The Autumnal Equinox edition!
AFS Cal-Neva News & Updates
23 September 2018
In this edition you will find your n ew Officers, messages from the Presidents, highlights of students' experiences at the 2018 National AFS Meeting, an update from the new Native Fishes Committee, a new edition of Miller and Lea'Guide to the Coastal Marine Fishes of California, a message about Membership, upcoming meetings, and opportunities and jobs.  See the highlights here, and use the links to delve deeper into the topics that interest you!
Native Fishes Committee Takes a Dive

The newly formed Native Fishes Committee is responsible for promoting the awareness and conservation of California and Nevada's native fishes through education and outreach activities, public recognition of outstanding work towards native fish conservation, and serving as an outlet for the discussion and dissemination of information pertinent to California and Nevada's native fishes.  The committee is also committed to holding annual "Native Fishes" Workshop's and symposia at the annual Chapter meetings.
In an effort to increase awareness of local native fishes, the First Annual "Native Fishes Workshop" was held in South Lake Tahoe on September 7 th and 8 th, and highlighted fish native to the Tahoe Basin and Lahontan sub-province. Participants included representatives from state and federal agencies, water agencies and consultants and as well as retired individuals, but also included a middle school and a high school student.  The Friday afternoon program was put together by Zachery Bess, a graduate student at UNR, with assistance by Tom Taylor. Tom also presented slides to help people identify Tahoe Basin fishes.  
Message from the Incoming President - Steve Brumbaugh

How many times have we all heard the phrase, "It's all about your perspective"? It is a pretty simple phrase, yet it's relevance spans all facets of life. Things can be viewed either as hardship or as a challenge and character builder. A tough climb becomes another downhill slope when you look down from the mountaintop. And as one movie character famously put it, "It's only an island if you look at it from the water." After I was announced the new Cal-Neva AFS President-Elect, I heard a question a couple of times that got me thinking a bit more about perspective: "Congratulations or condolences?" It was meant lightheartedly, and was taken as such, but it got me thinking and I can absolutely say congratulations were in order. It was a proud moment for me to hear my name mentioned as the President-Elect at the 2017 annual meeting in Eureka. It seems like each year I've said to myself, "When things calm down a little I'm going to get more involved." The thing is life doesn't seem to calm down too often. As one obligation is completed, another takes its place. So, I finally decided to go for it.  I decided to run. I was unopposed in the race, but that didn't make my achievement any less meaningful to me. After planning (with an amazing committee) a successful 2018 Annual Meeting in San Luis Obispo, I am excited about my upcoming year as President.
Read more from Steve here.
Communication styles of scientists and the public. Image from the American Association of the Advancement of Science.
Outgoing President's Message - Laurie Earley

It was my honor to travel with our incoming President, Steve Brumbaugh, and President-Elect, Rob Titus, to the Jersey Shore representing the California-Nevada Chapter.  The three of us attended the 2018 American Fisheries Society's 148 th Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, NJ.  The Mid-Atlantic chapter welcomed us and made sure attendees enjoyed the beach; from events on the boardwalk and piers, to closing the meeting with the Grand Event on the beach with fireworks.  Steve McMullin's (now the Society's Immediate Past-President) plenary speakers addressed the topics of marine fisheries, stakeholder involvement, and communication.  Christine O'Connell captivated the audience with her presentation "Making Your Science Count", which still lingers in my mind.  She shared the comparison of two mindsets, scientists and journalists (or the general public), which those who attended the recent Bay-Delta Science conference may recognize.  The figure above summarizes these ideas and it is important to note that as scientist we present and receive information differently than others.  I think this is important for us to all remember as we continue to make our science more relevant with the general public.

President-Elect Rob Titus
New Chapter Officers

The AFS Cal-Neva Chapter is excited to welcome its new Officers for the 2018-2019 term! 

Traditionally the roles of our Chapter Presidents (President-Elect, President, and Past-President) and other Officers change during the AFS National Meeting. Steve Brumbaugh is the new Chapter President. Rob Titus (photo right, upper) is the new President-Elect. Kathleen Berridge (photo right, lower) is the new Secretary.  Laurie Earley moves from President to Past-President. Jim Hobbs
Secretary Kathleen Berridge
continues as Treasurer (thank-you Jim!!!).  

A big thank-you to Joe Merz for all his contributions as outgoing Past-President. Another big thank-you to Stephanie Theis for her work as outgoing Secretary.  

Thanks also go to all our Committee Chairs. 

Get more information about our Officers and our Committees Chairs here.
Cal-Neva AFS Chapter Membership

Do you know of fellow fish lovers who would be interested in joining the California-Nevada Chapter of the American Fisheries Society? We are always looking for interested new members to join our ranks of "fish heads"! Benefits include:
  • Discounts to the annual conference
  • Priority signups for workshops and symposiums 
  • Access to member-only networking events 
  • Continuing education opportunities 
  • Access to AFS scientific journals 
  • Access to AFS job boards and newsletters 
  • Resume building 

Please forward this newsletter to interested friends and colleagues who can email Heather Benko ( for more information. Interested in getting involved in recruiting at your office or university? Contact Heather Benko ( to receive recruitment materials you can use to help build our ranks of fish lovers!  

New Edition of Miller and Lea's Guide to the Coastal Marine Fishes of California: Preface and Something of a Candid Admission 

It is difficult to remember what California marine fish field biology was like before the 1972 Guide to the Coastal Marine Fishes of California was published. A biologist attempting to determine what fish species was at hand had some resources, however, many were dated, incomplete, or difficult to use. In addition, very few contained keys, that most efficient way of determining the identity of an organism.
Thus, the first edition of Dan Miller and Bob Lea's field guide was an inspiration to several generations of both working and aspiring California fish biologists. It was the reference turned to when a trawl haul yielded something unexpected. It was the reference kept close to hand by decades of students in ichthyology classes. And it was the reference used in hundreds of research papers by those wanting to establish a certain street cred regarding their knowledge of the basic facts about a fish species. No fish biologist worthy of the name had an unmarked copy. In fact, one might say it was a badge of honor to have the most beaten up, pulped, and horribly defaced copy - by implication the result of endless thumbing by slime-covered fingers.
Read more about the new edition here.
Finding Inspiration and Making Connections at AFS 148

As a third-year PhD student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, I've been to a variety of meetings, from large to small and specific to very broad. However, I can definitively say that the 148th AFS National Meeting in Atlantic City was the most fun I've ever had at a conference! I was able to attend this meeting through the generosity of the California-Nevada Chapter, who awarded me a Semi-Annual Travel Award. Below, I highlight some of the reasons why I enjoyed this meeting so much: 
  • Fish people are friendly 
  • Subunits around the country share similar problems and goals 
  • SCMBAS receives the Outstanding Subunit Award 
  • Science was everywhere 
Throughout the various events I attended and the AFS leaders that I talked to, it was clear that an important goal of AFS is persuading fisheries scientists, especially students, to become AFS members. After this meeting, I can fully attest to the many benefits that membership provides, such as access to a huge network of new friends and colleagues, various grant opportunities, leadership positions, and jobs. In fact, I came away from this meeting inspired to run for a new position within AFS - the Western Division Representative on the Student Subsection executive committee. If elected, I hope to support Western Division subunits in contributing meaningfully to the National Meeting in Reno, NV next year.
Read more about Kat Dale's experience here.
To the AFS in Atlantic City, via Missouri and California

As a member of the Cal-Neva AFS, I must make a confession: I am not from the west coast. Even though I was born and raised in Missouri, I have spent many years in California and feel as though I have become as naturalized as a striped bass. I grew up feeding buffalo carp in the lakes and watching gar skimming the surface of the water. I was excited to have the opportunity to travel to the east coast to attend the National AFS meeting especially when I saw the program filled with posters and presentations about the fish I grew up with. I was especially excited to see a presentation on paddlefish; I remember thinking they were some kind of alien when fisherman brought them back to shore. It's amazing to see how researchers are using the dentary bones of these amazing fish as an alternative to otoliths to reconstruct life history.
I am incredibly grateful to the Cal-Neva chapter of AFS for providing me with a travel grant that allowed me to attend this meeting. This helped alleviate the debt I incurred from traveling across country as well as the costs of registration fees. This was not only because I was presenting at the meeting but it was also incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to see the current research being done on species that were able to transport me back to my childhood. I also really enjoyed the extracurricular activities held for students in order to network as well as receive advice from mentors. These activities were very creative in how they ensured students to interact with professional in our field. At each one I had a wonderful time and met some incredible fisheries professionals that all gave great advice.
Read more about Miranda Tilcock's experience here.
Trawl for a meeting that interests you

Save the date! From September 29 - October 3, 2019, The Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society will come together for the first-ever joint national conference of these two organizations. The event will likely be the largest gathering of fish and wildlife professionals ever, and will provide unprecedented opportunities for science-sharing and potential collaboration. Individually, these organizations' conferences ensure your staff stay knowledgeable and up to date on the latest science and management techniques, but combined this can't-miss event opens doors for the future of the natural resources professions. Join us in Reno for an unforgettable experience, and be a part of this historic event.
Angle for opportunities and jobs

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