Welcome Back!

Hey AFSUWers!

We are excited to begin a new year and welcome a new AFSUW ExComm!  Summer has been a busy time for us with field work and research, and we would like to give you an update on what some of our new and old ExComm members have been doing this summer.

AFSUW President Jessie, in the Swiss Alps

Our president Jessie Hale spent part of the summer backpacking in Europe and then in Arizona collecting aquatic invertebrates and researching frogs and toads.

Treasurer Tim Walsworth spent the summer in Alaska researching sockeye salmon.

Rachel Hovel, AFSUW Vice President, spent 10 weeks for her summer field season in Bristol Bay, Alaska.  There, she collected data contributing to a 50+ year time series of biological and environmental data on a large lake system undergoing marked effects of climate warming, including warmer water temperatures and a longer productive season.

AFSUW Secretary Laura Twardochleb completed her first field season for her research on food web ecology in lakes in Washington State. Laura’s thesis research concerns the interactive effects of non-native species and urban development on the health of lake food webs.

AFSUW Secretary Laura, sampling on Cascade Lake on Orcas Island

This summer, she sampled 14 lakes in the Puget Sound region of Washington State that spanned a gradient of urban development. Half of these lakes also host populations of the non-native, Chinese Mystery Snail, a large and abundant species that is now widely distributed in North American lakes. She sampled lakes for fish, crayfish,snails, and other benthic invertebrates, as well as plankton, terrestrial and emergentaquatic insects, and aquatic and riparian vegetation. Laura plans to combine stable isotope analysis and fish and invertebrate community data to determine how two drivers, development and the non-native mystery snail, have altered food web structure and function in Washington lakes.


AFSUW Communications Officer Shannon, onboard the Centennial, one of UW’s research vessels.

Shannon Hennessey, Communications Officer, participated in an intensive Marine Invertebrate Zoology course at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Marine Labs on San Juan Island.

Former AFSUW officers, Jessica Rohde (President) and Iris Kemp (Vice President) attended this year’s National AGM in St. Paul MN. Iris presented data on acoustic scattering patterns in Puget Sound over the April-September 2011 period.  She also served as a student volunteer at the meeting and participated in the 5k Spawning Run. At the AGM Jessica participated in the symposium “Science Communication in the 21st Century.” Her talk summarized the history of a science communication project that she has become involved in called Engage: the Science Speaker Series and Seminar. Engage trains graduate students at the University of Washington to share their research with a general audience using storytelling, audience consideration, and public speaking skills. The program was created by four graduate students at the University of Washington who have recently written up their curriculum and want to share it with other universities and organizations so that they are able to begin similar programs themselves. Additionally, Jessica became involved with an ad-hoc AFS committee on online communication strategies and tools for AFS. Both Iris and Jessica live-tweeted talks from the AGM.

We are excited to get our fall quarter events underway! We are planning a career development seminar, mentorship mixer and trivia night. Stay tuned!