by Madeline Genco, graduate student researcher in entomology, Clemson University
This year’s Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) Annual Meeting took place 4–9 June 2017 in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Raleigh Convention Center.
The SFS Annual Meeting is a major meeting of scientific professionals and a great review of the current work being done. This conference includes events such as poster sessions, formal research presentations, lectures, luncheons, and mixers. It is a place to meet other scientists from related fields of study such as ecology, entomology, and biology. This year’s theme was, “Designing Our Freshwater Future”. The primary discussion at the conference was focused on sustainable water supply, and what we as scientists can do to help prevent depletion and pollution of freshwaters.
At this event, I presented a poster on our project, titled Learning to See, Seeing to Learn. Our poster aligned well with the theme of the meeting. If more citizen scientists become involved with water quality monitoring, and thus are able to alert professionals when there is a pollution problem, it will help prevent further pollution of our water in the future and aid in the fight for sustainable water.
People were very excited about our project. They really like that it is going to be open resource. I had several people tell me that they had already visited our website, liked what they saw, and are interested to see how it grows. I think that this project is going to help “smooth the learning curve” for a lot of citizen scientists and people new to macroinvertebrate identification.
People liked the gigapixel images, especially with the characters pinned on them. They are also excited to see the glossary and are eager to use it when it is fully developed. I had several people ask if it would be possible to compare two different taxa on the same page. I told them that currently we cannot, but that we are still making changes to the website, so it may be possible in the future. People we excited about how many different layers of information were simplified and packed into one tool.
We won the award for Best Poster Presentation in Applied Research. I will be given free registration for next year’s SFS meeting in Michigan. And, if we decide to publish a paper based on our poster in Freshwater Science, page charges will be waived.
Overall this was a great meeting. It was a great learning and networking opportunity for me, and I enjoyed spreading the enthusiasm about our project. I’m looking forward to next year’s meeting.
An interdisciplinary team