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2023 Presidential Elections - Voting Opens April 1

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Voting for the 2023 President-Elect (who will serve as President in 2024 and Past-President in 2025) will open April 1 and run through April 30. Voting will be done on the membership site. If your membership isn't up to date, now is the perfect time to renew! Only members are eligible to vote. 

Candidates are:

Dave Arscott 

 I am a stream ecologist and currently serve as executive director of Stroud Water Research Center, a nonprofit that advances knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through   global research, education, and watershed restoration. My freshwater research has focused on primary production, distribution and diversity of macroinvertebrates, biogeochemistry,   ecohydrology, land-water interactions, and riverine landscape dynamics. 

 I attended Central Michigan University for my Bachelor of Science, where my interest in freshwater research blossomed after an aquatic insect ecology course and attending summer courses   at CMU’s biostation on Beaver Island. After graduation, I interned with the U.S. Forest Service, Fisheries and Wildlife Division in the Ketchikan Rangers District (Alaska). The internship   involved fish habitat surveys in old growth forest of the Tongass National Forest, an experience that excited me to learn more about freshwater ecosystems.   

 For my master’s in water resources management at the University of New Hampshire, guided by Dr. Breck Bowden, my research focused on aquatic primary production in the Kuparuk River, Alaska, a project embedded in the Long-Term Ecological Research Program at Toolik Lake Field Station. It was in synthesizing and presenting that work at the 1996 annual meeting of the North American Benthological Society (Kalispell, MT), where I became a committed and now lifelong member of this society. 

I next pursued a doctorate at the Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, under the tutelage of Drs. James V. Ward and Klement Tockner. My dissertation focused on quantifying habitat heterogeneity and aquatic invertebrates along the Tagliamento River in northeast Italy. This was yet another large collaborative research effort involving many students, researchers, and mentors. It is through these early career experiences that I came to understand how important collaboration is to the success of most research endeavors. I am grateful to my mentors and peers for their collective guidance, wisdom, and openness in sharing ideas and experiences.

My postgraduate career has included academic, research, and administrative roles at the University of Minnesota, Crookston Campus; the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Christchurch, New Zealand; and most recently, the Stroud Center. 

For nearly three decades, I have served our society, helping to promote understanding of freshwater ecosystems by publishing research and reviewing manuscripts for our journal, serving our journal as an associate editor, participating in regional chapter activities, organizing special sessions at our meetings, serving on and chairing the Endowment Committee, and currently volunteering as the chair for the 2024 Annual Meeting Committee. I am grateful for our society and its members and am excited, humbled, and honored to be considered to serve our society in this capacity.

1. What do you think are the current challenges facing the Society for Freshwater Science?
Current challenges facing SFS include (1) continuing to adapt to procedural and behavioral shifts in a pandemic/post-pandemic world, (2) building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society, and (3) attracting our society’s most compelling research findings for publication in the society’s journal. 

The coronavirus pandemic fueled our society’s offering of online/virtual programming for our annual conferences and other meetings. Now, more people from around the world can interact in our functions thanks to lower costs and effort to participate. While the demand for such programming continues, many competing organizations have pivoted in a similar manner. Virtual attendance, at least for the foreseeable future, is an expected option and therefore one that requires excellence in the logistics and delivery platform to meet expectations.

SFS members and leadership have embraced and developed diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice initiatives that position the society as a leader among science societies (e.g., JEDI Task Force since June 2000). As SFS continues to implement recommendations from the JEDI Task Force, we need our society members to take note, participate, and permanently embed DEI principles and culture in our society. Constantly improving our culture, inclusivity, and equity will strengthen our society by attracting new members, increasing our intellectual diversity and thus scientific understanding, and gain the public’s trust in our scientific solutions/recommendations for restoration, policy, management, and protection of freshwater resources. 

Last, we must collectively embrace, support, and elevate our journal. There are a growing number of competing journals, and the economic models sustaining traditional journal management continue to shift. The leaders of our journal need your support and encouragement through the sharing of ideas that are pivotal in navigating future changes to its management. Submission of our most robust work to our journal is more important the ever before. 

2. What do you think are the emerging challenges facing the Society for Freshwater Science (and other scientific societies)?
I believe that JEDI-related needs and issues will continue to emerge and challenge SFS and all environmental science societies. We must be a more diverse and inclusive society. Collectively, our science-based outputs and recommendations will need to address the inequities and injustices of environmental pollution and the degradation of freshwater systems, among other issues. Engaging and helping underrepresented and under-resourced communities will require not just our expertise but also cultural understanding and sensitivity. 

Requisite to engaging, improving, and leading JEDI-related work is our society’s ability to communicate effectively, especially to lay audiences and prospective members. We can make progress here by continuing to embrace and enhance collaborations with other societies and the Consortium of Aquatic Science Societies. Nevertheless, to stay relevant, attract new members, and help solve environmental challenges, we will need to continue to invest in and advance our ability to share our science and its collective impact to policymakers, students, freshwater practitioners, and the public at large. 

3. What are the emerging challenges for science in general, and the aquatic sciences in particular?
In my view, there are several “grand challenges” facing Earth and humanity that require our expertise: climate change, rapidly changing landscapes and human densities, and emerging contaminants. All of these challenges are multidimensional and threaten or degrade biodiversity, ecosystem function, and human health and safety. Further, inter- or transdisciplinary teams are required to address these problems. Scientists need to continue to do what we do best — develop knowledge and understanding of the problems and potential solutions — but we also need to collaborate with nonscientists to build and implement robust solutions and strategies that will translate science into policy, practice, and/or corrective actions. 

Wilfred Wollheim

 I’ve been a member of the Society of Freshwater Science since 1995.  At the time I was a research scientist at the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory, working with Bruce   Peterson on a stream nitrogen cycling project up on the north slope of Alaska, USA.  That Freshwater Science meeting was the first year I ever went to a major society meeting, and the first   time I ever gave a presentation to a large audience, with people from all over the world.  I was so nervous, I’m pretty sure (in fact I’m certain) I got ill before my talk!  But I think it went ok,   thanks to the support of all the welcoming scientists there, as well as my peers.  I am forever grateful for the support I receive from other attendees at these meetings, early on especially, but   also to this day, which is why I consider SFS my “home” society.  In addition to attending SFS most years and judging many a poster, I served on the Endowment Committee between 2015   and 2019 and was its chair 2017-2018.  Work on this committee was extremely rewarding, as one really gets a sense of the excellent and varied research that student members in our society   conduct.  I am honored to be nominated for president of SFS and potentially be able to give back to the society that has also given me so much. 

  I did not start out in the field of freshwater science.  As an undergraduate at Cornell University, I was a Natural Resources major focusing on wildlife.  After graduating I worked at Hubbard Br.   Experimental Forest in NH, USA for a forest ecosystem ecologist.  After that, I was fortunate to find work at the Institute of Ecosystem Ecology in Millbrook NY, USA, working for Dr. Dave   Strayer on a hyporheic invertebrate project.  That was my first foray into water research.  

 I then went on to get my Master’s Degree from the University of Wyoming studying aquatic invertebrates in saline wetlands of the high plains around Laramie, WY.  Next, I started a research assistant job working with Bruce Peterson at MBL on stream nitrogen cycling at the Arctic Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, followed by the Lotic Intersite Nitrogen eXperiment.  In 1999, I started a PhD program at the University of New Hampshire, where I did my research mainly on nutrient dynamics in the suburban watersheds of the Plum Island Ecosystem LTER, north of Boston, MA, USA.  There I learned how to do river network scale modeling of aquatic ecosystem function, getting my PhD in 2005.  

I was fortunate enough to get a tenure track position in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment at UNH in 2010 and have been there ever since.  My research broadly emphasizes the biogeochemical function of river networks using both field measurements and models, considering the role of all the potential types of freshwater environments (including lakes, beaver ponds, reservoirs, fluvial wetlands), in regulating downstream fluxes of carbon, nitrogen, sediments, and pollutants, most recently emphasizing microplastics. 

1. What do you think are the current challenges facing the Society for Freshwater Science?
I think one of the biggest current challenges for SFS is for us to figure out how to reduce the carbon footprint of our meetings, while at the same time encouraging international attendance.  The two challenges are coupled because one of our societies goals is to encourage interactions, collaborations, and learning from one another, which requires broad, global participation.  I will be attending SFS Brisbane and am really looking forward to it.  But I did hesitate at first because of the long flight.  I decided to go because our colleagues from Australia (and Asia and Africa and Europe and South America) have long had far to travel to get to meetings in North America.  I’ve also never been to Australia before, so what an opportunity!  I am purchasing carbon offsets, which I can only hope will be an actual offset.  I appreciate that SFS included carbon offsets as part of the registration raffle.  This is not something we will likely be able to afford for everyone, all the time, but we should make it easy for everyone to be able to readily do so and continue to pay for them for those who can’t afford it.  We should also ensure that offset programs truly are an offset.  Other possible solutions for reducing our carbon footprint might be to host more effective virtual meetings, perhaps using virtual reality software, or hosting synchronous local meetings periodically.  SFS should do its part to reduce our CO2 footprint while also remaining a robust society. 

2. What do you think are the emerging challenges facing the Society for Freshwater Science (and other scientific societies)? 
We have made many strides in enhancing diversity of our membership (e.g. Instars, JEDI Task Force), but there is always more to do.  A diverse membership will ensure that we are considering the diversity of global freshwaters in our research, whether on different continents, biomes, or land use intensity and the ways in which different human communities interact with them.  This is critical for us to be able to understand how global freshwaters are being affected in a changing a world. Making sure all our members are able to attend meetings is critical in order to share and publicize their findings but is becoming more challenging in our current time of high inflation where the cost of everything is going up.  SFS should continue to ensure people of all backgrounds, and the waters they study or represent, are able to fully participate in society activities. 

3. What are the emerging challenges for science in general, and the aquatic sciences in particular? 
An ongoing yet continually evolving challenge is a need for scientists to combat misinformation related to the use of science in policy and decision making.  We are in the midst of a global water crisis brought on by human choices at multiple spatial scales interacting with climate change.  Scientific societies like SFS are positioned to elevate discussions of how to prevent or solve problems and for identifying ways to combat misinformation in social media.  The question is whether scientists in different field, including our own, are doing enough.  This may, for example, require more participation in social media of different types and be ready to engage with users who may be skewing the facts.  I was recently involved in a dam removal campaign in Durham NH, USA, where there was heated debate leading up to a town vote about whether to remove or repair a dam the town owns.  Dam removals are ultimately a question of values, how each individual weighs the costs and benefits, and how many people vote based on these weights.  In our local social media, some individuals were skewing the facts that would potentially mislead people into different weightings.  I was involved in online discussions on a daily basis to provide a more complete understanding of the science aspects of the decision.  I never did convince some users who were looking to support their position in any way possible, but many other people paying attention seemed to get it.  I see other scientists doing this sort of work on twitter and other places.  Better systems can be put in place to increase our effectiveness in these decisions. SFS should be part of the solution.