried under meters of snow and ambient weather conditions are often significantly less than pleasant — so most of the prior understanding of glacier-influenced streams of the Alps had been based on sampling only in the relatively much easier summer and flanking seasons. These spotlighted authors took it to the limit — skiing, digging carefully through piles of snow to get to dataloggers, and using armpit heat to warm up downloader cables — to generate the first known detailed "dead-of-winter" dataset for glacier-fed alpine streams. And ironically, after all that successful hard-core winter fieldwork, it was a hungry spring marmot that wound up causing the greatest chunk of data to be lost. The marmot that ate the datalogger cables even made it into the published paper (see first paragraph under "Data analysis")! You just never know what will happen in a field-intensive project.

Neil crossing a rickety old bridge during an unexpected winter flow release from the hydropower project. Yikes. (photo: Jon Carrivick)

But these spotlighted authors clearly have the flexibility to make the most of it. They now have five publications out of this project (most of the prior ones having to do with physical aspects of the system), and they have big plans for the near future, including a new PhD student beginning work on stream food webs and how they might respond to decreasing glacial meltwater. Lee says that the best advice he can give to early-stage researchers is to publish as much of your work as possible, in the best journals possible (FWS we assume is a good choice). Although it might seem difficult when you've got a winter field site near a ski area, "avoid procrastination!" Lee says. "Nothing will ever be perfect, so just take the leap, submit to review, and at worst you will have some constructive criticism to improve your work." Lee also notes that this process leads to more ideas, new collaborations, better ideas for funding applications… all good for perpetuating the cycle and fulfilling your scientific career.

And speaking of collaborations, if any of this strikes your fancy and you decide you'd like to start working with the River Basin Processes and Management Research Group (based at Leeds), Lee wants to hear from you. "We are keen to develop international collaborations, host visiting researchers, help with funding applications for incoming post-doctoral fellowships, and we also have several fully funded PhD opportunities each year," Lee says. You are welcome to contact Lee directly, and/or you can follow the Group on Twitter: @rbpmleeds.

Authors Lee Brown and Neil Dickson enjoying a day off to ski on-piste at the local ski resort. Certainly not procrastinating! (photo: Jon Carrivick)



Tina Mendez

You might have heard by now that our beloved Patina ("Tina") Mendez has stepped down from her position as SFS web editor, and the Publications Committee is in the process of seeking out her replacement. (A perk of the job, by the way, is that you get to have a big say in the next major redesign of our website. Contact Pub Comm chair Chuck Hawkins if you have any interest!) Meanwhile, we talked to Tina about her time as webmaster and learned a bit about the history of our web page.

ITD: When did you start as NABS/SFS web editor, and how did you decide to apply for the position in the first place?

PM: I started the web editor position at the end of 2009 — so I just had my 6th anniversary — and the time went by very quickly! I decided to apply for the position because I've been working in web since my first job as an undergrad. I worked for Sega, the video game company, as a web producer. Then, during grad school I designed the Essig Museum of Entomology website (UC Berkeley), and during my postdoc (at Minnesota) I designed the web part of the Trichoptera Literature Database using illustrations by Ralph Holzental. My geeky love of aquatic insects AND the Internets seemed to be the right intersection for the SFS webmaster job.

ITD: What was the website like when you started as "webmaster", and what did you have to do to bring it up to speed?

PM: When I started, the "new" website (circa 2008) had recently been launched following a redesign by the Schneider Group, bringing us into the era of the bubbly aqua background. Prior to this update, Antoine Morin had developed and maintained the basic NABS website as a volunteer. Most of the content from Antoine's "purple site" had just been ported over, so some of the first things I did was to overhaul the basic navigation and then start working with committee chairs to reorganize and rewrite the main sections.

ITD: What was it like for you to take on the main communication engine for SFS when you started out as a relatively "green" young member, straight out of a first postdoc?

PM: When I started, I only knew a few people from attending annual meetings, and I didn't really know about the nuts and bolts of how everything at SFS worked or any of the committee chairs or Board members (we have many!). I know this will sound "textbitey," but the highlights of working on the SFS website have really been around working with people and getting to know all of the folks that are involved in running the Society. I can't thank everyone enough for all of the help on the site.

The original NABS website maintained by Antoine Morin, screenshot from 1998. President Gary Lamberti actually posted his "president's environment" online, even back then in the dark ages! (But apparently we still had to use an actual telephone to reserve hotel rooms for the annual meeting.)


ITD: What are some of your favorite "new" developments in SFS that you played a role in as web editor over the past six years?

PM: Some of the cool web-presence things that have happened during my residency:

  • The Society changed its name, and SFS members really participated in the discussion (mainly facilitated through the website).
  • Application submissions for two of our major programs (Endowment Awards and Instars) are now online.
  • The Making Waves podcast got started — 16 episodes so far!
  • The PIP committee started and created all of the content for the Benthos News.
  • We now have an SFS YouTube channel, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Instars launched and is in its 6th year.
  • The newsletter went to a web and email format, and the Bulletin was retired with all content now on the website.
  • Pretty much every section of the website has been completely rewritten and modified. Plus we have new sections that didn't exist before, like Regional and International Chapters and Society Business.

ITD: Of all of the changes that you helped facilitate, what are you proudest of?

PM: It's kinda funny, but the things I am most proud of are the little details. I really liked making the Instars logo and the promotional materials. But I'm also proud of how happy people were of seeing their work featured on the site.

ITD: Now that you are "retiring", what's your advice for the person who will follow in your footsteps as the new SFS webmaster?

PM: Have fun with the position! It's a great way to get involved in the Society and to work with so many people who are dedicated to freshwater science. I also recommend checking out the history of the original SFS website (prior to the current version), and it just so happens that there is one available to read, by original webmaster Antoine Morin (click here).

ITD: So this is the true $64,000 question burning in everyone's minds: What are you planning to do now, just drop off the face of the SFS planet?

PM: Oh, don't be silly. Here I am helping Deb get the 24th issue of the newsletter posted, and I'll still be around working on various SFS committees and attending annual meetings. For anyone interested in the position, I am happy to answer any questions. It is time for someone with some great new ideas to come in with a vision of what the site can be in its next iteration. And I am now looking forward to spending more time with the caddisflies!

A screen shot of the NABS home page in 2003 (prep for the Athens meeting). Did anyone get their abstract stolen and have to resubmit? (Ah, the good old days.)


Pam's Journal Notes

Pam's Corner

Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. In this issue's Notes, Pam talks about the backlog of papers that followed our journal's name change. It wasn't easy, but a collaborative effort (isn't that always the best way?) and the awesomeness of SFS helped increase journal space and shorten the turn-around time from acceptance to publication.

Sheila and I have worked for 2.5 years to manage the influx of manuscripts that followed the journal's title change. The title change triggered the 2013 influx, but contributing to the problem was that in 2012 and early 2013, I had agreed to publish several exciting special series in 2014—2016. Special series have 3 properties that I underestimated. First, they entail submission of a significant number of strong and interesting manuscripts, which boosted the 2013 submission rate even higher. Second, the papers move through the system synchronously. I minimize the effect on the review process by requiring that special series organizers provide guest editors, but once the papers arrive on my desk after being accepted, everything must be set aside until they are edited. Third, special series are preplanned for specific issues; thus, they decreased the print space available for other papers in 2014—2015. Meanwhile, the number of pages allocated for publication in 2014 was based on J-NABS data (the only data available in 2012), and FWS proved to be a different beast altogether. To make a long story short, I could not stay ahead of the papers waiting to be printed despite help from University of Chicago Press (UCP) in the form of more pages. The only way to get 3 volumes of papers published in 2 years was to publish them online ahead of print.

How does one accomplish that? By the annual meeting in 2015, Sheila and I were both pretty ragged from trying. Then 3 wonderful things happened. First, the society, led by Dave Strayer, Mike Swift, Kim Haag and members of the Finance Committee, Chuck Hawkins, and Irwin Polls agreed to provide the funds necessary to publish the backlog in full as soon as I could get the papers edited and into press. Second, UCP agreed to allocate 1600 pages in 2015 and up to 2100 pages in 2016 to provide the space needed publish those papers. Third, Irwin Polls and Chuck Hawkins agreed to hire a part-time technical editor/copy editor, Eva Silverfine Ott, to help Sheila and me make it happen. Eva was trained as an aquatic scientist and has 25 years of scientific editing experience.

So we did it! We published ~140 papers in 2015 (1605 pages). The March 2016 issue is in press (443 pages). The June issue is edited and in copy editing/proof stage (300+ pages). So NOW, we can work through most of the September and all of the December 2016 issues with a 3-mo turn-around time from final acceptance to print. Our total turn-around time will be back to an acceptable range in a couple of months, and I am within my page limits. The best part is that the society and its leaders, the Editorial Board, and UCP joined forces to make this happen. I could not be more grateful for what happened in Milwaukee or more proud of what we ALL accomplished in the last 6 months. Happy New Year, SFS. Thank you for everything!



Student Resources Committee (SRC) activities for Sac 2016

Thanks to SRC Chair Joanna Blaszczak for contributing the following summary of fun and useful student events for 2015.

The SRC will be running four exciting events in Sacramento 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. Let's communicate! This year's SRC workshop will be joining forces with the early career members of SFS and Engage Science for a half-day workshop teaching young scientists how to better communicate their research to the general public. The workshop will be held on Saturday, May 21st and costs $20 for students, $30 for early career, and $40 for regular members. Please sign up for the workshop when you register for SFS 2016 and contact Matt Fuller (matt.fuller@duke.edu) or Megan Fork (megan.fork@duke.edu) with any questions!

Undergraduate Awards. Undergraduates play an important role in SFS and the SRC, and we are excited to offer up to 6, $600 travel awards to help fund undergraduate attendance at the SFS meeting in Sacramento. We hope faculty and graduate students will encourage their mentees to apply for these awards, and that undergraduate attendees take advantage of all the SRC has to offer them at Sacramento and beyond! Please contact Kait Farrell (kfarrell@uga.edu) with any questions.

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: Andi Fitzgibbon (afitzgib@kent.edu). And don't forget to bid on books during the conference to support the endowment awards!

 Beer is an acceptable donation to the SRC-run live auction (this shot from last year in Milwaukee; photo by Mark Wetzel). Of course, we also look forward to works of art from Pam Silver and many others. All proceeds go to the Endowment!

Live Auction. Don't miss out on participating in the Live Auction this year! The auction is scheduled for the evening of Sunday, May 22nd. 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, very bottom). All of the funds raised from the live auction go to the SFS endowment awards, which supports SFS student research and travel. We look forward to being entertained by our auctioneer Nick Aumen as well as a few karaoke stars (uh oh)! Please contact the live auction coordinator for more information: Dustin Kincaid (kincai32@msu.edu).

Student-mentor mixer. The student-mentor mixer, designed to facilitate interactions between students and experienced professionals, will be held on Sunday, May 22nd 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. Contact Matthew Trentman (matthew.trentman.1@nd.edu) with any questions.

This is what the student-run merchandise table looked like in 2012 (Louisville). It just gets better every year! (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Sacramento merchandise! This year we will be selling SFS 2016 logo t-shirts ($15), long sleeve shirts ($20), hoodies ($30), and ceramic tumblers ($10). Pre-order your merchandise during registration and pick up your item(s) onsite at the SRC merchandise table for best availability. Items will also be available to purchase during the meeting. Don't miss out! Support SFS students by purchasing your conference gear from the SRC!

…For example, here is some of the merchandise that the SRC will be selling in Sacramento. Check out the awesome ceramic mug!


A Few Chapters Updates

Regional and international chapters of SFS are still relatively new to the Society — by our calculations, we are nearly 3 years in from the birth of the first SFS chapters. Michael Barbour helped them get established (see more history in the Spring 2014 ITD), and as of this past annual meeting, Chris Swan has become the official Chapter Liaison. For this issue, we thought we'd check in to see how some of our chapters are progressing.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the answer appears to be "it's complicated". Some chapters have already found their way and are forging ahead at a breakneck pace. Others are still trying to figure out how to find that one strong foothold that will get them going. Factors that seem to be correlated with a chapter's capacity to steam ahead thus far are smaller geographic extent of the represented region and, possibly, the pre-existence of another regional group with similar interests and with which to arrange joint annual meetings. Additionally, of the chapters we have heard from that have started annual meetings, they appear to be focused primarily on more applied issues (bioassessment, habitat restoration, analytical tools) than basic ecology. What does this all mean? It's too early to tell if it means anything at all, we suppose.

The California chapter met in association with the California Bioassassment Workgroup at UC Davis on 20-21 October 2015. More than 200 people attended! (photo: Mary Fricke)

The California chapter (aka "CalSFS") is an example of a chapter that has a massive head of steam, and the Pacific Northwest chapter is on a roll as well. Both these western North American chapters held annual meetings in the Fall (CalSFS met concurrently with the California Aquatic Bioassessment Workgroup in Davis in October, and the PNW chapter met in Couer d'Alene, Idaho in November). Both chapters also already have meeting dates scheduled for next year, and they are each working on by-laws specifically in regard to procedures for holding elections for officers and, it seems, for managing finances. At the joint CalSFS/Bioassessment Workgroup meeting (attended by >200 people), CalSFS chair Jim Harrington gave a presentation specifically about SFS (and promoting our annual meeting in Sacramento this year), and Sac 2016 plenary speaker Peter Moyle joined to give a preview of what he plans to talk about at the meeting.

Students also are very active in CalSFS. Member Matt Cover organized a number of student outreach activities, and he put in the first proposal for what to do with funds raised by membership dues: use it to provide a $500 travel award for a single student next year. The proposal was strongly supported, and CalSFS is planning to give preference to a student who also submitted an abstract to the SFS annual meeting in Sacramento.

The California chapter has an active student membership, including student Emily Ferrell, here presenting her poster at the Davis meeting in October 2015. (photo: Mary Fricke)

CalSFS is also planning fervently for various chapter-oriented social activities at Sacramento 2016. Of course, beer and wine are both important components of such events. According to Jim Harrington, Nick Macias "has secured donations of beer" for a mixer, and Dessie Underwood is planning a wine-tasting tour. Our big idea, looking in from the outside, is as follows… Chapter organizers that are having some difficulty in getting going in their specific region should think about "crashing" one of CalSFS's social events in Sacramento. These are kind-hearted and outgoing fellow SFSters that could almost certainly lend some advice. And they might even give you a free beer!


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 Becky Bixby and Ayesha Burdett.
What's New
  • Making Waves Podcast Episode 27: Animal Migrations andnd Freshwater Nutrient Subsidies , Amanda Subalusky more
  • 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
  • Longtime SFS member and Oregon State University professor Dr. Norman Anderson passed away January 13, 2018.

  • 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


More SFS News...

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