Summer Keynote Talk: Ramping up the AI Learning Curve: ‘Big Data’ applications to fisheries acoustics

At the June 11, 2024 American Fisheries Society Southern New England Chapter meeting, the keynote speaker will be Michael Jech from the NOAA/Northeast Fisheries Science Center. His talk title is, “Ramping up the AI Learning Curve: ‘Big Data’ applications to fisheries acoustics

Advances in active acoustic technology have outpaced our ability to process and analyze the data in a timely manner. Currently, scientists rely on manual scrutiny or limited automation to classify acoustic backscatter to biologically-meaningful taxa. Classification of acoustic backscatter to its source is a grand challenge of fisheries acoustics and many methods have been developed to partition backscatter for accurate abundance estimates of living marine resources. I explore artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other ‘Big Data’ methods to classify active acoustic data collected at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center. We have been collecting active acoustic data since 1998 and our processing and classification methods have evolved as we learn and as methods become available. Even with large volumes of data, we found we were limited by available training data for supervised approaches, so we are looking into unsupervised and self/semi-supervised methods as well as synthesizing training data using physics-based acoustic scattering models. These advanced analytical techniques are the next step in our quest to interpret remotely-collected data and provide accurate and timely information to stock assessment and ecosystem-based management.

Summer 2024 SNEC Meeting – June 11, 2024 at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus

Registration is now OPEN: Registration Page
Abstract Submission is now CLOSED
Program Agenda:
For: The American Fisheries Society Southern New England Chapter Summer meeting
Date: Tuesday June 11, 2024
Location: University of Rhode Island Bay Campus 215 South Ferry Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882

We are delighted to announce that the Southern New England Chapter of the American Fisheries Society will be hosting a one-day science meeting on Tuesday, June 11th at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus in Narragansett, RI. The meeting will feature a plenary talk by Mike Jech, Research Fishery Biology at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, titled “Ramping up the AI learning curve: ‘Big Data’ applications to fisheries acoustics.”

We highly encourage students to participate in the meeting, which presents an excellent opportunity to share your work and to network with folks from across private, government and non-profit sectors.


Tuesday, June 11th, 2024

8:30-9:00      Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:10      Opening Comments. Corinne Truesdale, SNEC President

9:10-10:10    Plenary Talk

Mike Jech, NOAA/Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Ramping up the AI Learning Curve: ‘Big Data’ applications to fisheries acoustics

10:10- 10:20 Break

10:20-12:00 Oral presentations, Morning Session

10:20   Migratory Patterns of Sand Tiger Sharks (Carcharias taurus) Along the US East Coast.* DeLoof, Bethany, Dewayne Fox, Danielle Haulsee, Jeff Kneebone, Brad Wetherbee

10:40   Temporal patterns and regional comparisons of recruitment rates of United States fish stocks.* Marshall, Rachel C.  Jeremy Collie, Richard Bell, Paul Spencer, Cóilín Minto

11:00   Traces of Life: Investigating trace elements in shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) vertebrae to reconstruct life histories.* Hennessy, Peter, Lisa Natanson,  Joung Shoou-Jeng, Chi-Ju Yu, Malcom Francis, Rui Coelho, Gibson Kesley, Kwang-Ming Liu, Susan Zernike, Nathan R. Miller, Alicia Cruz-Uribe, R.J. David, John A Mohan,

11:20   Using eDNA to estimate seasonal residency of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in the Saco River.* Tyrrell, Kade, Markus Frederich, John A. Mohan

11:40   Investigating movement patterns and natal origins of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) in Maine by linking acoustic telemetry and scale chemistry.*  Gowell, Benjamin, Michael Nguyen, Alexa Cacacie, John Mohan

12:00-12:45 Awards and Business Meeting

12:45-1:45    Lunch

1:45-3:05      Oral Presentations, Afternoon Session I

1:45   Crayfish Sampling in a Connecticut Urban Stream Raises Further Questions on the Distribution and Movement Patterns of our Local Crayfish Species.* Pezzulo, Robert, Dr. Michelle Kraczkowski

2:05   Territorial and occupancy behavior of black sea bass on oyster aquaculture gear and boulder habitat. Conroy, Christian W, Adam D Armbruster, Renee Mercaldo-Allen, Julie M. Rose, Kristen Seda, Paul Clark, Gillian Phillips, Dylan Redman

2:25   Chewing gum and walking: How can we decarbonize the economy while also striving for fishery ecosystem resilience? Schumann, Sarah, Vanessa Sedore

2:45   The fishery-independent surveys of the NEFSC: adapting to offshore wind development. Ford, Kathryn, Peter Chase, Catherine Foley, Madison Hall, Andy Lipsky, Dana Morton

3:05-3:15      Break

3:15-4:55      Oral Presentations, Afternoon Session II

3:15   Spawning phenology of Atlantic herring: analysis of reproductive condition determined on NEFSC bottom trawl surveys. Wuenschel, Mark

3:35   Evaluating objectives and design considerations for a nearshore survey in Long Island Sound. Miller, Michael

3:55-4:10 Closing comments, Abigail Archer, SNEC President

SNEC Winter 2024 Newsletter

Check out the SNEC Winter 2024 Newsletter here!

SNEC Newsletter 2024-03-25
Winter Meeting Recap
Member Submitted Content
Save the Date, 18th Flatfish Biology Conference
Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries Announce 2023 Joint Fellowship Program Awardees
Recently Published Research The Structures of the Demersal Fish Communities of New Bedford and Gloucester Harbors, Two Massachusetts Urban Estuaries

Winter Meeting Recap
The SNEC 2024 Winter Science Meeting happened on 9 January at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The program kicked off with a welcome by President Corinne Truesdale, who took the time to describe for the benefit of new members what the American Fisheries Society is all about, how the Southern New England Chapter fits into the organization, and how people can get involved with the chapter. We hope that you will take a moment to view her presentation here. Following her welcome, attendees heard from 18 captivating presenters, covering studies of behavior, physiology, population biology, genetics, conservation, sampling methods, and of course fisheries management, of freshwater and marine fish as well as invertebrates! Eight of the presenters were students. The program is available here, and it includes abstracts and contact information for the presenters; if you couldn’t make it to the meeting and want to see a presentation, just ask the presenter; they were all recorded! Sponsors for the meeting included the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the School for Marine Science and Technology at UMass Dartmouth, Connecticut Sea Grant, UConn’s Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, and UConn’s Department of Ecology and Environmental Biology. We are quite grateful to them as it enables us to have the meetings at nice locations and to offer amenities such as a nourishing and tasty lunch from Moe’s Southwest Grill, a break that at which we served UConn’s famous Dairy Bar Ice Cream, and a reception afterwards at the Trophy Room of the Graduate Hotel. We had a terrific turnout of 96 people, of which 28 were students. We hope you could make it this time, and of course we can look forward to summer! The date and location are to be determined but it’s Rhode Island’s turn, as we finish up the term of President Truesdale and welcome the term of President Archer.

Member Submitted Content
Save the Date, 18th Flatfish Biology Conference
, November 13th and 14th
The Flatfish Biology Conference welcomes talks and poster presentations addressing any aspect of flatfish research (e.g., biology, ecology, aquaculture, stock assessment, physiology, etc.) from all regions. Professional and student flatfish researchers are invited to participate. For more information, please visit our website or contact the conference co-chairs: Steve Dwyer, [email protected] Elizabeth Fairchild, [email protected] Renee Mercaldo-Allen, [email protected]

Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries Announce 2023 Joint Fellowship Program Awardees
Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries are pleased to announce the 2023 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship recipients. Seven population and ecosystem dynamics fellowships and one marine resource economics fellowship will be awarded through this national program. To read the full story click here…

Recently Published Research
The Structures of the Demersal Fish Communities of New Bedford and Gloucester Harbors, Two Massachusetts Urban Estuaries Geoghegan Paul, Michael D. Murphy, and Anthony R. Wilbur. 2023, Northeastern Naturalist. We sampled the inshore fish communities of New Bedford and Gloucester harbors synoptically using identical gear for 12 months during 1998–1999. Although the 2 harbors are only 110 km apart, they are separated by Cape Cod, which is the transition between the southern New England (New Bedford) and the Gulf of Maine (Gloucester) biogeographic regions. The 2 fish communities were 69% dissimilar from each other using the Bray–Curtis dissimilarity index (B–C). Stenotomus chrysops (Scup) composed 80% of the catch in New Bedford Harbor, did not occur in Gloucester Harbor, and contributed 7.40% to the total dissimilarity between the harbors. B–C identified 2 seasonal groups in the New Bedford Harbor fish community: May–October and November–April. Leucoraja spp. (skates) comprised the most numerous taxon captured in Gloucester Harbor, accounting for 24.90% of the total catch followed by Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Winter Flounder; 24.16%), and Gadus morhua (Atlantic Cod; 22.52%). These taxa contributed 7.23%, 3.88%, and 6.16% respectively to the total dissimilarity between harbors. B–C identified 4 seasonal groups in Gloucester Harbor: January, February and March, April and May, and June–December. These data provide an important description of the fish communities in the 2 harbors in different biogeographic regions at the end of the 20th century. We expect differences between the communities to decrease with increasing water temperature due to climate change. Read the full paper..

SNEC exists to encourage exchange of information by members of the American Fisheries Society residing or working within Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Find us online: Website Facebook Twitter | X YouTube
Submit your own newsletter content here

2024 SNEC Student Travel Award Announcement

The SNEC Student Travel Award provides monetary travel awards for deserving graduate students and undergraduate students to make an oral or poster presentation at the American Fisheries Society (AFS) annual meeting. Any student who is active in fisheries or related aquatic disciplines, is presenting a paper or poster at the AFS annual meeting, and has not received this award previously is eligible to apply. The awardee is chosen by the SNEC Education Committee and the SNEC Board of Directors. Selection is based on academic qualifications, professional service, and recommendation from advisor. The deadline for submitting the travel award application is May 13, 2024 at 5:00 PM (ET). The award in 2024, which will be determined this summer, will be at least $1,200 to defray the cost of attending the AFS 154th Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, from September 15-19.

One week after the meeting, the awardee must submit a short report describing positive outcomes of attendance to [email protected]. This report will be posted in our website and included in our newsletter to communicate with other students about benefits of attending professional meetings.

Use the application form in the SNEC website (linked below) to apply for the Southern New England Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Student Travel Award

Questions can be directed to Tracy Maynard at [email protected]

AFS SNEC Winter 2024 Science Meeting Program

SNEC logo slider

A pdf of the program with abstracts can be downloaded here, and the text version of just the schedule is below.


8:30 – 9:00               Registration and Coffee

9:00 – 9:10               Opening Comments. Corinne Truesdale, President

9:10-9:25                  Ontogeny of schooling in larval Atlantic Silversides reared under ocean acidification conditions.* Mouland, Matthew E.P., Max D. Zavell, Jacqueline F. Webb, and Hannes Baumann.

9:25-9:40                  Diet and maternal investment affect larval rockfish condition and survival.* Walsh, Kamran A., Andrew R.Thompson, Garfield Kwan, Brice X. Semmens, H. Will. Fennie, and Rasmus Swalethorp.

9:40-9:55                  Variation in fecundity of Winter Flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, and Yellowtail Flounder, Limanda ferruginea: patterns across stocks over ten years. Wuenschel, Mark J., Emilee Tholke, Yvonna Press, W. David McElroy, and Richard S. McBride.

9:55-10:10                Where did the Smallmouth Bass go? Bade, Andrew P., Spencer M. Mallette, and Christopher P. McDowell.

10:10-10:25             CT-DEEP update on Candlewood Lake Grass Carp and vegetation management efforts. Cassone, Joseph and Andrew Bade.

10:25-10:50             Break

10:50-11:05             Energy content of major prey species of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) in the Northwest Atlantic as determined by proximate composition analysis. Hobbs, Ethan, Ken Oliveira, Mark Wuenschel, and Tim Sheehan.

11:05-11:20             Characterizing outmigration patterns and downstream passage of landlocked Atlantic Salmon in the Winooski River, Vermont. Heisey, Aaron, Theodore Castro-Santos, Jonah Withers, Kurt Heim, Laurie Earley, and William Ardren.

11:20-11:35             Investigating the size and spawning history of river herring within the Connecticut River over the past decade.* Stephens, Jacqueline, Allison Roy, Adrian Jordaan, Dave Perkins, and Kenneth Sprankle.

11:35-11:50             Comparing juvenile river herring growth and density in freshwater lakes and associated estuaries.* Burgoff, Julian, Allison Roy, and Adrian Jordaan.

11:50-12:05             Is drought the new fad diet? Effect of entrapment on size, body condition, and growth rates of juvenile anadromous alewives.* Burgess, Michael, Katherine King, Ryan Adams, Eric Schultz, and James Knighton.

12:05-13:35             Lunch and Posters

13:35-13:50             Oyster health and restoration in Long Island Sound. Mayo, Isaiah M., Mariah Kachmar, Genevieve Bernatchez, Mark Dixon, LTJG Tyler Houck, Meghana Parikh, and Katie McFarland.

13:50-14:05             A numerical investigation of size selectivity in a modified scallop dredge.* Cowles, Geoff and Sean Boisvert.

14:05-14:20             Using AIS data and machine learning to improve estimates of development exposure for the scallop fishery in Southern New England.* Livermore, Julia.

14:20-14:35             American Lobster and Jonah Crab populations inside and outside the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, USA. Arnott, Stephen A., Michael P. Long, Aubrey Ellertson, and N. David Bethoney.

14:35-15:00             Break

15:00-15:15             Investigating the utility of complementary fixed and random stratified sampling to track marine fish and invertebrate abundance trends . McManus, M. Conor, Chris J. Parkins, and Scott D. Olszewski.

15:15-15:30             Unwrapping the natal origins of coastal Striped Bass. Gahagan, Ben, Nathalie LeBlanc, Scott Pavey, P. Adrian Jordaan, Eric Anderson, and Andrew Whiteley.

15:30-15:45             Accounting for avoidance behavior in fishery catch rates of Atlantic Cod.* Grezlik, Max and Steve Cadrin.

15:45-16:00             Prototype management strategy evaluation for ecosystem-based fisheries management in New England. Guyant, Madeline, Gavin Fay, Lisa Kerr, Emily Liljestrand, Jerelle Jesse, Andrew Applegate, John Pappalardo, and Samuel Truesdell.

16:30-18:00             Social at Graduate Hotel

* Denotes student paper

Presenter name is underlined


P1                               Maternal mercury transfer from pregnant Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) to their pups through ovoviviparous reproduction.** Ajemian, Maxwell R. and David Taylor.

P2                               Chemical analysis of plastics particles in an estuary (Thames River, CT) and the digestive system of seabirds (Tasmania, Australia).** Beauchemin, Elise, Mikasa Lierman, Sadie Olson, Sarah Skurat, Cheyenne Waters, Dr. Karina Mrakovcich, and Dr. Deanna Bergondo.

P3                               Engaging the fishing community to understand disease and reproductive dynamics of the Atlantic Sea Scallop. Brander, Douglas, N. David Bethony, Anna Mercer, and George Maynard.

P4                               Ontogenetic effects of harmful algal blooms and ocean acidification on the Artemia spp.** Candia, Joseph, Christopher J.Gobler, and Konstantine J.Rountos.

P5                               Investigating the diet of endangered sturgeon in the Connecticut River using gastric lavage and eDNA metabarcoding techniques.** Kraczkowski, Michelle, Loren Tardif, and Jacqueline Benway.

P6                               Using fine-scale fishery data to estimate economic impact of wind farms on the Summer Flounder fishery. Marjadi, Meghna N., Anna J. Mercer, Andrew W. Jones, and Steven X. Cadrin.

P7                               Pilot hook and line survey for data continuity in wind energy areas. Mercer, Anna, Dave McElroy, and Katie Viducic.

P8                               Kokanee in Connecticut; the past, present and future. Ransom, Andrew and Brian Eltz.

P9                               Pilot observer program for Rhode Island state waters gillnet fishery. Remick, Abrielle and Nicole Lengyel Costa.

P10                             Launching an expert elicitation exercise to develop a comparative framework of synergies and tradeoffs from a suite of decarbonization solutions on fishery ecosystems.** Sedore, Vanessa and Sarah Schumann.

P11                             Population dynamics and competitive interactions of Channel Catfish in Connecticut lakes and ponds. Shubat, Danielle and Ryan Adams.

P12                             Terrestrial predator visitation patterns at riverscape cold-water thermal refuges.** Sullivan, Christopher J., Chadwick D. Rittenhouse, and Jason C. Vokoun.

P13                             How does adaptation to local conditions affect the ability of gene flow to help widespread species adapt to changing climates along a latitudinal gradient? Wasserman, Ben A. and Mark C. Urban.

P14                             Overwintering growth and lipid accumulation in northern stock Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) juveniles.** Zavell, Max D., Matthew E.P. Mouland, Eric Schultz, and Hannes Baumann.

P15                             New SNEC Logo Ballot

**Denotes student poster

Presenter name is underlined

AFS SNEC/NED DEI Discussion – this FRIDAY, December 16 at 11AM

Please join us for the next AFS SNEC/NED DEI Discussion – this FRIDAY, December 16 at 11AM

Topic:  How to host an inclusive conference

Discussion Facilitator: Patrick Shirey, AFS NED Past-President and Assistant Professor at University of Pittsburgh, Department of Geology and Environmental Science


Ten simple rules to host an inclusive conference

Discussion Questions
What was your biggest take-away from the readings?
How are our AFS annual meetings doing at accomplishing the ten simple rules? 

Are there ideas in here that AFS could take action on?

Reading for if you have time:

Inclusive Scientific Meetings – Where to Start


This document arose from an Aspen Global Change Institute workshop about diverse, inclusive, and equitable scientific meetings, led by 500 Women Scientists and the Earth Science Women’s Network. The workshop was funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, and held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Maryam Zaringhalam formatted the document. 

AFS SNEC DEI Discussion Friday Nov 18 at 2PM

Please join us for the next AFS/NED SNEC DEI Discussion – this FRIDAY, November 18 at 2PM

For the link please check your emails from the SNEC listserv, or email [email protected]

Topic:  Affirmative Action

Discussion Facilitator: Patrick Shirey, AFS NED Past-President and Assistant Professor at University of Pittsburgh, Department of Geology and Environmental Science

Scientific American Opinion, By Stacy FarinaK Amacker on October 31, 2022:

NPR’s 11 minutes coverage of what diversity initiatives could look like in higher education if the Supreme Court rules that race cannot be considered in college admissions: 

NPR’s 5 minutes of coverage from the case in front of the Supreme Court:

Affirmative Action Policies throughout History:

The Origins of the Term ‘Affirmative Action’

Discussion Questions
-What was your biggest take-away from the readings?
-Did any of these readings cause you to reconsider your opinions about Affirmative Action programs?
-Is there a role for American Fisheries Society in this issue?