Annual Meeting

Cal-Neva Chapter Annual Meeting

Cal-Neva Chapter of the American Fisheries Society 52nd Annual Meeting

San Luis Obispo, CA

February 28-March 2, 2018
Embassy Suites
333 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405


Theme of the 52nd Annual Meeting 

We all have groups in which we feel safe, where we are more comfortable, and communication comes a bit easier – our bubbles. The scientific community, and specifically the fisheries community, is a bubble we all operate in. Meetings such as this provide an important forum for scientists to share their research, educate one another, and inspire each other. They allow us to collaborate with those who share our interests, educational background, and experiences. However, science is being questioned more now than ever. Academic, or simply scientific, is being taken by many to be synonymous to elitist. At this critical time, we must find ways to engage those outside our scientific bubble and relate our research to their everyday lives. We must share how we strive to keep science objective, clearly explain why and how we use complex math and models, be transparent about our assumptions and imperfections, and effectively convey the significance of our results to our communities. We must use this climate as a catalyst for changing the way we communicate our science. An opportunity to show people that science is about asking questions and making discoveries, and that these findings can influence their future and their children’s future. If we do not effectively communicate with people outside our bubble, then science-based policy will likely remain an ideal, rather than reality.

*If you would like to sponsor or make a donation to the annual meeting, see more information about the benefits of each sponsorship level.


Early-bird Registration & Abstract Submission is now closed!      

We have reached the deadline for guaranteed catering orders to be processed with the venue. Therefore, pre-registration is now closed (as of Friday, February 23, 2018 at 10:00 am). Onsite registration will be available at the registration desk; however, onsite banquet tickets will only be available in limited supply and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Early Bird Registration Costs                                                                                   
Regular Member: $250
Student Member: $65
Young Professional: $125
Non-Member: $300
Retired AFS: $175
1-Day (Member or Non-member): $125
1-Day (Young Professional): $80
Banquet: (guest, not registered): $55

*Full price registration costs will begin after January 26th, 2018.


Continuing Education Courses (Free for students, $50 for full day, $25 for half-day)

** All courses will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel

Continuing Education Course 1: eDNA Techniques for Biological Assessment

Description: Despite considerable investment of time and resources, information outcomes from monitoring programs can be substandard or unnecessarily limited in utility. Rapid technical advancements in population genetics and molecular biology are providing many novel, relatively low cost techniques and technologies that are applicable and powerful tools for biologists.

These technical advancements can be applied to refine information about the presence/absence of cryptic organisms, geographic and seasonal distributions, and community structure. This course will provide attendees with a working knowledge of molecular diagnostics terminology and procedures.  Examples showing both aquatic and terrestrial applications will be used to bring procedures to life.


Continuing Education Course 2: Fish Passage and Screening

Description: Anadromous fishes, such as salmon, trout, lamprey and sturgeon, are not only key features of ecosystem function, but are vital aspects of our heritage, culture, economy, and health. As they utilize both freshwater and marine environments, these fish are concurrently subjected to the multiple stressors of an ever-increasing human population, facing habitat degradation and fragmentation.  Many non-anadromous fish also make significant migrations, including catostomids and cyprinids, and are faced with similar impacts.

Of the many stressors facing migratory fishes, one of the most profound and understated is human-caused barriers to their natural migration. In California alone there are over 29,000 barriers to anadramous fish migration, blocking access to at least 75% of their historic range.

This workshop will introduce participants to the field of fish passage, a subsidiary of the broader stream restoration community, drawing on a diverse array of traditional disciplines such as civil engineering, hydrology, geomorphology, biology, and ecology. The workshop will provide participants a working framework to approach fish passage projects, with a practical and working emphasis on lowhead (less than 10 meters) barriers at road crossings. We will cover several aspects of fish passage in this course, ranging from barrier assessment to design to construction.

Continuing Education Course 3: R Introduction

This course is designed for participants who wish to gain beginning to intermediate skills in using R for manipulating, visualizing, and analyzing their fisheries data.  R is a programming language designed for statistical computing that is open source and free to download. R is a powerful and highly flexible tool for graphical display, data configuration, and statistical analysis. Today, R is one of the most widely used statistical software across various scientific fields.

This class will be taught using fishery data from the San Francisco Estuary collected by various agencies (e.g. California Department of Water Resources, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, etc.) and instructor-led examples from their own studies and manuscripts. It is applicable to anyone that conducts environmental monitoring or uses environmental data for research, management, or policy-making and is recommended for anyone needing to become proficient with R basics.

The goal of this workshop is to allow the attendees to understand the potential uses of R when working with fisheries and environmental data. Attendees will learn how to sort and aggregate data, create a variety of high quality and easily customizable graphical display, and perform common data diagnostic and statistical tests.

Please note that attendees will need to bring a laptop to class with the R software program installed. Instructions on how to download the program will be emailed out prior to the class. Instructors will also be available to help attendees with the download at the beginning of class if needed.


Continuing Education Course 4: Surviving Peer-Review

In this workshop, we’ll review the basics of technical articles and then launch into an in-depth discussion of the peer-review process, roles and responsibilities of reviewers and editors, and how constructive reviews can help authors achieve the goals of Surviving Peer Review. We will also provide recommendations on how to shepherd a manuscript through the revision and resubmission process.

  • Length: Half-day (4 hours)
  • Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Location: San Luis Obispo North Room
  • Instructor: Jesse Trushenski (– Idaho Fish and Game, Eagle, ID

Call for Symposia & Papers

  • Abstracts for contributed papers and posters due by January 26, 2018
  • Proposals for symposia and technical sessions extended deadline, December 22, 2017 (CLOSED).

Soliciting for a wide range of topics for symposia, contributed papers, and posters, such as:

  • New research
  • Monitoring results
  • Partnerships
  • Challenges/Solutions
  • Innovation

Plenary Speakers

  • Dr. Steve Gaines

Steve Gaines is Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa  arbara. He is a marine ecologist who seeks conservation solutions by linking innovations in ocean science to more effective marine policy and management. His science explores the design of marine reserve networks, climate change impacts on ocean ecosystems, sustainable fisheries management using market based reforms, and the role of aquaculture in meeting the future demand for food. In each of these science endeavors, he has been a strong promotor of more effective communication of ocean science to enhance its impact. Steve holds a PhD from Oregon State University. He has been awarded a Pew Fellowship, the inaugural Marc Hirshman Award for excellence in student mentoring, a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science, and the Peter Benchley Prize for Ocean Science.


  • Dr. Jesse Trushenski

Jesse Trushenski supervises the Eagle Fish Health Laboratory, helping to provide comprehensive fish health services to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and its partners.  Beyond her administrative responsibilities, her fish health interests include  he interactions between the fish’s internal and external environments, aquatic animal drug development, and innovation in pathogen detection and disease management.  Prior to joining the Eagle Fish Health Laboratory in October 2015, Jesse was an Associate Professor with the Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences at Southern Illinois University.  In this position, she established her research team as one of the leading fish nutrition groups in the country.  She holds a B.S. degree from Western Washington University and a Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University.  Whether it’s fish nutrition, physiology, or health, Jesse has always been driven by the practical applications of science, going from data to information and information to action.  Jesse is currently the President-Elect of the American Fisheries Society and will begin her presidency in 2018.


  • Dr. Dean Wendt

Dean Wendt is a Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His research and teaching focuses on marine ecology and conservation. One of his longest standing research projects is working with the local fishing community to collect data to better understand the status of our nearshore fish populations.  He served for two years on the Master Plan Science Advisory Team as part of California’s Marine Life Protection Act and currently serves on the Governing Boards of the Central and Northern Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), who collectively monitor ocean conditions along California’s entire coastline.  He is on the Board of Directors of the Morro Bay Community Quota Fund, a non-profit established to hold catch shares under the west coast groundfish catch share program. Dean earned his B.S. in Biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (1993) and his Ph.D. at Harvard University (1999).  He conducted postdoctoral research at the Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and held an assistant professorship at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before arriving at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2002.  He is also Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Cal Poly.

Schedule-at-a-Glance      Download Program HERE                                           

Wednesday February 28, 2018

  • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm         Registration
  • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm         Trade Show/Vendor Set Up
  • 11:00 am – 5:00 pm        Poster Set Up
  • 8:30 am – 5:30 pm          Continuing Education 1-3
  • 8:30 am – 12:30 pm        Continuing Education 4
  • 8:30 am – 5:00 pm          Field Tour 1 (Full-Day)
  • 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm          Field Tour 2 (Half-Day)
  • 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm          Poster Social and Trade show
  • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm         Student Social

Thursday March 1, 2018

  • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm          Registration
  • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm          Trade Show/Vendor Set-Up
  • 9:00 am – 11:50 am          Plenary Session
  • 11:50 am – 1:00 pm          Lunch: On Your Own
  • 11:50 am – 1:05 pm          Cal-Neva Chapter Business Lunch
  • 1:20 pm – 3:00 pm           Symposia and Technical Sessions
  • 3:00 pm – 3:20 pm           Break
  • 3:20 pm – 5:00 pm           Symposia and Technical Sessions
  • 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm         Grand Social/Banquet

Friday March 2, 2018

  • 6:45 am – 8:00 am             Spawning Run
  • 8:00 am – 12:00 pm          Registration
  • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm            Trade Show/Vendor Take-Down
  • 8:20 am – 10:00 am           Symposia and Technical Sessions
  • 10:00 am – 10:20 am         Break
  • 10:20 am – 12:00 pm         Symposia and Technical Sessions
  • 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm            Lunch: On Your Own
  • 12:00 pm – 1:05 pm           Student Mentor Lunch
  • 1:20 pm – 3:00 pm             Symposia and Technical Sessions
  • 3:00 pm – 3:20 pm             Break
  • 3:20 pm – 5:00 pm             Symposia and Technical Sessions
  • 5:00 pm                                 Adjourn

Student Specific Information

Travel funds – To be considered for individual travel funding or additional student subunit funding for the meeting please see the travel grant application. You’ll want to notify your student subunit of attendance to be included in the Chapter proposal for support. ** Students interested in volunteering at the meeting, please see further information on the student page.

Best Student Poster & Oral Presentation Contest – When submitting your abstract we encourage you to be included in the student presentation contest.  Students who wish to participate in the contest for oral presentations must present specifically in the student symposium. There will be 3 awards for posters and oral  presentations and professional feedback will be provided.

Professional Mentor Lunch – Sign up for the mentor lunch when registering for the meeting. The cost is free to students and you will get the opportunity to talk with numerous professionals working in fisheries-related fields (academic, state & federal agencies, private consulting, etc.). Explore more about what you might want to do after graduating and ask questions!

Fun Meeting Activities

Spawning Run ($20, register on Eventbrite site)

The course this year will be beautiful and is just a short walk from the hotel. The course starts with a big hill climb, then it mellows out. It is almost exactly a 5 K (3.1 miles, see link).
  1. Find the course at 
  2. Download the Strava Running app to stay on course. **There will be NO signs marking the route since this is not an official city event, and more an informal CalNeva AFS running club.
  3. Find the Spanwing Run Coordinator’s profile (Dave Frxl) and view his course entitled “Laguna Lake Spawn Run 2018.”
  4. Click “Use Route” and you can track the route on your phone as you run.
    • Alternately, spawners can email Dave Fryxell ( for additional maps including a .gpx file which can be opened with google earth, and photos of the route, but these probably shouldn’t be used for navigation.

The clock will start at exactly the same time for everyone. Dave Fryxell will be at finish line giving people numbers in the order they finish.

The first male finisher and the first female finisher will each get a gift card to REI.


Field Trips

  • Trip 1 ($5): Cal Poly Center for Coastal Marine Sciences – Avila Beach Pier Facility (February 28th, 2018)

California Polytechnic State University’s (Cal Poly) Center for Coastal Marine Sciences (CCMS) was established to foster Cal Poly’s ‘learn by doing’ educational philosophy and address pressing needs in marine resources and ocean health. Cal Poly’s CCMS pier facility in Avila Beach provides over 40,000 sq. ft. of space offshore that supports laboratory and field-based research, field-testing of sensors and platforms, educational activities, and industry needs through fee-for-service arrangements. This field trip will visit Cal Poly’s CCMS pier for a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility and ongoing projects.

This is a half day tour starting at 1:00 pm and can accommodate 30 people. Two tours could be given for a total of 60 participants.

The Cal Poly CCMS pier tour will begin at the base of the pier in Avila Beach.  Directions to the Cal Poly pier are available online:

Please park along the ocean side of the road (it’s actually easiest to drive past the pier entrance, turn around, and then come back toward the pier to park on the ocean side of the road).  Participants must have close-toed shoes (as part of the pier is open metal grating), and should bring layer clothing suitable for windy or cold weather.  Additional information about Cal Poly’s CCMS and pier can be found on the following webpage:

 For more information contact Tom Moylan: Pier Facilities Operations Manager
805-756-6058 (Pier)
805-756-0225 (Campus)

  • Trip 2 ($15): Ocean to Headwaters: An Anadromous Journey Up San Luis Obispo Creek (February 28th, 2018)

This field tour will take an anadromous journey up San Luis Obispo Creek form the confluence with the Pacific Ocean to the headwaters on the Cuesta Grade.  Multiple stops and discussions with various professionals along the way will include the estuary; past, present, and future restoration sites; DIDSON monitoring station for adult Steelhead trout; Urban stream issues and hurdles; a walk along Mission Plaza in downtown SLO; Steelhead spawning and rearing habitats; flow monitoring and augmentation; and much more.

This is a full day tour. Meet in front of the Embassy Suites at 8:30 am. Participants should bring lunch, water, sturdy shoes to walk off trail (may be wet and muddy in some locations), and sun protection (hat, sunscreen, etc.).  Registration is limited to 30 participants and vans will be provided for transportation.

Presented by:

Don Baldwin, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Coastal Monitoring Program

Meredith Hardy, California Conservation Corps, Fish Habitat Specialist

Freddy Otte, City of San Luis Obispo, Biologist (contact Freddy by email for information,



The Cal Neva Chapter of the American Fisheries Society is pleased to have reserved the following accommodations and arrangements (Embassy Suites & Quality Suites) for the 2018 Annual Meeting:

1.) Embassy Suites, San Luis Obispo, 333 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405. (805-549-0800 or 805-547-6407)

The rate of $ 123.00 per night (plus prevailing city and local lodging taxes, currently 13.195%) is available until February 6, 2018.

Reservations for our room blocks can be made using the following link:

  • Group Name “Cal-Neva Chapter American Fisheries Society”
    • Two-room suites with a separate bedroom and living space refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker
    • Cooked to order breakfast each morning
    • Two-hour hosted evening reception presented nightly
    • Free self-serve parking
    • Complimentary Airport shuttle to and from the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport and the Amtrak Train Station from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm.

2.) Quality Suites -Downtown San Luis Obispo, 1631 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. (805-541-5001 or 805- 546-9475)

The rate is $105 per night is available until February 16, 2018.

  • Group Name “CalNeva American Fisheries Society”
    • Includes breakfast each morning
    • Evening happy hour
    • Free internet
    • Free parking and airport shuttle

Alternatively, there are other hotels in the area, but the CalNeva Chapter does not have any reservation accommodations outside of Embassy Suites & Quality Suites.

Additional Registration Information

All attendees and guests must register. Please note that the Cal-Neva Chapter does not waive registration fees for symposium, oral and poster presenters.

Registration for the full event includes one banquet ticket and two beverage tickets.

Alternate Registration Payment Options

Registrations will be accepted through Eventbrite only. Alternate registration payment options are now available for those who will be paying by check or restricted credit cards. In addition, we will also accept payment at the door. Please select your payment options in Eventbrite.

  • Checks: Write your Eventbrite Order Number on the check, or enclose a copy of your Eventbrite receipt, and send to:Cal-Neva Chapter AFS, P.O. Box 72653, Davis, CA 92653.

Mailed payments must be postmarked on or before February 28, 2017. Checks will also be accepted at the door.

  • Paying off-line by credit card available
  • Purchase order and invoiced registrations is available

Please contact James Hobbs: for other payment options.

Registration Cancellation Policy

Refunds will be issued based on the timing of the cancellation. Registration fees will be refunded in full if cancelled prior to the Early Registration deadline (January 26, 2018). The refund rate will be 50% after the Early Registration deadline through Monday, February 26, 2018. Thereafter, no refunds will be permitted.


A Note to Potential Donors

Please contact our Fundraising Coordinator Maddelyn Harden directly at

Thank-you to our current sponsors for their continued support!


Floy Tag & Manufacturing Inc. – Pupfish Level Sponsor



For more information please contact the following individuals: