Summer 2019 Meeting June 27, 2019 in Hadley, MA

Summer 2019 Meeting

Date: June 27, 2019

US Fish & Wildlife Northeast Regional Office
300 Westgate Center Dr., Hadley MA 01035

Abstract submission for the upcoming Summer meeting is open! Oral presentations abstracts can be submitted HERE. Abstracts must be 250 words or less, and the title and authors must be specified. Submission deadline is 17:00 Friday, May 17, 2019.

Our Keynote speaker will be Todd Richards, the MA Division of Fish & Wildlife Assistant Director of Fisheries. His presentation, “Putting freshwater fisheries data to work”, will focus on current examples of how data, something every biologist wants to collect, can be put to use in everyday fisheries management decisions in order to protect and manage fisheries resources. The data are only useful, however, if we have invested thought in how to put the data to work. Current projects like wild trout management, climate change resiliency, coldwater refugia, warm water fisheries management, and recreational mapping will be highlighted as well as the mandate of MassWildlife.

SNEC SciComm Challenge

Think you’re a science communication champ? Never practiced your scicomm skills, but want to dip your toe? Enter to participate the first ever SNEC SciComm Challenge!

Objective: Create an interactive exhibit to communicate scientific material to a general audience. Any AFS-relevant topics are welcome! Think you can explain the basis of your research in the form of a board game? Go for it! Want to pilot an extensions/outreach tool? Bring it on!

Voting & prizes: To cast votes, each attendee of the winter SNEC 2018 meeting will be given two tickets to give to her/his favorite exhibits. Prizes, provided by the UConn AFS student subunit, will be awarded to the top two contestants.

How to enter: Submit your name(s), topic/title, and requested accommodations: SNEC SciComm Challenge! Entries may be individual or team. Access to table space, electrical outlet(s), and wall space for hanging posters and the like may be requested in the form. Tentative topics/titles are requested to provide some flexibility, but titles must be finalized and submitted to the organizers by December 16th.

We hope you enjoy this new program! Thank you in advance for your support and participation!


Tricks of the Trade – A Workshop on Data QA/QC Best Practices

The Southern New England chapter of AFS is proud to host a workshop on data QA/QC best practices on Wednesday, June 27th at the University of Rhode Island  Bay Campus, in Narragansett, RI.  The workshop will be taught in three parts by fisheries professionals who have years of experience, and will be teaching their “tricks of the trade” on how they deal with data issues.  Registration will start at 8:00am and the workshop will run from 9:00am – 3:30pm.

Session I will be taught by Tiffany Cunningham of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.  Tiffany will focus on data collection, data management, and data auditing.  She will talk about the questions you should ask before you collect your data, the different databases you can use to work on your data, and formatting those data to fit a certain database.

Session II will be taught by Michelle Traver of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.  Michelle will talk about working with large data sets, knowing the raw data, looking for trends from the beginning, and incorporating different sources of data into a usable product.

Session III will be taught by Jeff Kneebone from the New England Aquarium. He will focus on quality control of tagging data.  He will go over different examples and how to troubleshoot data issues obtained from conventional, acoustic, and pop-up satellite tags.

Each speaker will talk for one and a half hours with breaks in between.  Lunch will be provided for all workshop attendees.  After the workshop is completed, everyone is invited to a social at a local venue, still TBD.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email Bill Duffy at 508-717-0210 or [email protected].

Registration is require. Click here for registration.

Winter Science Meeting Recap

Matt Devine receiving his best student presentation award from Education Committee Chair, Karina Mrakovcich

Riding the momentum after a very successful 50th anniversary meeting, the Southern New England Chapter (SNEC) of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) had the largest amount of people register for a one day meeting with 144 people registering for the 2018 Winter science Meeting!  The meeting was held on January 10 at the new University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology building (SMAST East) in New Bedford, MA.  The meeting consisted of 21 platform presentations, a short award and dedication ceremony, and then a poster social with 19 poster presentations.  Students gave almost half of the poster and platform presentations, with seven student platform presentations and 11 student posters presentations.  There was a diverse range of topics during the meeting, from fish passage and juvenile white shark habitat use, to engaging stakeholders in order to fill data gaps.

During the awards section, SNEC presented the student poster and platform presentation awards from the 50th anniversary meeting held last February.  The Grace Klein-MacPhee Best Student Poster awards were given to: Kyle Grasso, for his poster titled: Testing for differences in juvenile growth rates of anadromous Alewife and Blueback Herring; and Anthony Dangora for his poster titled: Evaluating DIDSON as a tool to monitor juvenile River Herring in coastal freshwater lakes.  Both Kyle and Anthony were not in attendance to receive their awards.

Lucas Nathan receives his award from Education Committee Chair, Karina Mrakovcich

The Saul Saila Best Student Platform Presentation Award winners were: Matt Devine for his presentation, The lake effect: identifying optimal growth conditions for juvenile anadromous alewife; and Lucas Nathan, for his presentation: A tale of two watersheds: exploring riverscape drivers of Brook Trout genetic structuring.  Both Matt and Lucas were in attendance to accept their awards.

SNEC also presented two awards of special recognition to Don Danila and Carolyn Griswold.  Don and Carolyn have recently stepped away from an admirable tenure on the board of Directors for SNEC.  The SNEC Board of Directors wish to thank them both for their long-term service, dedication to the Chapter, and guidance along the way! A remembrance for Saul B Saila, a longtime member of the Chapter, was also held during the award ceremony; Saul passed away in late 2017.  Saul was the recipient of the prestigious Award of Excellence by the American Fisheries Society in 2001, which is the oldest major AFS award and the most prestigious presented to an individual. He also received the AFS Outstanding Educator Award in 1989 and in 1994 he received the Oscar E. Sette Award for outstanding Marine Fisheries Biologist from the Marine Fisheries Section of AFS.

Once the presentations were over, everyone in attendance was encouraged to take part in the Poster Social.  This was the first time SNEC held a poster Social during a one-day meeting.  Previously, poster presentations were scheduled during the middle of the meeting; however, members felt that there wasn’t enough time to network and view all the posters.  SNEC generated a lot of positive feedback with the new winter meeting format, and meeting attendees really enjoyed the poster social.  Keeping the winter meeting format this way will be discussed at our upcoming Board meeting.   Stay tuned for an announcement about our upcoming Summer Science Meeting in Rhode Island.  SNEC also plans to hold a workshop and social the day before the meeting, the location and date will be announced in early spring. We would like to thank everyone who came out to the winter meeting. Let’s keep riding this momentum into the summer!

Carolyn Griswold receives the Special Achievement Award from the Director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Jon Hare.

Don Danila receives the Special Achievement Award from Chapter President, Steve Dwyer.

SNEC 50th Recap

Past presidents of SNEC and NED.

For the first time in its 50-year history the Southern New England Chapter held a multi-day winter meeting and graciously did so in conjunction with the AFS Northeastern Division, creating a regional flair for the conference. The Chapter’s Golden Anniversary meeting took place during February 26-28 in Mystic, CT. The first day was devoted to two workshops and the following two days consisted of paper and poster presentations, two plenary talks, a keynote address, Chapter and Division business meetings, and various social events. Ample time was allotted for breaks and social events, which facilitated peer-to- peer communications. An off-site student-mentor lunch was also set up, allowing for professionals to give advice to future working fisheries scientists. Total attendance was 185, which included 36 students. Among the attendees were members of the AFS Governing Board, including Joe Margraf (AFS President), Ron Essig (Past President), Steve McMullin (President-Elect), Doug Austen (Executive Director), Jason Vokoun (NED President), Justin Davis (NED President-Elect), Julie Claussen (International Fisheries Section President), and Sara Turner (Emerging Leader).

Meeting workshops included “Communicating and Grant Writing for Science Professionals” presented by Rich McBride, Syma Ebbin, and Michelle Staudinger, and “Adaptive Fisheries Management” by Steve Cadrin, Katie Kennedy, and Fred Mattera. The two workshops attracted 29 participants. The Chapter would like to hold additional workshops, perhaps as soon as this coming summer. Anyone having workshop suggestions or would like to assist in their implementation should contact Bill Duffy at [email protected]

Two invited speakers gave plenary addresses, Jon Hare, Director of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, spoke about science in support of living marine resource management in the northeastern U.S. shelf ecosystem. Ron Essig of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service connected significant events occurring in federal fisheries legislation over the past 50 years with each of the Chapter Presidents serving during the same time period. The keynote speaker was Julie Claussen of the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, who gave a fascinating talk on her work in Bhutan on the conservation of a large, riverine cyprinid, the Mahseer.

There were 48 oral paper presentations given in two or three concurrent sessions as well as a Chapter-record of 21 poster presentations. One-third of the oral and two-thirds of the poster presentations were made by students. Presentations included diverse subject matter in fisheries, aquatic sciences, and technology. Abstracts may be found here.

During the Chapter Business Meeting, President-Elect Eric Schultz noted that he is reluctantly resigning his position due to his increasing responsibilities at the University of Connecticut. The Chapter is therefore looking for a person to fill this slot as well as the incoming Secretary-Treasurer position, now held by Sara Turner, who will move up to President in the officer progression. Because the 2017 Business Meeting was held at this winter meeting rather than at the upcoming summer meeting, an electronic vote for the election of these two officers will be held sometime this spring. Anyone interested in being nominated for either of these two positions is urged to contact a member of the Chapter’s Board of Directors.

Bill Hyatt received the Chapter’s Award of Excellence for his distinguished career and achievements within the CT DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources.

Brent Schirmer, President of the UConn Student Sub-chapter reported on their activities, including plans to host a “Fishy 5K” on campus in April (with the hope that advisor Jason Vokoun will run in a fish costume). Matt Devine, President of the newly formed University of Massachusetts-Amherst Student Sub-chapter, briefly addressed business meeting attendees. This sub-unit has 21 members, including 12 undergraduates and 9 graduate students, and is advised by Dr. Adrian Jordaan. Events held so far have included “Life in the Day of a Fisheries Scientist”, which was  presented to 5th grade students. The student chapter is looking forward to holding a children’s fishing derby, assisting in stream clean-ups, and hosting a fisheries science panel night on the university campus.

The Chapter’s 2017 Award of Excellence was presented to Bill Hyatt, currently the Chief of CT DEEP’s Bureau of Natural Resources, for his lifetime contributions in all fields of fisheries science, including administration, education, management, and research. Joe Pereira of NOAA Fisheries-Milford received the Irwin Alperin Outstanding Member Award for his many years as a mentor, teacher, and sponsor to students, particularly those in high school and college undergraduates. The Lesa Meng Aquatic Conservation Award was given to Paul Ducheney and Rich Murray of Holyoke Gas & Electric for advancing the knowledge of sturgeon passage at Connecticut River dams through a long-term collaborative process supportive of aquatic resource agencies goals. The Outstanding Organization Award went to the Friends of Pleasant Bay, which is an environmental organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing this biologically diverse and productive estuary, the largest on Cape Cod. Renee Mercaldo-Allen was presented a Special Achievement Award for her efforts over many years in overseeing the Steering Committee of the  Flatfish Biology Conference.  Lucas Nathan of the University of Connecticut won the Saul B. Saila Best Student Paper Award for his presentation at the 2016 Chapter summer meeting entitled “Evaluating the effects of culverts on fine scale genetic structuring of Brook Trout”. This was Nathan’s second such award in the last 3 years.

At the NED Business Meeting, Curt Orvis, recently retired from the USFWS, was presented the Dwight Webster Award for his career accomplishments in fish passage, which has benefitted the Northeast region and beyond. The President’s Award went to Margaret Murphy of the New York Chapter for all of her contributions to AFS over many years. John Cooper received a Meritorious Service Award for decades of support to the NED and its members. Justin Davis ascended as NED President with many thanks given to outgoing President Jason Vokoun. The
NED is currently looking for candidates for Vice President. Interested parties are encouraged to contact NED Pat President Kristen Ferry at [email protected]

One of the highlights of the meeting was the banquet held in the nearby Mystic Aquarium, where attendees were able to view fish and other aquatic animals from all over the world before and during dinner. And, we had a SNEC 50th anniversary cake to cap off the celebration! It appears that the multi-day meeting was very well received by all and similar meetings in the future may be considered by the Chapter.

Banquet at the Mystic Aquarium