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in the drift: Winter 2017


Issue 27, Winter 2017

Dear Society for Freshwater Science,

Yes, good news still exists. The Winter issue of in the drift is finally here in your Inbox, and you should read it instead of the world news. True, things are not looking great these days for scientists like us, but one thing hasn't changed and with any luck never will. People in our society are awesome, creative, energetic, and resilient.

Two second-time contributors to in the drift — Rachel Voight and David Manning — took on a heavier load this issue and did swimmingly. Rachel interviewed Bern Sweeney and wrote it up for the ITD Q&A, and she worked with Mike Swift on his all-new "Treasurer's Trove" column (blame Deb for the nerdy title). David worked with Vince Resh and wrote the column on Vince's 2005 interviews with the five RCC authors. Julie Zimmerman continues to edit Pam's Journal Notes, as she has been doing for many years. Lead editor Deb Finn (writing about herself in the third person) just started a faculty job and is immensely appreciative of all this support. Feel free to congratulate her on finally opting to enter the "real world", but also blame her for any mistakes in this issue because her brain is sort of scrambled.

You might also be wondering what is going on with the website. An ad-hoc committee consisting of Pub Comm and PIP committee members (Chuck Hawkins, Ayesha Burdett, Becky Bixby, Patina Mendez, and Ryan Hill) released the RFP for the web redesign in November. They then screened six proposals and recommended that SFS retain the services of Agentic Digital Media (who they seem quite enthusiastic about). The committee and SFS BoD are also exploring a logo redesign as part of the ongoing web design discussion with Agentic. The full range of logo options (which includes a simple refresh of the current logo) will be considered first by the BoD, then will be presented to the membership. The logo decision needs to be made before Agentic begins the website redesign because the logo is a key part of the site. The committee anticipates launching the new SFS website around the time of the annual meeting.

So there you have it. Sort of a big deal, no? We also have this issue a letter from President Emily Bernhardt about inclusivity at the Raleigh meeting, an FWS Article Spotlight from New Zealand intermittent ponds, a new "Dear Nick" advice column (don't binge-watch murder films on Netflix!), and updates from the SRC about what the students are planning for Raleigh. There is no "Mark Your Calendars" section this time. Refer to the FPOM for all key deadlines that we know about.

Get your abstracts submitted, y'all, and shine on!


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

  • Read Emily Bernhardt's latest President's Environment.
  • SFS 2017 ELECTIONS. Tough choices on the horizon! VOTE HERE.
  • Nominate a colleague for an SFS Award. Deadline is 1 May 2017.
  • Abstracts for Raleigh 2017 are due 23 Feb!
  • Early registration deadline for Raleigh: 24 March
  • More power to the Instars Program! Deadline for undergraduates to apply to participate with program funding is 17 Feb and without program funding is 31 March. Any grad students interested in being an Instar mentor? Your application is due by 24 Feb.
  • In response to HB2 (aka "the Bathroom Bill") in North Carolina, an ad hoc inclusivity committee was formed last fall. Fourteen SFS members created a list of recommended actions that will help make our annual meetings and society as inclusive as possible. Please see Emily's letter below for more details, and look for an email soon with details about the recommendations. Contact Michael Bogan for more info.
  • SFS Latin America chapter members Andrea Encalada and Blanca Ríos attended the first-ever IberoAmerican Limnological Congress in Vadivia, Chile in November. Andrea reports that the sessions were top-notch and spanned a variety of freshwater topics, and that "all the plenary lectures were pretty amazing!". We'll share some of Blanca's photos on the SFS Facebook page.
  • Checo Colón-Gaud represented SFS at the CASS booth at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science meeting in October. See the Instars Facebook page for photos of the event (scroll back to October).
  • Chapter news: California continues to shine. They hosted a hydrology workshop for ecologists this past fall to raise money for CalSFS student travel to the Raleigh meeting. Thirty people attended the workshop, which was taught by Ashmita Sengupta, Sarah Yarnell, and Belize Lane. All $1350 raised went directly to the student travel grants.
  • SFS's podcast Making Waves rocks! If you haven't tuned in yet, you're missing out.
  • Twitter hashtag for the Raleigh meeting is #2017SFS


A letter from Emily and the meeting organizers about inclusivity at Raleigh 2017



We had really hoped to begin this letter with the good news that NC had repealed the notorious HB2 'bathroom law' that caused voters to oust our current governor. Unfortunately, as many of you may have heard, the NC legislature backed out of their stated intention to repeal HB2. Despite this, we will be holding SFS 2017 in Raleigh, NC. We have made this decision because a) we are faced with the choice of holding a meeting in a place where many SFS members have issues with a prominent state law (the three of us included) vs. not being able to hold an annual meeting at all; and b) we believe that the concerns over HB2 have catalyzed important and long overdue conversations about how SFS should confront social and political movements that cause harm to some or all of our members. We can only have those conversations if SFS members of all sexual, political, socioeconomic, religious, and cultural perspectives feel comfortable joining in.

Some members have expressed concerns about their personal safety or the personal safety of their friends and colleagues in Raleigh. We want to assure you that the city of Raleigh celebrates its diversity, and that, like most US cities, local government officials and business interests are all fighting hard against HB2. Most of the bathrooms you will encounter in and around the convention center have become gender neutral as a result of the law. The conference hotels and the convention center have all published their opposition to HB2 in no uncertain terms. Local businesses proudly display the #wearenotthis signs on their front doors. We are confident that you will all feel welcome in this city that is proud of its hospitality, its food, and its culture. Nonetheless we understand that some members may feel that attending a conference in NC, and supporting NC businesses and hotels, makes them complicit in allowing HB2 to exist. Skipping the meeting in protest of the state law is one way to make a statement against the law. Our goal, as meeting organizers, is to make attending the meeting a way to make a bigger difference, through needed conversations about how to make SFS a scientific society that is more welcoming, more inclusive and more socially progressive than any other institution or society that you engage with. This is our goal regardless of the fate of HB2 between now and our annual meeting in June.

Concerned members have banded together into a new ad hoc committee charged with thinking broadly about inclusivity within our society. Many events and happenings are planned for SFS 2017 that will create opportunities for dialogue about difference and for considering our own roles and responsibilities in resisting our tendencies towards implicit bias. We are adding a meeting code of conduct and will vote on a formal SFS code of conduct in our June 2017 meeting. This code follows from the diversity and inclusivity statement that SFS approved last summer.

Some SFS members will be barred from traveling to NC due to travel bans imposed by their state governments. We regret this in the extreme, while also appreciating the peer pressure that these bans are placing on our legislature. For those unable to attend, we are exploring ways to promote opportunities for virtual participation (streaming talks, virtual posters, social media updates).

Whatever category of SFS member you fall into, we want to hear your ideas about how we can work individually and collectively to make SFS a society that increasingly reflects the diversity of society as a whole.


Emily Bernhardt, 2016-2017 President, SFS
Jim Heffernan, SFS 2017 Local Arrangements Chair
Mike Paul, SFS 2017 Programming Committee Chair
Michael Bogan, Chair, Ad hoc SFS Inclusivity Committee


Freshwater Science Article Spotlight:

Options for bugs and researchers to deal with uncertainty

Galatowitsch & McIntosh, Issue 35(4), pages 1300-1311.
(Open access; or SFS members login to get journal access!)

How organisms deal with temporally unpredictable environments is a common question in ecology. From this issue's spotlighted FWS author, Mark Galatowitsch, we learn that the question can apply equally to both the populations dwelling in unpredictable environments and the scientists studying them in the field. Mark and co-author Angus McIntosh's spotlighted paper is based on some of the results of Mark's PhD project at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand; Angus was his advisor), where he focused on ponds with variably unpredictable hydroperiods and the macroinvertebrates that call them home.

Mark and trusty sidekick dipnet at a high-country lake near the University of Canterbury's Cass Field Station (photo: Justyna Giejsztowt)

Before we get to the punchline, let's take a step back to the setting of last issue's Article Spotlight: on the other side of the world at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab (RMBL). Like Jessica Lund a few years after him (2012), Mark also did undergrad research at RMBL with Scott Wissinger (in 2004). While there, he met Angus's then-PhD student Hamish Greig who got Mark psyched about the pond intermittency gradient in New Zealand, the system where Hamish was doing most of his research at the time. The pattern of nested community structure among the ponds that Hamish had described fascinated Mark, because typically ecologists expect unique species with specialized traits to occupy harsher habitats (like ponds that dry unpredictably). Instead, the ponds even at the harshest end of the habitat-permanence gradient were occupied by species that were a subset of the communities in the permanent ponds. They were therefore generalists, rather than specialists. That was enough to coerce Mark to NZ, where he started a PhD with a key question in mind: how do species with generalist life-history strategies occupy the full gradient of ponds, from permanent to temporary?

When Mark first arrived to study lakes and temporary ponds in a distant hemisphere, the first step was to learn experientially what he originally only knew intellectually: that these ponds do indeed have unpredictable hydroperiods. That first year was, shall we say, a little on the wet side, so he was not even sure which of his ponds were at the "dry" end of the gradient, and some of the ponds were unexpectedly deep. Functional strategies for the researcher to deal with unpredictability needed to be developed right away. To study hydrologically unpredictable ponds, Mark recommends three essential items: a dipnet, a cowboy hat, and a full-body neoprene suit.

In a flooded permanent pond at the Hakatere Conservation Area, Mark demonstrates the utility of two of his three recommended items: the dipnet and the neoprene suit. The cowboy hat apparently was not useful in this instance. (photo: Amanda Klemmer)

Once Mark acclimated and developed his own unique strategies for the environment, he and Angus completed multi-year, multi-season surveys of >30 ponds, focusing on two commonly distributed species occurring along the full habitat-permanence gradient. The authors revealed that these species have completely different strategies for exploiting the full range of habitats. The damselfly Xanthocnemis zealandica has a flexible developmental strategy and a tolerance to drying, and the water boatman (Corixidae: Sigara arguta) has a universally fast development but no tolerance to drying.

Xanthocnemis zealandica larvae can tolerate drying and have a flexible development rate (photo: Mark Galatowitsch)

Sigara arguta has a universally rapid development rate, which allows it to exploit the full range of habitat (photo: Mark Galatowitsch)

Mark has recently returned to the northern hemisphere, PhD in hand, and started a faculty position at Centre College, Kentucky (USA). He is building on his fascination with invertebrate life-history strategies and harsh disturbance regimes in the interesting intermittent lotic systems around his new home. But he also intends to continue work with his Kiwi colleagues. Indeed, as we speak, he has recently returned from a teaching a course in New Zealand with his current students. Mark is one us die-hard SFSters, and he tells us he's looking forward to bringing his own students to the annual meetings. As for the advice he gives them, it's all about worldliness and communication: "Ask loads of questions, be open to new opportunities, share your experiences with others along the way, and attend as many conferences as you can." Mostly SFS conferences, we hope.


Pam's Journal Notes

Pam's Corner

We've all been there. We've submitted the manuscript, responded to reviewers' comments, revised and rewritten text, and still we find an error. Pam knows through experience that errors are inevitable, but attention to detail and redundancy in the reviewing and editing process can reduce the likelihood that errors will make it into print. In this issue, Pam walks us through the steps of manuscript revision and proofreading, so we all know what to expect and the work required to publish each issue of FWS.

You've done the research, written the paper, dealt with multiple rounds of revisions associated with friendly reviews, the peer-review process, and the associate editor handling your manuscript, and now the final acceptance letter says, "…Pam probably will make some final recommendations before she formally accepts your manuscript for publication. You should be aware that some of her recommendations may be substantial…"AAARGH!!! Will this paper ever be done and published?"

The answer is, "Yes…after I format the manuscript to FWS specifications, edit every word, table, figure caption, equation, and online appendix; check all spellings and taxonomic references; compare in-text citations and references; and verify that every datum described in the text agrees with data presented in tables, figures, and appendices." You check my revisions and make your final revisions. Then I do it all again, resolve queries, and send you a notice that your manuscript is with the copy editor (Sheila), who does it all again with a magnifying glass. She sends me the copy-edited version with corrections and queries to resolve before I send your manuscript to production.

At the University of Chicago Press, our production manager verifies files, checks figure resolution, and coordinates the production process. The typesetter does quality-control checks for correspondence between in-text citations and the references, all figures and figure captions, and other things I know nothing about. You and I receive proofs, and we read for type-setter errors and check everything one last time. I request corrections, the typesetter makes the changes, and I recheck the revised proofs.

At last, I approve your paper for publication online ahead of print (AoP). When every article in the issue is finished, I complete the materials needed to assemble the issue—order of articles, table of contents, front cover information. When the proofs of the assembled issue (the "whites") arrive, I check pagination; online publication dates; running heads; page numbers; correspondence between page numbers, authors, titles, and the table of contents. I request and then check corrections, and at last the issue is off my desk and your paper is published.

Why do I insist of these time-consuming (and annoying) redundancies? People make mistakes, no matter how hard we strive for excellence. The editing and checking/rechecking have two purposes. First, we want your hard-won research to be published in a way that is as attractive and effectively communicated as possible. Wordsmithing and presentation matter. Second, we must ensure that FWS papers are as error-free as humanly possible. Meticulous manuscript preparation and revision by authors leads to few errors. Nevertheless, Sheila and I detect and correct errors in every manuscript. Many are major, and some are detected shockingly late in the process. Moreover, some errors occur that we cannot detect (e.g., incorrect data, wrong versions of figures, errors in equations, oversights). Once a paper is published AoP, error correction requires publication of an erratum describing the error and the correction. We all must be thorough and careful, read every word of each revision, and check details at every step because no one is perfect. Mistakes happen. Take precautions.




Bern Sweeney and Jamie Blaine published a Perspectives paper in the September 2016 issue of Freshwater Science proposing a new system to reward private behavior for following Best Management Practices to protect freshwater resources. To capture a larger audience beyond FWS, Bern and Jamie wrote a post in The Nature Conservancy's 'Cool Green Science' blog that has caught some attention. You can read the original paper here, and their blog post here. We caught up with Bern and asked him a few questions.

ITD: Would you explain the incentive system that is mentioned in the paper?

Bern: Incentivization is offering bonuses or other inducements to encourage superior performance. It has been used regularly in our economic system, but has not been used to promote good environmental behavior and actions regarding the protection and improvement of water quality in streams and rivers. Starting with the Clean Water Act in 1972, we have chosen to pass laws and regulations intended to compel people to make better stewardship decisions by penalizing them, usually with fines, if they fail to do so. Or, we simply educated people about Best Management Practices (BMPs) and then assumed that they will go out and do so. The latest report by the USEPA clearly shows that that system is failing, given that almost half of the nation's waters have water quality designated as "poor." We propose a more proactive positive approach whereby individuals would be compensated for private actions and good landuse decisions that produce measurable increases to the public good. What this really boils down to is developing good environmental behavior in grown adults. Indeed, not rocket science, but in reality, more difficult.

ITD: What inspired the idea of incentivization for freshwater stewardship?

Bern: The effectiveness of incentivization came to me as I watched potty training activities in our house with our grandkids. Three M&M's for a pee, ten for a poo quickly developed good toilet habits in two-year-olds. And, once those habits were formed, the need for incentives went away. I thought why wouldn't that work with adults? How could we, for example, incentivize a farmer to adopt the right suite of best management practices which then would carry forward forever on his/her farm? Or how could we create a situation where an individual wanted to put the best conservation practices on a piece of land that he/she was going to place under a conservation easement? It was obvious that the adult equivalent of M&M's was cash but the question was how to structure things so that a little cash got things going and in place but was unnecessary in the long-term. However, my co-author (Jamie Blaine) helped me frame the paper outside of the potty training world and inside the world of public interest and the common good.

ITD: After a private landowner implements a forest buffer or a different management practice, how is the practice monitored to ensure that the management strategy is working?

Bern: The current approach is that someone from the funding agency (e.g., USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, State Department of Environmental Protection, or County Conservation District) that underwrites the BMP will periodically check to make sure the trees are alive, terraces and grass waterways are working, manure storage system is working, etc. We propose to structure the incentives so that the landowner gets reimbursed in proportion to how well the BMPs are working or have been implemented. Thus, the landowner has skin in the game and will willingly provide the monitoring data to demonstrate that he or she has done a good job and should be rewarded accordingly. This could range from photographs of grown trees to continuous real time data showing amount and quality, such as turbidity and conductivity, of waterway runoff using solar powered, field-deployed sensors provided to landowners by the funding agency. The field sensor technology would not be equivalent to "cameras in the red light" technology designed to catch and fine individuals doing the wrong thing. Sensors would empower the landowners with data to show that they are doing the right thing and deserving of reward.

Figure 1 from Sweeney and Blaine (2016). Wider forest buffers provide greater environmental services (right) and larger incentives for landowners (left).

ITD: Would you elaborate more on the conservation and restoration strategies and success stories happening in Pennsylvania watersheds?

Bern: In the Chesapeake Bay watershed of Pennsylvania, incentives are now being put in place to encourage landowners to plant wider buffers consisting of forest and not grass and committing to them for at least 15 years. Thus, a one time "sign up bonus" of cash is provided when they sign up for a forest buffer. The payment per acre per year of buffer land is about 3-4 times greater if the buffer is 100 feet wide than if it is 35 feet wide. Similar incentive programs are being put in place in New York in the source water areas, such as the Catskill Mountains, for the drinking water of New York City. In those locations, New York City is the source of funding for incentives, and the success is phenomenal! About 100% of the farms enrolled in conservation easement programs there have "whole farm conservation plans" in place and fully implemented. In contrast, in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where there is no incentive program to drive full implementation of whole farm conservation plans, the level is about 25%.

Bern Sweeney protecting new riparian buffer seedlings from vole attacks along White Clay Creek in Pennsylvania. (Photo: Dansko Co.).

ITD: How do best management strategies in streams affected by other factors compare to strategies used in the agricultural-influenced streams your paper focused on?

Bern: The challenges regarding adoption and care of BMPs in urban watersheds, where wastewater and storm water runoff is directly discharged to streams and rivers, are similar to agricultural watersheds. In terms of water quantity, there are currently no incentives for flushing your urban toilet less per day or taking a shorter shower. However, real time sensors for water use could easily lead to water billing being prorated to volume of use, with steep discounts for those who willingly use less. There are few incentives for promoting or retrofitting green roofs or rain gardens onto new construction and existing structures in urban settings. It is known that the efficacy of urban waste water treatment is highly correlated with residence time in the treatment plant which, in turn, is related to input-output volume. In many ways, incentivizing urban BMPs to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of wastewater is easier than in rural agricultural watersheds.

ITD: How has your experience and leadership with the Stroud Water Research Center affected the trajectory of your research interests?

Bern: The Stroud Center has always been about understanding how streams, rivers, and watersheds work naturally and using that knowledge to protect or restore those systems when they get impacted and impaired. Ruth Patrick started that philosophy in 1967, Robin Vannote embraced and built upon it until 1988, and since then I have continued to expand on it and encourage it as one of the Center's core values. My research has expanded accordingly so that I am now as much known for my research regarding the ecology and restoration of riparian forests as I am for my work regarding the ecology and population genetics of aquatic insects.

ITD: It seems like a strong dialog between scientists, landowners, and legislators is quintessential for the rewards system to work. What strategies have you found most effective to educate the public on private interests and the common good?

Bern: The strategy is straightforward. Do highly credible science at a highly credible scientific institution, and let that provide the foundation for your message to the public. Keep your message simple with terms that are easily absorbed and understood by landowners, legislators, and the general public. Highly technical graphs are appropriate at the annual meeting of SFS but not when you are briefing the legislative staff, township supervisors, or homeowner associations. Figure out what you want the take home message to be and give it to them in plain English and without acronyms. Pretend that you are trying to explain it to your grandmother.

ITD: We loved the blog about this paper in Cool Green Science. How do you think the blog has helped promote the paper?

Bern: The blog has been a great learning experience. Blogs represent a great forum for the free flow of thoughts and ideas related to this issue of engaging and incentivizing individuals to help clean up our streams and rivers. Blogs are successful to the degree that effort is put into them. The blog related to this paper could be even more successful if I had more time to put into it. It certainly accomplished what I wanted it to do—provide a quick and direct injection of the core ideas of the paper out into the conservation and preservation community where Freshwater Science is not read.

ITD: Can you provide blogging newbies with ideas for how to approach a blog intended for the general public and how to find an appropriate location to post it?

Bern: The approach that Jamie and I took was to write an Op-Ed piece associated with the paper to concentrate the key messaging in an "easy to read and absorb" format and then shop it around. We started out shooting for the highest impact venues we could think of (e.g., New York Times) and figured that we would keep at it until we found a taker. And, if that taker was simply the local newspaper in the backyard of the Stroud Water Research Center then so be it, as our neighbors do not generally read Freshwater Science either. It turned out that the taker of our Op-Ed piece (The Nature Conservancy) also wanted to include it in their national "Cool Green Science" blog. If that had not happened, I am sure that we would have taken a different route, perhaps putting it front and center on Jamie's on-going "Perspectives" blog (http://jamesgblaine.com/).

Authors Jamie Blaine (left) and Bern Sweeney (right) in the field in Peru.


Vince Resh interviews the RCC authors 25 years later

All video footage and transcripts of these interviews can be accessed at: https://archive.org/search.php?query=river+continuum+concept Many thanks to Vince for chatting with us about these classic interviews!

Figure 1 from The RCC paper published in CJFAS. This will be on the exam!

In case you have haven't learned about it yet, RCC stands for River Continuum Concept, one of the paradigms of stream ecology. Most of us have cited Vannote et al. (1980) multiple times in papers. But have you ever wondered what went on behind-the-scenes as this idea was developed? Vince Resh, equipped with funding from the US Forest Service and the passion to document the origins of the RCC for future scientists and science historians, reunited the authors (Robin Vannote, Wayne Minshall, Ken Cummins, Jim Sedell, and Bert Cushing) to discuss the generation of the concept, and its influence in stream ecology 25 years after the paper was published (nearly 12 years ago now, but all agreed to wait 10 years to release the tapes). What emerged is a trove of anecdotes that Vince says, "provide a blueprint of how strong-minded, independent scientists can work together to produce a synthesis that's far beyond what they would have produced individually". There are nearly 24 hours of footage posted (shout-out to the technical prowess of our former web-guru Patina Mendez for posting these), along with the transcripts of the interviews that can be accessed and viewed here for your binge-watching pleasure. Just imagine what you might unearth: did you know that the RCC manuscript was originally rejected citing "no testable hypothesis"? Of course, with this crew it wasn't all science, all the time: did you know the authors took breaks from meetings to play "frisbee football" to get those creative juices flowing? One can learn all this, and more, from watching (or reading) the archived interviews.

In this episode of the interviews, Vince Resh, Jim Sedell, Bert Cushing, Robin Vannote, Wayne Minshall, and Ken Cummins (represented here only by an arm and a lap), discuss the origins of the RCC. Image is a screenshot from footage available at archive.org.

Two goals for the marathon interviews were to preserve "historical memory" and to understand the importance of "the discussions [the RCC] started, the critiques that it received, and the papers responding to early criticisms". Although the interviews progress from early beginnings to later response papers, Vince notes that "the best information was free-form—one comment led to a memory or anecdote that led to another." Within the free-form discussions, viewers will find several key themes emerged: story, persistence, and collaboration. Jim Sedell noted that a good story was paramount for overcoming the struggle to find funding for the projects that eventually coalesced into the RCC paper. In terms of persistence, Vince remarked, "big advances in science don't necessarily proceed in straight lines--they are a continuum in that they build on work of many others". After all, the RCC paper was originally rejected, and it took five years for the authors to re-work it and get it published! Vince also observed the importance of collaboration, mentioning, "the anecdotes of starts and stalls, conflict resolutions, and just the creative process are fascinating to hear" and that, "personalities, social interactions, and chance play into how science proceeds". This final theme of positive collaboration was, perhaps unsurprisingly, woven throughout the stories surrounding the RCC, and was certainly emblematic of the collaborative spirit of SFS as a whole. With these themes in mind, key snippets might be worth showing in a lecture or posting to your online learning platform: students might appreciate hearing about the RCC's initial rejection (Group meeting 2: minute 11:22), or the critical responses it received (16:45). Putting faces—and here, voices, personalities, and interactions—to the names students see on the paper could be a helpful avenue to illustrate the RCC concept, and even how science progresses, in new ways.

For those of us who are interested in preserving science and making it accessible to science historians, students, or anyone else, Internet Archive (www.archive.org) is a valuable resource for preserving, sharing, and collaborating. Vince encourages anyone with information about the RCC to share it with him (resh@berkeley.edu) or Patina Mendez (patina.mendez@berkeley.edu), and it could be posted alongside the interviews. Beyond the RCC, there is certainly a need for similar stories to be gathered, and it is good to know that there is a venue for archiving them in a similar way. Happy archiving, and good luck to the next group of stream ecologists getting together, playing Frisbee football, and cultivating the next big idea in freshwater science!

advice by Nick Aumen

DEAR NICK: I am a grad student in freshwater science, but I'm not sure I've made the right choice. Lately, things seem depressing on so many fronts. I worry about decreasing public support for science and increasing disrespect for higher education, particularly grad school. I am especially stressed out when I think about trying to find a job or get proposals funded. Sometimes I just want to quit, curl up on the couch, and binge-watch Netflix. Can you help?


There is nothing wrong with an occasional check-out-of-reality session – including a Netflix binge (but avoid horror or murder flicks). Such breaks are healthy. We are overwhelmed by social and other media — Facebook, Twitter, texts, and our daily email barrage. And political seasons typically increase the quantity and intensity of these interactions and our overall stress levels.

That said, there may be better approaches than retreating to TV to escape. My own therapy is to get outside and away from the screens. As a budding freshwater scientist, you probably gravitate to this approach naturally. Most of us probably chose this career because of our passion for the natural world. Although our work may require us to be outside at times, it can be easy to overlook the beauty surrounding us when focused on replicate samples, faulty equipment, cold temperatures, looming deadlines, lack of funding, and other pressures that come with the territory. Make time for a non-work connection with nature and let it remind you of why you do all this other stressful stuff.

Don't lose faith in the value and need for higher education and science. At its core, science strives for truth, and it impacts every aspect of daily living. It is true that science, like any discipline, is affected by trends in public opinion, politics, and a variety of other influences, but the core societal benefits of science give me confidence that it will remain a pillar of our human society. And the path to science includes a robust education system. As long as humans yearn for increased understanding of the world around them and a better life, science is here to stay.

You love science. Pursue it with infectious, enthusiastic passion! Remember why you chose this career when you are feeling overwhelmed. In addition to unwinding outside, a good remedy would be to make a commitment for 2017 to speak about your passion at a school, a civic group, to politicians, or anywhere where you can be an advocate for the science you love. Students like you are the future scientists, researchers, and educators upon which we all depend.


Mike's Treasurer Trove

Mike's TT

Thanks to SFS Treasurer Mike Swift for the following shrewd assessment of the large, the awesome, the one-and-only, the SFS Endowment. Your donations keep it going and growing!

"WOW! We can't believe your endowment is $687,000", say the officers of several other scientific societies when they discuss society endowments at meetings. Many societies are either struggling to initiate an endowment or struggling to grow their endowment because of lack of support by their members. The SFS endowment is well managed and enjoys continued strong support by our members. That management and support makes it possible to make about $25,000 in Endowment awards every year. Endowment awards come from annual dividends and interest earned on the principal (recently about 4%).

Our Endowment was initiated in late 1980s with donations of about $1,200. Donations slowly increased the size of the Endowment until 1995, when the Society decided to match individual Endowment donations from Society general revenues. Proceeds from the live and silent auctions also were donated to the Endowment up until 2014; since 2014 the proceeds from the silent auction have been allocated to the Student Resources Committee to be used to support undergraduate travel to the annual meeting.

Our endowment now consists of 9 individual "Funds". In 1997 there were 4 funds ‐ General, Simpson, Americas, and Petersen. Since then 5 more funds have been established: the Boesel-Sanderson Fund and the Conservation Fund in 1998, the Systematics and Natural History Fund in 2005; the Fellows Fund in 2009; and the Mulholland Fund in 2012. In 2016 the General Fund was the largest (60%), followed by the Fellows (10%), Petersen (8%), Conservation (6%), Americas (5%), Simpson (4%), Boesel-Sanderson (3%), and Mulholland (3%) Funds. Distributions of the dividends and interest earned by the Endowment are based on the percentage of the total Endowment represented by each individual fund. Allocations to the General Fund can be used for any type of award; allocations to the 8 named funds are restricted to the purpose for which each fund was established. The purposes for which each fund was established are listed on the SFS website and in the annual solicitation for applications for endowment awards. Applications are typically due early in the year and awards are made at the next annual meeting.

We've summarized the donor activity for 1997-2015 in the figure below. During that 19-year period, 695 individuals donated to the SFS (or NABS) endowment. The number of donations peaked in 2002 (219) and has been relatively steady over the last five years (107–145). During this period the number of times an individual made donations varied: one time (60%), twice (13%), three times (7%). The percentage of donors donating more than three times is small. Interestingly, 36 individuals have donated at least 10 times and one person donated 17 times in 19 years! Some individuals donated more than once in a calendar year. Of the 1,824 individual donations by the 695 donors, 183 individuals donated twice, six donated three times, and one donated four times during a single year. Over the last five years total annual donations from individuals have averaged about $9,000!


While most donations are made during the membership renewal process each year, anyone can easily donate electronically when the mood strikes using the Donations tab on the SFS website. The future of the SFS Endowment is up to you, our donors. Let us know what you think and where you would like the Endowment to go! Thank you Donors for your continued support… without your support we couldn't keep going and growing.

Whether you're a lifetime SFS member or first-time student member, there are many ways you can support the endowment fund. Here's a short list of how you can help the SFS endowment fund grow:

  • Renew your membership
  • Make a direct financial contribution; every little bit counts!
  • Encourage colleagues to join the society and attend the annual meeting
  • Donate items for the auction at the annual meeting
  • Get in a bidding war with a buddy at the auction
  • Urge students to get involved with the SRC



Student Resources Committee (SRC) plans for Raleigh 2017

Thanks to SRC president Darrin Hunt for gathering together and sharing these heads-ups for student-sponsored activities

SRC Workshop. The SRC is joining forces with the City of Raleigh and Stormwater Volunteers to do a stream cleanup on Sunday, 4 June (detailed schedule below). It's FREE to participate (but food and drinks not included). Please sign up for the workshop during meeting registration, and contact Lauren Koenig (lauren.koenig@unh.edu), Kait Farrell (kfarrell@uga.edu) or Andrea Fitzgibbon (afitzgib@kent.edu) with any questions!
Workshop schedule:

  • 11:30 am: Official start of the event. Meet next to registration desk, Raleigh Convention Center. We will walk to Rocky Branch, the site of the stream cleanup.
  • 12:00 pm: Begin cleanup
  • 2:00 pm: End cleanup. Walk to brewery
  • 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm: Crank Arm brewery for well-earned refreshment.

Undergraduate Awards. The SRC has generated enough revenue to offer up to six $600 travel awards to support undergraduate student travel to the Raleigh meeting. Applications were already due, but we wanted to point out how awesome this is, and we look forward to welcoming students at the earliest stages of their SFS experience!

Silent Book Auction. We are now accepting book donations for the Silent Book Auction. Consider donating a recently published book written by your favorite scientist, a regional aquatic book, or a classic freshwater science text to share with your students. For contributions, please contact us via email or bring the book by the Silent Book Auction table the first day of the conference. For information and donations, please contact Martha Dee (mdee@nd.edu). And don't forget to bid on books during the conference to support the Endowment!

Student-mentor mixer. The student-mentor mixer, designed to facilitate interactions between students and experienced professionals, will be held on Monday, June 5th from 5:45 to 7:00 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! Students and mentors: please check the box on your meeting registration form and fill out the associated info, so that we can match students with mentors based on shared interests.

 Table 1 at 2016's Student-Mentor Mixer in Sacramento totally rocked. (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Education and Diversity. The SRC will be premiering its new Education and Diversity subcommittee in Raleigh. Its goal is to highlight and support diversity within the society and perform outreach to educate the public about freshwater science and what freshwater scientists do. With broad support for all minority members, the Education and Diversity group intends to use social interaction to strengthen the sense of community within the SRC and SFS at large.

Live Auction. Be sure to catch the SRC Live Auction on Monday, June 5th! Each year, we receive unique and creative donations from SFS members, ranging from aquatic-themed jewelry and artwork to home-brewed beers. All of the funds raised from the Live Auction go to the Endowment, which supports SFS student research and travel. We look forward to another great year in 2017! Please contact live auction coordinator Brittany Hanrahan (bhanrah3@nd.edu) for more information, to make a donation, or perhaps to indicate your interest in doing something crazy on stage in support of the Endowment.

SRC members show off donated items up for bids at the 2016 Live Auction in Sacramento (photo: Mark Wetzel)

Raleigh merchandise. This year we will be selling SFS 2017 stickers ($4), Klean Kanteen steel cups ($12), koozies ($5.50), logo t-shirts ($16) and long sleeve shirts ($22). 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. Support SFS students by purchasing your conference gear from the SRC!


Your in the drift newsletter is brought to you by Deb Finn, Julie Zimmerman, Rachel Voight, David Manning, 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
  • 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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