AFS Cal-Neva Newsletter
6 April 2021

By Matt Young with contributions from Christina Parker and Dave Lentz

This year’s Cal-Neva Annual Meeting was our first foray into organizing virtual meeting events. Despite the difficulties of our pandemic-impacted schedules, the chapter response was enthusiastic with 40 presentations ranging from southern California to Alaska, multiple continuing education courses, innovative social events, thought-provoking plenary speakers, and over 115 active participants. The meeting program can still be found here, including presentation abstracts.

Because of the many challenges we’ve all faced this year, our chapter also contributed to a variety of local environmental equality and outreach non-profit organizations. Rather than conference swag, a portion of registration dollars went back into local programs. We know many have found outdoor spaces a place of refuge and these programs provide access to outdoor spaces and activities for communities who would otherwise find access challenging or unapproachable. We hope supporting non-profits like these creates pathways for future generations of scientists who are diverse, knowledgeable, and passionate. Thanks to a successful conference and all of your votes, $2,500 will be donated in the following percentages:

Thank you to all of those who contributed, including attendees, presenters, session moderators, sponsors (BiomarkEast Bay Municipal Utility DistrictEnvironmental Science Associates, and Regional San), and members of the Cal-Neva Conference Planning committee.
Reminder for revisiting meeting materials:

For those of you who attended this years’ Cal-Neva Annual Meeting, you are able to view recorded content (plenary and technical presentations) for 90 days after the meeting. The link to the virtual meeting website is below. You will need to verify with the email account you used to register for the annual meeting. Continuing Education presentations are not available.

By Dave Lentz

Hello Cal-Neva folks,

I have for a long time wanted to try out what it is like having a ponytail. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to find out. The connection to my barber has been broken by the pandemic as well. I’ve decided the ponytail doesn’t look as cool as I thought it would—I think I waited too long to try this and should have done it years ago when my hair was ”thicker”, so I’m not sure how much longer I will be ponytail-capable. I hope that the pandemic has given you opportunity to experience new and different things. Things that you value and that are worthwhile. I think our recently held annual meeting in the virtual world can fit that description.

I am grateful for Matt Young and our meeting planning team making this year’s meeting new, different, and worthwhile. Matt especially took on the challenge of learning how to use the online platforms to adapt the standard in-person presentations we customarily do and have them available during the live meeting schedule and also accessible for later viewing. We also utilized a new online venue, Spatial Chat, to hold our poster session, student-mentor event and some social gatherings. This venue gave us the opportunity to mingle not unlike our usual Cal-Neva social events, even though we didn’t have to leave home to mingle. I’m hoping we can explore using this online tool again, perhaps to have an event that we can engage students in our sub-units and at the schools that don’t have a sub-unit. I welcome your ideas for what might be possible for Cal-Neva to explore. Also, our annual Chapter Business Meeting was held during our virtual meeting on March 3. Since the 2020 meeting in Folsom was cancelled we had a lot of Chapter “business” to report. Past President Rob Titus and I covered the activities basically since our big Reno AFS/TWS meeting in 2019 up to our virtual meeting in 2021. If you missed this Business Meeting the minutes and the PowerPoint slides are on our Cal-Neva website under the Communications tab so you can see what Cal-Neva has been doing.

You can continue to engage with AFS meetings this year. One of the positive things about virtual meetings is there are no travel expenses. If you have had difficulty attending Western Division meetings when they are held outside California or Nevada then you have an affordable and easy opportunity to participate in the WDAFS virtual meeting May 10-14. There will be 20+ symposia, 3 Plenaries, an Aquatic Film and Photography Festival, continuing education and other interesting events. I have been rewarded each time I have attended WDAFS meetings by seeing and hearing my colleagues in the other western states, sharing their work. It has been energizing for me to get that exposure and bring ideas back to my own work. This year has the opportunity for joining virtually if the travel has been a limitation for you previously. It is not clear yet but the AFS meeting in Baltimore moved from August to November 6-10, may be in-person and may also have virtual options.

We are planning for an in-person Cal-Neva Annual Meeting in 2022. Details are still being worked on but we are hopeful that we will be together, in-person, next year.

Best wishes to you, Dave Lentz
Box full of questionnaires for Education USA Kindle draw by US Embassy Canada is marked with CC PDM 1.0

By Stephanie Durkacz

As we continue to work in a virtual world, we want to offer more virtual Continuing Education and networking opportunities for you in the upcoming year. We designed a survey to assess which Continuing Education experiences would be most valuable for our membership. Please make your voice heard by filling out this brief survey. The survey will close on April 26, 2021. If there are any questions please contact Stephanie Durkacz, Cal-Neva Continuing Education chair, at Thank you!

By Nicole Kwan

Results are in! The annual officer election closed on March 19th. Our membership has voted and we are excited to welcome Eva Bush to the position of President-Elect and Jose Setka to a second term as Treasurer. The officer switch will take place in the fall. See the link below for more information about the officers.

By Matt Young

Every year Cal-Neva AFS partners with the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists to recognize student presentations at our annual meeting. In addition to recognition of talk and poster presentations based on technical merit, Cramer Fish Sciences provides separate recognition for creative and innovative student presentations in the form of the Katrina Martens Poster award. A special thanks to all judges, and to Tom Keegan and Joe Merz for coordinating student awards at the Annual Meeting.

We would like to recognize this years’ student award winners for best talk and best poster. All talks are still available via the virtual meeting website. In addition to monetary compensation for all award-winners, the Best Talk winner will represent the Cal-Neva AFS Chapter at the upcoming Western Division AFS Annual Meeting in a special session highlighting individual chapters.

Best Talk
  • Winner – Terra Dressler (UC Santa Barbara)
  • Runner-up – Amanda Coen (UC Davis)
  • Second runner-up – Emily Chen (UC Berkeley)

Best Poster
  • Winner – Ashley Del Core (Cal Poly)
  • Runner-up – Amanda Agosta (UC Davis)
  • Second runner-up (tie) – Rachael Ryan (UC Berkeley)
  • Second runner-up (tie) – Laura Slater (U. of Alaska Fairbanks)

Katrina Martens Poster Award
  • Winner – Ashley Del Core (Cal Poly)
  • Runner-up – Sam Rosenbaum (UC Berkeley)

By Kiana Lindblad

Last year I attended the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting for the American Fisheries Society. I had never attended a conference or presented a poster before. When the pandemic started, it halted in-person meetings for my lab. Luckily, we were able to pivot to a new project that looked at and analyzed a legacy data set on fish species biomass from 1227 rotenone surveys in USA reservoirs. From this data, I built the poster that I presented at last year's conference.

I didn't know what to expect from my first conference. I wasn’t sure how presenting a poster worked or what symposia I wanted to watch. In addition, my peers who had been to conferences in the past were unsure of how the challenges of online presentations and learning would be addressed. What I did find was that there were more benefits to an online conference than shortcomings. During last year's conference, I was taking summer courses and working part time which didn’t give me much freedom to move around my schedule. However, because of the flexibility that comes with online programming, I didn’t have to miss anything. I also didn’t have to pick between the different lectures and programming like you’d normally have to at an in-person conference because everything was recorded so I could watch it when I had time. I also felt that I was able to enjoy papers and presentations more because I was able to read them even after the conference had officially ended.

I think the only thing that I felt like I was missing out on was the connection to the other attendees and presenters. I believe that is one of the most difficult challenges that people face when creating an online event. Despite the limitations, I was able to meet a few people through the conference and have kept in contact through other platforms like twitter. I can’t wait till I’m able to attend an in-person conference so that I’m able to meet and interact with more people from this amazing fish fueled community.
Pyramid Peak Desolation wilderness from Gilmour Lake by Lisa Thompson
In Memoriam
In early 2021, the AFS Cal-Neva Chapter sadly lost two key members, former Chapter President Cay Goude and former Chapter President Larry Brown. Both Cay and Larry made immense and lasting contributions to the Chapter and to fisheries science and conservation. You can read more about their lives and work at the link below.

Trawl for a meeting that interests you
The Virtual 2021 Annual Meeting of WDAFS will be hosted by the Utah Chapter, May 10 – 14, 2021. The theme is “Amplifying Science in a Changing World.”

For more information, please visit: 

The American Fisheries Society 151st AFS Annual Meeting is rescheduled for November 6-10, 2021. Baltimore will be a fantastic location to continue to commemorate 150 years of fisheries science achievements. The past, present, and future of fisheries science will be on display as we bring together professionals from across North America and countries throughout the world under the theme of “Investing in People, Habitat, and Science.” Visit the conference website.
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