Failing Successfully: How Unexpected Results Improve Fisheries Science

“Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” If this quote doesn’t sum up fisheries science, I don’t know what does. Traditionally the scientific method tells us to test our hypothesis and communicate the results regardless of the outcome. This can be easier said than done and often overlooked when a project doesn’t go as planned. Success in science is often expressed as publishable results although most projects don’t get that far. This symposium will provide examples from fish scientists demonstrating how unintended outcomes, that were originally perceived as failures, ultimately turned out to be pathways to progress, learning, and understanding. This interactive symposium will encourage audience participation in the forms of questions, feedback and suggestions for future work. Shifting the idea of what makes science “successful” or “presentable” will help grow our field and encourage fisheries students and fisheries scientists to fail successfully.

Supported by:

  • Fisheries Information and Technology Section


Great Lakes Connecting Waters: Research, Monitoring, and Progress

This symposium highlights research and management activities in Great Lakes connecting waters. Presentations will provide an update on the status of aquatic and riparian ecology and management or highlight any emerging concerns within each connecting system. Inter-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary approaches should be emphasized in research and management updates.

Supported by:

  • USGS Great Lakes Science Center
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Essex Region Conservation Authority


  • Edward Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center, [email protected]
  • Robin DeBruyne, USGS Great Lakes Science Center
  • Jaqueline Serran, Detroit River Canadian Cleanup
  • Katie Stammler, Essex Region Conservation Authority
  • Ashley Moerke, Lake Superior State University
  • Justin Chiotti, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Dimitry Gorsky, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Terry Heatlie, NOAA Fisheries
  • Susan Doka, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Growing Fisheries Research and Management through Angler Engagement

Anglers play an important role in providing scientists and managers with valuable data about the state of our fisheries. As new forms of electronic reporting come online, providing high resolution data that could barely have been imagined just a few decades ago, anglers are becoming ever more important to fisheries research. This symposium will build off the success of similar symposia in 2021 and 2022, highlighting a diversity of projects that have been successful at engaging anglers, including revisiting presentations from the initial symposium where further work with anglers has taken place. An important outcome of this symposium will be a better understanding of the best practices that are necessary to achieve long-term angler engagement. Consistent with our theme of engaging anglers, we are also proposing to involve anglers in this symposium, both with research presentations and through an online engagement via Facebook Live.

Supported by:

  • Angler’s Atlas and MyCatch
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science


  • Sean Simmons, Angler’s Atlas, [email protected]
  • Julia Byrd, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
  • Susanna Musick, VA Institute of Marine Science
  • Clayton James, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Habitat Heterogeneity in Lake Michigan: Implications for Food Webs, Fish, and Fisheries

Lake Michigan is a spatially diverse system of habitat types supporting food webs, fish assemblages and fisheries. Habitat differences in abiotic conditions, productivity and prey availability may strongly influence community and population dynamics. Moreover, movement of organisms and connectivity among habitats can influence the performance of fish populations and the functioning of food webs. For this session, we invite presentations focusing on Lake Michigan habitats and how they support food webs, fish and fisheries. We encourage presentations exploring the roles of diverse habitats—including pelagic, benthic, nearshore zones, offshore regions, embayments (Green Bay, Traverse Bay), river mouths, plumes, coastal wetlands, and tributaries—and habitat heterogeneity.

Supported by:

  • Purdue University
  • Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
  • Grand Valley State University


  • Les Warren, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, [email protected]
  • Tomas Hook, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
  • Carl Ruetz, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University

Highlighting the Cutting Edge: Graduate and Early Career Research in Genetics-Genomics

Conservation genetics-genomics is a burgeoning field due to its rapid evolution and recent advancements of ‘omics’ technologies.” The use of next generation sequencing methods is changing not only what we can ask but how we ask it. This symposium highlights the cutting edge of genetics-genomics research in fisheries and aquatic sciences by profiling the current research of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. These researchers, who represent the next generation of evolutionary and conservation scientists, are using next-generation sequencing not only to answer questions, but also lead the field in new directions.

Supported by:

  • American Fisheries Society Genetics Section
  • Student and Early Career Professionals Subsection


  • Mary Peacock, University of Nevada Reno, [email protected]
  • Alana Luzzio, University of California, Davis
  • Guilherme Caeiro Dias, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico

Incorporating DEIJA Activities: Where to Begin?

Across many levels of AFS, DEIJA initiatives are discussed and implemented to various degrees. However, the hurdle of setting a tangible goal and even the basics of where to begin to incorporate DEIJA activities can feel overwhelming and impede implementation. If you are interested in incorporating sustainable DEIJA initiatives but are overwhelmed with steps to initiate these activities or are unsure of what resources are available to you, you are not alone. The goal of this session is to create a space to learn how to begin implementing DEIJA into your daily activities via sharing successful and even unsuccessful attempts. This hybrid presentation and group discussion format will offer attendees best practices to jumpstart their efforts to implement successful and sustainable DEIJA initiatives. Members of AFS executive and DEIJA committees are especially encouraged to attend to share how to begin implementing DEIJA activities.


  • Shaley Valentine, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, [email protected]
  • April Croxton, NOAA
  • Ashley Berniche, American Fisheries Society

Innovative Advances in the Application of BRUV’s for Surveying Fisheries Resources

Methods for surveying fisheries resources are consistently advancing in order to provide the data needed for improving our understanding of aquatic ecosystems and for incorporation into stock assessments and fisheries management. These surveying advances have included the development and application of baited remote underwater videos (BRUV’s) as a non-extractive, minimally invasive approach for surveying fisheries resources in marine and freshwater habitats. BRUV’s have been utilized for decades, but their use has become more widespread due to advances in video technology, software, and analytical approaches. This symposium will feature projects that have included innovative advances in the application of BRUV’s for surveying fisheries resources. Bringing together experienced researchers, as well as researchers considering future use of BRUV’s, will contribute to further advancement in BRUV deployment strategies, survey design, data analysis, and standardization to facilitate data sharing, regional analyses, and wider adoption among the scientific community.


  • Douglas Zemeckis, Rutgers University, [email protected]
  • Jason Morson, Rutgers University
  • Chris Rillahan, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • Brian Gervelis, Inspire Environmental

Integrating Monitoring and Decision Tools for Data-limited Endangered and Invasive Species

Decisions related to the development and implementation of management strategies for data limited endangered and invasive species can be hampered by critical uncertainties (i.e., those that limit decision-making), including a lack of information about distribution, population dynamics and species interactions. Structured decision making and adaptive management approaches that develop and prioritize actions and predict and test outcomes through modeling and monitoring of implementation may be critical to building the necessary information to effectively conserve data limited species. Innovative monitoring, modeling, and decision support tools can accelerate actions and improve efficacy to benefit native species of interest and better inform management decisions for early detection of invasive species. This symposium will highlight studies that enhance management of data limited species in Endangered Species (ES) recovery and Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) control. In addition, we hope bringing together biologist focused on ES and AIS will enhance collaboration between these research communities.


  • Joshua Israel, US Bureau of Reclamation, [email protected]
  • William Ardren, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Brian Healy, US Geological Survey

Introduced and Invasive Species: Monitoring, Management, and Ecology

Management of introduced and invasive species continually adapts to minimize ecological impacts and economic losses. The Introduced and Invasive Species Section welcomes submissions on a broad range of topics related to introduced, non-native, and invasive species management. Talks in this symposium will explore new techniques and examine strategies related to early detection, monitoring, rapid response, control/management, and how to measure success. Additionally, talks about the ecological or economic impacts of introduced, non-native, and invasive species are encouraged. We hope to provide a broad forum for attendees to engage with a variety of speakers and topics related to introduced, non-native, and invasive species.

Supported by:

  • Introduced and Invasive Species Section


  • Alison Coulter, South Dakota State University, [email protected]
  • Hannah Mulligan, South Dakota State University
  • Wesley Daniel, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Marybeth Brey, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Nathaniel Lederman, Wisconsin DNR

Invasive Carp Research: Sharing Across Watersheds to Improve Control Efforts

This symposium provides a forum to share research across geographical regions related to control of the four invasive carp species. Of particular interest is work that can be applied in different geographic regions to combat the spread of these fishes. This includes field control strategies, barriers, modeling and any other research that strives to improve control efforts. We also plan to have an open discussion forum to allow researchers and managers working in different systems to interact with each other with the goal of improving our individual efforts.


  • Robert Mapes, University of Toledo, [email protected]
  • Matthew Acre, Columbia Environmental Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, MO
  • Duane Chapman, USGS
  • Joshua Tompkins, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
  • Jesse McCarter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service