What is SFS?
The Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) is an international scientific organization whose purpose is to promote further understanding of freshwater ecosystems (rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries) and ecosystems at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial habitats (wetlands, bogs, fens, riparian forests, and grasslands). The society fosters the exchange of scientific information among the membership, and with other professional societies, resource managers, policymakers, educators, and the public. Society members study genetics to community structure of freshwater organisms, freshwater ecosystem function, physical processes that affect freshwaters, and linkages between freshwater ecosystems and surrounding landscapes. Applied aspects of their science include habitat and water quality assessment, conservation, fisheries and invasive species management, integrated water resource management, and restoration.
Today SFS enjoys its status as a premier international organization of aquatic scientists interested in a wide range of various scientific endeavors including environmental impact assessments; ecology and taxonomy of microbes, algae, invertebrates, and fish; carbon and nutrient dynamics; watershed dynamics; hydrology and geomorphology; conservation and restoration. SFS encourages interdisciplinary exchange through its meetings and journal publications. SFS membership is approaching 1800 scientists, a large percentage of which are students. Although the majority of members hail from North America, SFS membership is comprised of individuals from around the globe. The membership also crosses many employment sectors: academia, private consulting, and federal, state, provincial, and municipal governments. SFS commitments to interdisciplinary, international, and inter-institutional exchange and mentorship of young scientists have positioned SFS as a leader in integrative aquatic science.
History of the Society
The Society was founded as the Midwest Benthological Society by 13 charter members at Havana, Illinois, in the spring of 1953. The first annual meetings attracted the Midwest’s best benthic scientists, which led to rapid increases in membership and a diversification within the society. Later renamed the North American Benthological Society, and most recently the Society for Freshwater Science, the society has expanded from our early and ongoing specialization in stream insect ecology to include a range of disciplinary interests from genes to landscapes. SFS has also expanded from its core focus on lotic freshwater ecosystems to benthic habitats in wetlands, estuaries, and oceans, and to the riparian and shorelands.