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.