By: Katie Kobayashi (President, SCMBAS) and David Fryxell (Past-President, SCMBAS)
Over the past few years, students and young professionals from UC Santa Cruz and the greater Monterey Bay area have made a tradition of attending the Annual Meeting of the California-Nevada Chapter of AFS (Cal-Neva) in full force. The 2017 Annual Meeting in Eureka, CA was no exception. With tremendous support from Cal-Neva’s executive committee and meeting organizers, 16 students from our two-year-old Santa Cruz-Monterey Bay Area subunit (SCMBAS) traveled to Eureka to present their research, network with fellow scientists, and explore the latest advances in fisheries science.
A few of the highlights:
SCMBAS Members had a Strong Presence at the Poster Session
David Fryxell, Colin Nicol, Rosealea Bond, Megan Sabal, and Travis Apgar made our subunit proud presenting their research at Wednesday night’s poster session. David shared his results from a new work-in-progress on the history of mosquitofish—an exciting compliment to his dissertation work on trait variation and thermal adaptation. Colin and Lea (contact) co-presented a poster on a project they’ve led for NOAA fisheries, revealing the consequences of loose “ghost” PIT tags in study watersheds. Although Megan was busy in the field executing an ambitious new experiment, her poster on predator-prey interactions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta was well-visited by meeting attendees. Last but certainly not least, Travis Apgar was awarded Best Student Poster (1st place) for his work evaluating the potential for evolutionary restoration in migratory steelhead populations—read his recent publication here.
Officers Reported our Annual Progress at the Business Lunch
As a newly formed subunit, our members have excelled in creating research, networking, and outreach opportunities. At the Business Lunch, we presented some of our favorite accomplishments from the year, including our growing member base, 30+ publications in scientific journals, and almost 300 hours of outreach and community service. We also highlighted a few of our upcoming events, including this week’s Fish Tales storytelling night, and our BBQ & Fishing Derby in June.
SCMBAS was Well-Represented at the Student Symposium
SCMBAS’s founding president, Katie McElroy—now a PhD student at University of Washington (contact)—started off the Student Symposium by presenting her master’s research identifying fish behavior and habitat patterns along the river continuum. She was followed by several captivating talks including Rebecca Robinson’s experimental study of mosquitofish evolution in predator-prey systems (contact), Liam Zarri’s approach using DIDSON sonar to estimate Green Sturgeon abundance, and Ben Wasserman’s examination of parasite infection rates in Threespine Stickleback with varying defense traits. Travis Apgar wrapped up the session with a follow-up to his award-winning poster (see above).
The breadth and quality of student talks at this year’s Student Symposium was phenomenal. The greater Cal-Neva chapter acknowledged our hard work at Thursday evening’s banquet, where we cheered on Liam as he was awarded runner-up for Best Student Talk. Each of our student speakers represented SCMBAS brilliantly and deserves a recognition for their outstanding work.
A Subunit-Hosted Panel Discussion on Local Fisheries
In his personal blog, past-president David Fryxell reported on the special session that SCMBAS hosted on the final day of the conference. Included below is an excerpt from his post, which can be found here.
“On Friday (April 7), concurrent with the general session, our SCMBAS group hosted a fisheries panel discussion entitled “Diverse Perspectives in an Era of Political and Environmental Change.” SCMBAS Treasurer Stephanie Webb moderated the panel discussion through prompts we (think we) carefully developed. The goal was to explore attitudes of various local stakeholder groups and scientists to potentially substantial forthcoming changes to regulations and the environment. Panelists included Casey Allen (Humboldt Saltwater Anglers Association), Professor Laurie Richmond (Humboldt State University), Greg Dale (Coast Seafoods Company), Captain Aaron Newman (vessel Maria Isabel, former Harbor Commissioner), and Eric Schlagenhauf (Hog Island Oyster Company). Many of the panelists already knew one another.
The panel provided a truly optimistic outlook. However, panelists did admit cooperation might be easier in the small community that is the North Coast of California.”
Overall – A Great Success
Since the founding of our subunit in Fall of 2015, we are proud to have fostered a community of classmates, labmates, co-workers, and friends—eager to communicate our interests in fisheries, natural resources, and aquatic ecosystems. Furthermore, we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this year’s meeting. Our presence at this year’s Cal-Neva Meeting could not have been possible without the support of Cal-Neva Chapter President Joe Merz, Continuing Education Chair Norm Ponferrada, President-Elect Laurie Earley, Travel Grant Coordinator Shawn Acuña, and the rest of the Cal-Neva Chapter Executive Committee.