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Pacific Northwest Chapter

Pacific Northwest Chapter

Upcoming Chapter Events

President: Shannon Claeson

Shannon Claeson is a freshwater ecologist with the Forest Service PNW Research Station in Wenatchee, WA. She has explored and worked in river, stream, lake, and wetland ecosystems for over 25 years. She began her career in ecology researching and monitoring amphibian populations in remote backcountry areas of western National Parks. Shannon received a M.Sc. from Oregon State University in Fisheries Science where she shifted her interest to aquatic macroinvertebrates and ecosystem subsidies. As a FS employee, her research focuses on riparian-aquatic interactions, community ecology, and disturbance ecology, whether naturally occurring or man-made. Some examples of Shannon’s current projects include (1) quantifying the biotic effects of river and floodplain restoration, and (2) the ecology and primary succession of streams created after the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.

Shannon has been a member of SFS since 2004 when she attended her first conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. She attended a few annual meetings of Northwest Biological Assessment Workgroup and became more involved when that group became the SFS PNW chapter in 2017. As President, Shannon hopes to increase awareness of the chapter, student and early career participation, and collaboration among regional natural resource entities. 

Shannon appreciates the landscape diversity, elevational gradient, and beauty of the PNW. She enjoys being active outside on dirt, water, and snow; but she is also happy to sit on the couch and read when the weather is bad. 

Shannon can be reached at

Secretary: David Wooster

David Wooster is a stream ecologist with Oregon State University. He is stationed in eastern Oregon at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center. He received an MS degree from Kansas State University where he worked on foraging behavior of small mammals. He switched to aquatic invertebrates when he worked on a PhD at the University of Kentucky – Lexington.  There his research focused on adaptive behavioral responses of aquatic invertebrates to different types of predators. After that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland where he worked on the influence of landscape patterns of resource patches on the colonization rate of those patches by aquatic invertebrates. Since then, he has been a faculty member with OSU for the last 22 years. His research at OSU focuses on the use of aquatic invertebrates to bio-assess stream and riparian restoration projects, the behavioral dynamics of invasive crayfish, and the impact of water management (particularly water withdrawals) on river ecosystems. He is currently collaborating with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to conduct bioassessments of their restoration projects in the Grande Ronde basin of eastern Oregon. 

David serves on the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board’s (OWEB) Region 6 technical review team. OWEB funds stream, riparian, and upland projects on private and public lands that are designed to improve habitat for fish and wildlife while the streams and land continue to be managed for human use. He first became a member of the Society for Freshwater Science in 1992 (when it was the North American Benthological Society) and has attended both the regional and national meetings off-and-on since then. He is excited to be the secretary of the SFS PNW chapter and looks forward to working with a great steering committee over the year. 

David can be reached at

Treasurer: Oliver Miler

Oliver Miler has been working since 2017 as a biometrician for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) in Olympia, WA. His main duties include (1) Chinook salmon fisheries modeling with FRAM (Fishery Regulation Assessment Model), (2) Puget Sound shellfish data analysis, stock assessment and fisheries model development (especially for geoduck, shrimp and Dungeness crab), (3) statistical analysis of environmental data related to natural resource management and (4) statistical support for the Northwest Treaty Tribes.

Oliver has a M.Sc. in fish ecology (2002) and a Ph.D. in lake limnology (2009) from the University of Konstanz, Germany. He worked from 2009 to 2010 as a postdoc at the School of Engineering of the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, conducting research in stream macrophyte biomechanics and plant-flow interactions. From 2010 to 2016, Oliver worked as a postdoc at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin, Germany, with focus on lake invertebrate community ecology and the development of lake shore assessment methods for the European Union Water Framework Directive (EU WFD). His current research interests include the (1) development and improvement of stock assessment models for Chinook salmon, Dungeness crab and geoduck, (2) the improvement of hydromorphological assessment methods for lake shores using benthic macroinvertebrates, and (3) the influence of multiple environmental stressors, including lake shore degradation and eutrophication, on the taxonomic and functional composition of littoral macroinvertebrate communities. 

Oliver can be reached at or

Past President: Zee A. Searles Mazzacano 

Zee has worked as an entomologist and invertebrate ecologist for 25 years, conducting research and conservation projects in aquatic and terrestrial systems, and holds a Ph.D. in Entomology and a B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota. They have been an academic researcher and educator (Tulane University, LA; Michigan State University, MI; Columbia College, MO), aquatic entomologist (Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation), and for the last six years the owner and principal scientist of an environmental consulting firm (CASM Environmental, OR). Zee feels deeply fortunate that work and play occur in, on, or under the water while wading, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving.

Zee has been a member of the Pacific Northwest Native Freshwater Mussel Workgroup since 2007 and chaired the workgroup from 2014 to 2017. They developed community science programs for monitoring odonates, and served as Project Coordinator for the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership (2012-2015) and as Editor in Chief for the Dragonfly Society of the Americas (2013-2019). Zee has served on technical advisory committees for the Washington and Oregon Departments of Fish and Wildlife, and developed the aquatic macroinvertebrate indicator portion of the USEPA Streamflow Duration Assessment Method (SDAM) for the Pacific Northwest (2009-2010). Zee currently works with regional natural resource agencies, nonprofit organizations, and tribal groups to conduct invertebrate-based stream bioassessment; perform freshwater mussel surveys and salvage operations; assess status and distribution of invertebrate species and provide recommendations for habitat management and conservation; provide capacity-building trainings; and design and manage community science projects.

Zee joined the Society for Freshwater Science in 2007 and has attended and presented at national and chapter meetings, and participated in meetings of the parent society’s new JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) committee. After our 2019 chapter meeting in OR, they worked with co-members Judy Li, Francine Mejia, and Rob Plotnikoff to form a chapter-level Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, which is working to increase opportunities and support for chapter members from under-represented groups. They are also on the 2020-2021 SFS PNW Planning Committee. Zee's vision for the chapter includes greater coordination with the parent society, increased collaboration and communication among regional scientists, more mentoring among established chapter members and students/early-career scientists, and actively fostering an inclusive and collaborative environment. 

Zee can be reached at 

Upcoming Events

PNW Chapter 2023 Annual Meeting

November 6-8, 2023
Hood River, Oregon, at the Hood River Hotel
In-person & virtual

You are invited to submit an abstract for an individual presentation or roundtable discussion during our 2023 meeting. This meeting will once again be an in-person and hybrid format. Presentations should inform our understanding and management of freshwater aquatic ecosystems including rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands in the Pacific Northwest. Topics may include but are not limited to bioassessment (macroinvertebrates, algae, diatoms, etc), urban waters, freshwater mussels, tribal freshwater science, fisheries, and climate change.

View the meeting agenda here

Past Events

Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter (October 19-21, 2022, Caldwell, Idaho/hybrid meeting)

Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter (October 26-28, 2021, held virtually)


Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter (November 18-19, 2020, held virtually)

Virtual meeting agenda

Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter (November 6-8, 2019 in Newport, Oregon)


Meeting Presentations

Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest Chapter (November 6 – 8, 2018 in Ketchum, Idaho)


Membership Goal

This chapter is a transition from the Northwest Biological Assessment Workgroup which was a collaborative effort between State, Federal, Tribal agency, academic, and private industry founded in 1990. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in freshwater biotic communities and their role in aquatic ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest (generally, but not limited to: British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Northern California).

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Pacific Northwest Chapter is to promote better understanding of the biotic communities in freshwater aquatic ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. The chapter encourages and facilitates the use of benthic macroinvertebrates and fish assemblages and other biota in the assessment of the condition of freshwater aquatic resources and other environmental and natural resource management decision-making. 

Pacific Northwest Chapter Social Media

If you have content to share on the chapter's social media channels, please send it via email to Ideas for content include chapter members, future members and current freshwater research!