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SFS Annual Meeting


S01: Communicating Science in an Ever Changing World

Organizer(s): Danielle Wynne,  Chris Mueller

Science in silence helps no one. How do we effectively communicate complicated and often esoteric information to the public? Scientists of all disciplines need to take advantage of new opportunities for engagement utilizing social media, streaming platforms, and video production in addition to traditional in-person programming. This Special Session will focus on ways that scientists and residents use their voices in telling their stories.

S02: Ecology and Taxonomy of Chironomidae (Diptera): A Memorial Session to Honor Leonard C. Ferrington, Jr.

Organizer(s): Will Bouchard,  Alyssa Anderson,  Barbara Hayford,  Corrie Nyquist

This Special Session will serve to honor and carry on an important part of Leonard Ferrington's legacy and inspire current and future Chironomidae researchers by highlighting a major area of his extensive professional career - aquatic science research focused on chironomid ecology and taxonomy and related topics. The late Leonard C. Ferrington, Jr. (1948-2021) was a dedicated and long-standing member of SFS and NABS who attended 46 consecutive meetings, hosted a meeting (1986), and served as NABS president (1989-1990). He also encouraged his students to engage in SFS/NABS, and many are still active members. Len was selected as an SFS Fellow in 2021, and he considered this to be one of his greatest honors. Len's research encompassed many areas of freshwater biology including biological monitoring and assessment, biodiversity and biotic surveys, fish diet analyses, gut fungi/chironomid interactions, phenology and life history studies, stream ecology and aquatic resource sustainability, systematics and taxonomy, and diversity and cold hardiness of winter-emerging Chironomidae. Given the diversity of Len's interests and expertise, this session could be open to nearly any topic. However, one common thread that ran through most of his research was the fly family, Chironomidae (Diptera). This family is found in nearly every aquatic habitat and is often one of the most speciose and abundant macroinvertebrate taxa encountered in aquatic studies. As a result, Len always championed research on Chironomidae.

S03: From Individuals to Ecosystems: A Size-Based Understanding of Freshwaters

Organizer(s): Taylor Woods,  Justin Pomeranz

Body size underpins processes across biological scales from individual metabolism, nutrient cycling, and growth, up to community production, food web structure, and reproductive output. Body size is a potentially responsive indicator of global change stressors like climate and land-use/land-cover changes, nutrients, overfishing, and invasive species. Importantly, body size is one of the only individual-level traits that is more readily available from freshwater biological datasets and provides a comparable unit of biological information across freshwater ecosystem types includng lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. We propose that more work is needed to leverage individual size data to infer effects of global change at broader biological, spatial, or temporal scales in freshwaters. This Special Session will bring together scientists working with body size information to 1) highlight ways in which individual body size data are used to understand environmental changes, 2) reveal opportunities for size-based indicators to aid freshwater conservation and management, and 3) identify important next steps towards and knowledge gaps in wholistic understanding of size-based response to global change across scales.

S04: Contaminant Ecology of Freshwaters

Organizer(s): Arial Shogren,  Austin Gray,  Jessica E. Brandt

Contaminants are agents of global change that operate at ecosystem scales and are a tell-tale signature of modern human activity. Though contaminants research has been primarily associated with the field of ecotoxicology since the 1970s, it also has strong roots in ecosystem ecology. The emerging sub-discipline of contaminant ecology aims to coordinate these areas of research that address the environmental influence of contaminants beyond their potential to cause toxicity. We propose that the scope of this discipline includes contaminant biogeochemistry, fate and transport, mediation of organismal fitness and ecosystem services, and contaminants as tools and tracers for elucidating ecological pathways and processes. This Special Session aims to build on the momentum generated by the JASM 2022 session and to continue developing the network of researchers working at the intersections of ecology, ecosystem science, and ecotoxicology. We invite abstracts highlighting new and ongoing research on these and related topics from scientists across career stages who are working in diverse systems and contamination contexts.

S05: Contaminant and Trace Element Biogeochemical Cycling in Aquatic Ecosystems

Organizer(s): Jacqueline Gerson,  David Walters,  Collin Eagles-Smith

While a core focus of aquatic biogeochemistry has been the study of nutrient cycling in freshwater systems, contaminants and trace elements have received much less attention. This Special Session will focus on measuring and modeling the transport, loading, and transformation of contaminants and trace elements in aquatic ecosystems. We also encourage submissions that focus on how landcover change, climate change, and other human impacts are changing the biogeochemical cycling of these contaminants and trace elements. Contaminants such as arsenic, mercury, microplastics, and PFAS are toxic at low concentrations and continue to cycle at elevated levels due to anthropogenic activities. Other trace elements such as selenium and iron are important to aquatic biota at low concentrations but can be harmful at higher levels. The fates of contaminants and trace elements are controlled by the chemical properties of the element, as well as the biological, geological, and chemical environment, which determine exposure and contamination risk.

S06: The Ecology of Aquatic Plants (Macroalgae Bryophytes, and Macrophytes) in Streams, Rivers, Wetlands, and Lakes

Organizer(s): James Wood

This Special Session focuses on expanding the knowledge base of aquatic plants in freshwater ecosystems and developing a more robust understanding of their ecological roles in fresh waters. Presentations that focus on general ecology, biogeography, systematics and identification, food web dynamics, biogeochemical cycling, management and other aspects of aquatic plants in any freshwater ecosystems are invited. Aquatic plants (macroalgae, bryophytes, and macrophytes) can be found in headwaters seeps, mid-order fast-flowing montane streams and slower moving piedmont and coastal rivers. They also grow in wetlands, along shorelines, and open water habitats of lakes and reservoirs. Aquatic plants are increasingly recognized for their structural and functional roles in both lotic and lentic systems. From providing habitat for periphyton and aquatic fauna, to sequestering dissolved nutrients and transferring resources to consumers, and influencing benthic sediment dynamics and channel morphology, aquatic plants are now understood to be active and influential parts of freshwater ecosystems, however, many aspects of their ecology and evolution remain unknown.

S07: Water Doesn't Always Flow Downhill! Dealing with Complex Hydrology and Water Management in Diverse Urban Contexts

Organizer(s): Liz Ortiz Munoz,  Andrew Blinn,  Krista Capps,  Rebecca Hale,  Kristina Hopkins,  John Kominoski

Given that hydrology is central to understanding ecological patterns and processes in aquatic ecosystems, novel approaches are needed to characterize hydrology and understand how hydrologic paths affect urban aquatic ecosystems. Human activity impacts the natural flow paths of water by diverting surface and subsurface flow through ditches, pipes, and canals and altering watershed boundaries. Most cities are developed on historic floodplains and in coastal areas, adding additional complexity to watershed delineation. How do natural and anthropogenic hydrologic connections within and across watersheds alter physical and biogeochemical properties in urban aquatic ecosystems? What are effective ways to understand the effects of land use and land cover in urban aquatic ecosystems with less watersheds and/or with groundwater inputs? What holistic measures of development and water management should be considered to fully understand urbanization impacts on hydrologic connectivity and biogeochemical processes? This session aims to answer these questions and discuss novel approaches to enhance understanding of urban hydrology and improve watershed-level modeling of ecosystem dynamics.

S08: Algal Taxonomic Data: Embracing New Protocols and Analyses

Organizer(s): Julianne Heinlein, Sylvia Lee, Sarah Spaulding, J. Sam Stribling, Sean Sullivan

The taxonomy of microorganisms including algae and diatoms can be particularly and uniquely problematic, yet taxononic data are the foundation of bioassessment and much basic and applied research. Difficulty in morphological species identification, evolving and varying taxon concepts, and nomenclatural changes can lead to significant inconsistencies in taxonomic datasets across analysts and through time. These taxonomic inconsistencies can mask or confound taxon/parameter relationships leading to questionable conclusions, a weakening or loss of species and community signal, and can even constrain the use of large-scale species datasets that do not pass traditional quality control metrics or which cannot be easily merged with other relevant data. The intent of this session is to introduce efforts including protocols developed to address these issues prior to and after data collection on project, regional, and national scales through oral presentations and subsequent discussions, to facilitate better analytical practices and foster communication and collaboration among analysts and researchers across the globe. The session will include work being done to increase precision and accuracy in soft algal and diatom data collection (e.g., image vouchers, certification, intercalibration and identity confirmation exercises), statistical and analytical methods to utilize existing data sets (e.g., statistical harmonization, genus-level metrics), as well as innovations in data collection such as DNA metabarcoding and AI/machine learning techniques.

S09: Challenges and Opportunities in eDNA

Organizer(s): Rebecca Hale,  Tanya Dapkey,  Katrina Lohan,  Elise Synder,  John Vile

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is an increasingly vital tool for freshwater ecologists to understand biodiversity, range shifts, and species management. eDNA monitoring has supplemented traditional sampling methods, enabling advances in scientific understanding of these ecosystems and the microbes to macrofauna therein. While this method offers diverse opportunities, significant challenges remain. This session will investigate the frontiers and limitations in eDNA research. The aim is to identify how researchers are leveraging this tool in unique ways and how challenges are overcome. How has eDNA enabled further understanding of community resilience and response to environmental changes? What other metrics can be correlated to eDNA data? What methodological and foundational advances are vital to optimizing eDNA research? What are the limits with genetic research? This session will highlight how freshwater scientists use this and other genetic methods to advance our understanding of aquatic ecosystems. In keeping with this year's theme of "Connecting to Enhance Freshwater Science" this session will bring together scientists from all areas of eDNA research. Any research utilizing genetic methods to analyze samples collected from aquatic ecosystems is welcome to participate in this session.

S10: Environmental DNA as a Tool for Understanding Connections

Organizer(s): Erik Pilgrim,  Courtney Larson

This Special Session will focus on how molecular genetic data is being applied to the complex problem of understanding biotic connectivity in aquatic habitats. Molecular genetic datasets from techniques such as DNA metabarcoding coupled with powerful statistical methods like indicator analysis are creating new opportunities for studying and understanding how the various aquatic biota respond to stress and how these responses affect other aquatic communities. As man-made stressors such as nutrients, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change continue to impact aquatic ecosystems, our ability to investigate and understand biological connections within and across various freshwater habitats is critical for mitigating the negative effects of these stressors. Biotic responses to these stressors and their potential cascading consequences through aquatic ecosystems are quite complex, and comprehending these requires information from the various taxonomic communities, from the microbial to the macrofaunal. Environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches have reached the stage of allowing a more holistic understanding of the different constituents within freshwater ecosystems. Presenters will discuss recent advances in how eDNA techniques and data sets can be paired with various analytic methods to move the field of molecular genetic research beyond single-species detection to community and watershed analyses vital to the future of biological monitoring. The goal is to continue to discuss these advances in the context of how their development and use will assist in improving conservation and restoration work to protect aquatic ecosystems. This discussion will engage speakers from diverse institutions, career stages, backgrounds, and perspectives.

S11: IUCN SSC Task Force on Global Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Sampling Protocols (GLOSAM)

Organizer(s): Dave Penrose, John Simaika, James Stribling

The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Task Force on Global Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Sampling Protocols (GLOSAM) was established in 2021. GLOSAM aims to support the application of bioassessment based on benthic freshwater invertebrates, and establish efficient bioassessment schemes through the harmonization and coordination of sampling protocols across the globe. While some regions, such as the European Union and the United States, have harmonized their protocols, most countries and regions have not. Many of these same regions and countries do not have nationally accepted protocols in place for the monitoring and ecological assessment. The IUCN SSC Task Force on Global Macroinvertebrate Sampling Protocols (GLOSAM) aims to: (1) Support the collection and analysis of freshwater benthic macroinvertebrate samples to monitor biodiversity and conduct bioassessment, and (2) Establish globally accepted, standardised biodiversity collection and data handling steps for both bioassessments and species inventories, and (3) Develop and promote guidelines to ensure the collection of ecologically-relevant data of known and acceptable quality, and support, promote, and facilitate regionally comparable bioassessment schemes (tools, assessment systems).

S12: Exploring Nitrogen Fixation along the Freshwater-Marine Continuum; A Joint ASLO-SFS Endeavor

Organizer(s): Michelle Catherine Kelly,  Erin K. Eberhard,  Megan E. Berberich,  Amy Marcarelli

This session is intended to be inclusive of all N2 fixation science. We invite abstracts across all scales of study from molecular ecology to global biogeochemistry and using any approaches from surveys to field/lab experiments to mathematical modeling. Nitrogen fixation (diazotrophy), the conversion of di-nitrogen (N2) gas to reactive nitrogen (N) by specialized microbes (diazotrophs), plays an essential role in Earth's N cycle. Molecular ecology continues to show the common presence of diazotrophs across all of Earth's biomes. Yet, N2 fixation rates and the functional roles of N2 fixation in population, community, and ecosystem ecology remain poorly studied, particularly in the aquatic ecosystems that connect terrestrial landscapes and the open ocean. The Aquatic Nitrogen Fixation Research Coordination Network was established in 2021 to open lines of communication among N2 fixation researchers at scales ranging from headwater streams and wetlands to the coastal oceans. We are interested in a range of N2 fixation related research and includes, but is not limited to, studies reporting N2 fixation rates, the abundance or activity of diazotrophs, and/or the biodiversity of diazotrophs across the freshwater-marine continuum. We also welcome contributions on the molecular mechanisms of N2 fixation, the stoichiometry of diazotrophs from the physiological to the ecosystem scale, and the interacting biotic and abiotic constraints of diazotrophs in aquatic ecosystems. Some talks will be live streamed to both ASLO and SFS session rooms, and we will host questions for speakers in both directions.

S13: Insights on Patterns and Drivers of Freshwater Systems Gained from Regional and National Monitoring Datasets

Organizer(s): Samantha Rumschlag,  Lara Jansen,  Darin Kopp,  Richard Mitchell,  Ryan Hill

The purpose of this session is to highlight new insights gained from unique applications of monitoring datasets that extend beyond their original intent, facilitate connections and collaborations among current and future users of these datasets, and generate new ideas that will advance scienists' understanding of freshwater systems. Large regional and national assessment programs around the world monitor the state of freshwaters. These programs use standardized sampling protocols to produce data that are unparalleled in spatial extent, temporal scope, and the diversity of measured physical, chemical, and biological parameters. A prominent example is the U.S. EPA's National Aquatic Resource Surveys that use a randomized sampling design to monitor water quality of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands, and coastal systems on a five-year cycle. Monitoring data are used by governments in assessment frameworks, but there is a wealth of additional knowledge concerning patterns and drivers of freshwater biodiversity and physiochemical conditions that can be gained from unique applications of these datasets. While most data and sampling protocols are publicly available, there are barriers for new users to use data without institutional guidance. Given the long temporal scales, broad spatial extents, standardized sampling protocols, and public availability, regional/national monitoring datasets are uniquely poised to advance the fields of freshwater community and ecosystem ecology. This session will aim to be a catalyst for these advancements. We encourage those working with large-extent (regional or national) monitoring data as well as diverse institutions, career stages, backgrounds within or outside of the US to participate.

S14: Connecting Freshwaters to Coastal Waters: A Continuum of Emerging Issues, Monitoring Applications, and Management

Organizer(s): Sujay Kaushal,  Shreeram Inamdar,  Alexander Reisinger,  Steven Hohman,  Virginia Vassalotti,  Patrick McGettigan,  Robert Chant,  Sydney Shelton,  Jenna Reimer,  Paul Mayer

In this Special Session, we encourage and invite diverse presentations and speakers to explore freshwater and coastal connections from degradation to restoration and management. Over half of the world's population lives near a coastal zone. These coastal zones are experiencing a wide variety of stressors such as land use change, nutrient pollution, salinization, and many others. Streams, rivers, wetlands, and lakes are important conduits of materials and energy from landscapes to coastal waters that govern transport and transformation processes affecting coastal water quality. In addition to inputs from watersheds to coastal zones, increasing sea level rise and saltwater intrusion transport salt and other contaminants landward from coastal zones. Anticipating inputs of contaminants and stressors from both directions along drainage networks poses a problem for many coastal ecosystems regionally and globally, which impact aquatic habitats, drinking water supplies, recreation, irrigation, and other ecosystem services. Thus, there is an emerging need to better understand changes in patterns and processes of water quality both from land to coastal waters and also from coastal waters towards land. From the perspective of degradation, presentations include a wide range of topics such as eutrophication, freshwater salinization, sea level rise, emerging contaminants, drinking water issues, flooding, harmful algal blooms, impacts on coastal communities, and others. From the perspective of management, presentations could focus on addressing impacts using a wide variety of approaches such as ecosystem restoration, adapative management, modeling risks, and other topics.

S15: Connecting the Disciplines of Disconnected, Non-Perennial Streams

Organizer(s): Michelle Busch,  Stephen Plont,  Sarah Flynn,  Kaci Zarek

The goal of this session is to showcase research that integrates hydrology, biogeochemistry, ecology, and sociology of non-perennial streams. This serves a two-fold purpose: first, to foster collaboration and consensus on proper methods and techniques in non-perennial stream research, and second, to enhance comprehension of how flow intermittency affects community structure, ecosystem function, and downstream freshwater resources. Non-perennial streams are ubiquitous freshwater ecosystems worldwide, accounting for >50% of total stream miles. Furthermore, the prevalence of non-perennial streams is projected to increase due to rising temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and human activities related to water use and extractions. In recent years, interdisciplinary interest in understanding how and why streams go dry has also increased. However, the effects of non-perenniality on physical, chemical, and biological processes within these streams remains a significant research challenge, particularly in predicting the downstream consequences of drying events on freshwater resources. One of the major hurdles hindering progress is a lack of consensus on the most appropriate methodology for studying non-perennial streams, which necessitate bridging terrestrial and aquatic approaches. In addition, understanding the repercussions of non-perenniality is imperative given its impact on water quality and farther-reaching societal implications. Addressing these challenges requires bridging the gap between disciplines, climactic zones, and cultures. This special session offers a platform for interdisciplinary discussions, facilitating connections and advancing our collective knowledge around non-perennial streams. We encourage presentations from researchers at all career-stages, representing diverse disciplines, spatial and temporal scales, and employing observational, experimental, and modeling approaches.

S16: Trash Talk: Ecology of Anthropogenic Materials in Freshwaters

Organizer(s): Rae McNeish,  Timothy Hoellein

Anthropogenic materials (e.g., anthropogenic litter, plastic, nanoparticles, pharmaceuticals) are ubiquitous pollutants across freshwater ecosystems, and a signature of global change. Understanding the sources, fates, and biological interactions of anthropogenic materials is critical to sustain ecosystem services and environmental health of valuable freshwater resources; however, the impact of these novel materials on the structure and function of ecosystems remains poorly defined. Moreover, consideration of the interactions of these materials with each other and other drivers of global change will be necessary to understand the future of freshwater ecosystems. Ecological approaches that explicitly consider fate, transport, and multiple interactions will generate results most useful for management and policy frameworks which support conservation. This session will focus on ecological research that spans different types of anthropogenic materials, aquatic ecosystems, habitats, scales of inquiry, and interactions. All participants are welcome to consider how current and future research can support aquatic ecosystems under global change.

S17: Quantifying Rare Invasive and Threatened/Endangered Aquatic Species: Different Goals, but the Same Analysis Problem

Organizer(s): Song Qian,  Christine Mayer

Both invasive and threatened/endangered aquatic species can be rare or difficult to capture in the wild. Either condition can lead to a critical challenge: the scarcity of reliable data. This scarcity hampers our ability to understand their behavior, including habitat preference and movement, as well as their population trends. Consequently, it impedes the development of effective management or conservation strategies. In aquatic species research, our data collection methods are inherently imperfect, leading to potential false negatives (i.e., failure to capture specimens in areas where they are actually present). Even with flawless detection methods, our sampling efforts can be futile due to the rarity of these species, resulting in zero captures in areas where the target species are sometimes absent. Additionally, the design of sampling events often lacks sound statistical foundations due to our limited knowledge of these species, further slowing progress in our understanding. Through this session, we aim to convene colleagues who share similar interests, with the goal of exchanging insights on effective study design, data analysis, modeling techniques, and the valuable lessons we have gleaned from our collective experiences. Our goal in organizing the session is to meet researchers of rare species, be they invasive or rare/endangered species, and exchange information on the best practices of studying these species that share the same difficulty of lack of reliable data.

S18: Freshwater Mussels: Connectivity and Conservation Concerns

Organizer(s): Stefanie Farrington,  Jillian Fedarick,  David Perkins

Freshwater mussels are a critical component of freshwater ecosystems; however, they are declining globally from a variety of anthropogenic causes, including habitat fragmentation, loss, and degradation. Freshwater mussels have been shown to respond uniquely to connectivity-focused restoration practices such as dam removal, so it is vital that they are duly considered before, during, and after management and conservation efforts are undertaken. Understanding the contributions of mussels to connectivity and the responses of both mussels and their host fishes to conservation initiatives may be critical to assessments. This session will highlight the importance of freshwater mussels and host fishes as essential pieces of highly-connected freshwater communities. Presentations will focus on the successes and challenges of assessing freshwater mussel habitat use and species distribution and evaluating mussel and host fish responses to restoration and conservation efforts, with a focus on how mussels provide insights into freshwater connectivity.

S19: Connecting to Foster Understanding and Conservation of Spring Ecosystems

Organizer(s): Marco Cantonati,  Douglas S. Glazier,  John Wehr

Springs are unique habitats consisting of multiple ecotones connecting groundwater and surface-water systems, aquatic and terrestrial realms, and the springhead with a spring-fed stream, pond, or marsh. They are extremely diverse geologically, chemically, and biologically. They also vary widely in terms of landscape connectivity, ranging from extremely isolated desert springs to mesic springs with downstream connections to extensive stream drainage systems. Connectivity of springs is critical for their conservation; it affects the genetic differentiation and endemicity of populations, the welfare of downstream species, and effects of invasion by non-native species into spring systems. Freshwater scientists focusing on springs are globally a small (<100) community and until recently worked largely in isolation. However, international networks are fostering collaboration, including the sharing of expertise, data, sites, and research opportunities. This Special Session focuses on the importance of fostering collaboration among scientists and other stakeholders in conserving freshwater springs, which are important economically, culturally, and scientifically. Topics will include the importance of connectivity among spring habitats and the people studying them, and the scientific value of springs as natural laboratories for studying the biological consequences of environmental change.

S20: Exploring the Interactions Between Biogeochemistry and Biota in the Hyporheic Zone

Organizer(s): Alba Argerich,  Debra Finn

This Special Session aims to bring together researchers exploring the hyporheic zone, especially, but not restricted to, the study of the interactions between organisms and ecosystem services.The hyporheic zone is a dynamic interface between surface water and groundwater, where physical, chemical, and biological processes interact. The hyporheic zone is influenced by the biota that inhabit it, including macroinvertebrates, meiofauna, microbes, and the roots and rhizomes of aquatic plants. The unique environmental conditions and the exchange of surface/subsurface materials interact with organisms to affect the functioning of the whole stream ecosystem. We invite contributions encompassing descriptive studies, experimental investigations, and modeling approaches that focus on the roles played by aquatic organisms on hyporheic ecology and ecosystem functioning. Examples of these roles include the influence of hyporheic organisms on whole ecosystem biodiversity, how aquatic vegetation shapes subsurface flow and redox conditions, and the effects of macroinvertebrates and microbes on nutrient cycling and ecosystem respiration. Collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches that bridge hydrology, ecology, and biogeochemistry are encouraged to participate. The goal of this session is to create a platform for collaboration among disciplines interested in the study of the hyporheic zone.

S21: Hyporheic and Alluvial River Floodplain Ecology

Organizer(s): Amanda DelVecchia,  Rachel Malison

This session focuses on bringing together researchers working on different components of river floodplain ecology and hyporheic ecology, to continue to build our understanding of alluvial river floodplains. Floodplains of gravel-bed rivers occur throughout the globe and are hotspots of biodiversity, maintained in part by their connectivity in longitudinal, lateral, and vertical dimensions. At the surface, processes of cut-and-fill alluviation result in a shifting mosaic of aquatic and terrestrial habitats for species from microbes to grizzly bears. Below the surface, alluvial aquifers are vast and interconnected, supporting a unique community of both obligate and opportunistic fauna. Work on hyporheic zones and processes has traditionally focused on streams where the scale of surface and groundwater exchange is measured at the scale of cm-m. However, in systems like the Nyack floodplain in Montana, these processes occur at the scale of m-km, where aquifer discharge interacts with surface waters. We invite presentations from any area of research on alluvial river floodplains, from the study of physical processes to organismal ecology and ecosystem processes. We also invite presentations on hyporheic ecology in smaller streams and rivers, to share knowledge across different scales of hyporheic research (cm – km). The session will feature a synthesis presentation on aquifer stoneflies as integrators of ecosystem processes, summarizing what we've learned over the past 50 years and emerging research questions. This will be followed by a series of presentations on current work in alluvial river floodplains and in hyporheic zones of smaller streams and rivers.

S22: Leveraging the Whole Ecosystem Approach to Studying Freshwater Ecosystems: Celebrating the Career of Bill McDowell

Organizer(s): Sujay Kaushal,  Adam Wymore

The whole ecosystem approach as originally articulated by Bormann and Likens (1967; see also Likens and Bormann 1974) has its origins in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the study of depositional inputs into forested watersheds. The whole ecosystem approach identifies three vectors of material transport that link terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem: the meteorologic, geologic, and biologic vectors. A holistic understanding of lotic ecosystems requires the characterization of these vectors, the magnitude of their influence, and how they respond to disturbance. These vectors also influence in-stream processes including nutrient uptake and transformation. In this session we invite abstracts that take a whole-ecosystem approach to studying freshwater ecosystems and that investigate how these vectors influence terrestrial-aquatic linkages and determine in-stream ecological and biogeochemical processes. We particularly invite abstracts that utilize new technologies such as high-frequency sensors and novel analytical methods that highlight contemporary approaches to the whole-ecosystem experimental design. This session is inspired by the career of William (Bill) H. McDowell Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire whose career has leveraged the whole-ecosystem approach to studying freshwater ecosystems around the world, including at the Luquillo and Hubbard Brook Long-Term Ecological Research sites, and at the Lamprey River Hydrological Observatory. We encourage presentations to incorporate the influence of Bill's scientific contributions.

S23: A Hands-On Learning Opportunity for Engaging in Policy

Organizer(s): Sandra Clinton

The SFS Science and Policy committee is proposing to hold a special session focused on how to become active in policy. As a scientific society we recognize the importance of our members being involved in policy at all levels so that the best available science is being integrated into decision making. Multiple barriers, such as poor understanding of government structure, lack of formal training in communication, and concerns over the politicization of some topics (e.g. climate change) prevent scientists from participating in policy. This session will address these issues using traditional presentations and hands-on activities. The session will be appropriate for society members at all stages of their career. The session will include an invited guest speaker to open the session and set the overall theme of why it is important for scientists to be involved in policy. The remainder of the session will include information targeted towards different career stages including careers in policy (graduate and undergraduate students), working with your state government (early career and faculty), best practices for communicating your science (all career stages) and how to engage in policy (all career stages).

S24: New Approaches and Methods for Understanding and Improving Urban Waterways: A Global Perspective

The Symposium on Urbanization and Stream Ecology was held in Brisbane in May 2023 (SUSE 6), right before the SFS meeting, bringing together a wide range of researchers, practitioners, regulators and educators around contributed sessions and workshops. This session will bring a global view of the state of the science in urban waterway research and management, with topics from SUSE6 and beyond, ranging from equitable distribution of waterways services, holistic assessment approaches, to novel urban network modeling systems.

S25: Advances in Watershed-scale Restoration Science and Monitoring

Organizer(s): Diana Oviedo Vargas, John K. Jackson, Melinda D. Daniels, Matt Ehrhart

This Special Session invites freshwater scientists, managers and practitioners to share their watershed-scale restoration stories. We seek research focused on (but not limited to) understanding scalability and effectiveness of restoration projects, developing appropriate restoration endpoints, contrasting modeled versus true outcomes, describing the role of stakeholders and community members, and examining external factors affecting restoration outcomes. The degradation of stream ecosystem health is pervasive across the globe. Over the last several decades, the interest in reversing the negative effects of human activities on stream ecosystems has grown importantly, leading to an accelerated expansion of restoration and mitigation efforts. Yet, research has demonstrated that many stream restoration approaches, as commonly practiced and studied in isolated reaches of stream channels or corridors, are not producing measurable ecological uplift. The science of stream restoration is relatively young, and many questions remain regarding the watershed-scale effectiveness of the different approaches to restoration and the most appropriate ways to quantify meaningful improvements in a stream's ecology. In addition to issues related to pollution-reduction practices being implemented, one factor contributing to these failures is spatial - most studies focus on a single restoration project in a watershed with many stressors. We believe holistic, watershed-scale approaches with clear goals and objectives that are linked to measurable performance standards are required.

S26: Transport and bioaccumulation of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems

Organizer(s): Lisa Emili, Jon Sweetman

Microplastic pollution is becoming an increasing concern globally, and microplastics (particles <5 mm) are increasingly being reported to occur in freshwater environments. Despite this recognition of their prevalence, there is still limited knowledge of their environmental fate along with the sources, sinks and fluxes of microplastics to freshwater environments. As plastics accumulate, fragment and interact with organisms in the environment, there is increasing concern of detrimental impacts to ecosystem health. Toxic chemicals within and adsorbed to microplastics have the potential to bio-magnify in food webs. Improving our understanding of the spatio-temporal variation of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems, along with their interactions on diverse ecosystem components and ecological functioning is needed to determine the level of hazard these pollutants pose to aquatic organisms and more broadly, for more effective management of these contaminants. This session aims to bring together participants interested in understanding the fate, transport and interactions of microplastics in freshwater ecosystems with a goal of increasing dialogue among researchers. We invite submissions from scientists who work within a variety of freshwater habitats and scales of inquiry examining the impacts of microplastics to freshwater ecosystems.