Spatiotemporal Variability in Aquatic Food Webs

Variability in abiotic conditions such as light, nutrients, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and precipitation drive differences in resource availability in time and space. Seasonality is a common temporal driver of food-web structure and function, while habitat heterogeneity influences food-webs by creating spatial resource asynchronies. At larger time scales, important interannual variation may result from other drivers such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle and climate change. This variation drives spatial and temporal dynamics of species composition, consumer-resource interactions, and other emergent food-web properties. However, most food webs have been treated as static or rather “snapshots” in space and time, largely because of the logistics and complexities in building spatially and temporally explicit food webs. This session aims to address advances in our understanding of: 1) patterns  of spatiotemporal variability, 2) drivers of spatiotemporal variation, and 3) consequences of spatiotemporal heterogeneity in aquatic food webs for management, conservation, and restoration.


  • Peter Flood, Florida International University, [email protected]
  • Bradley Strickland, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • Matthew Woodstock, Morgan State University Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory

The Future is Now: Supporting Students and Early Career Professionals in AFS

Recruitment and retention of new fisheries professionals is an issue affecting all levels and units of AFS. This symposium was created by Students and Early Career Professionals (S&ECP) with the goal of creating a space where S&ECP individuals may feel comfortable and open to exercise their voices. This symposium has been designed to provide an opportunity for S&ECP to discuss how AFS might better serve this upcoming generation of fisheries professionals. The first session includes a “First Time Presenters Session” where individuals can expect a low stress, supportive discussion environment and receive feedback on their work. The second session provides a focused discussion about what S&ECP value with the aim to create a vision of how AFS might better support the next generation.

Supported by:

  • Equal Opportunities Section
  • International Fisheries Section


  • Greyson Wolf, University of Notre Dame, [email protected]
  • Lian Guo, California Sea Grant
  • Samantha Betances, US Fish and Wildlife
  • Kaylyn Zipp, University of Maine
  • Brittany Harried, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri
  • Shaley Valentine, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
  • Taylor Heckman, University of California, Davis
  • Carrianne Pershyn, SECP

Vaterite, Calcite, and Other Otolith Weirdness: Extent and Exploration of Causes

While otolith techniques are well-accepted and broadly used in fisheries studies, less is known about the causes of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) crystallographic diversity in otoliths and how this diversity can impact results and data interpretation. These forms of CaCO3 have different crystal structures, that is, the chemical formula for all forms is CaCO3 but the arrangement of atoms and bonds differs which influences the rate at which otoliths take up and retain trace elements. These differences can lead to incorrect interpretations of otolith chemistry data, ultimately impacting species conservation and management. This symposium will highlight otolith crystallographic and other anomalies that can affect interpretation of trace element chemistry, ageing, and other applications for otoliths to begin defining the scale of the issue and priorities for research on otolith crystallography.


  • Brenda Pracheil, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, [email protected]
  • Karin Limburg, SUNY-ESF
  • Bryan C. Chakoumakos, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

What Does Ecosystem Management Mean to Inland Fisheries Biologists and Managers?

Every US state receives federal funding for fisheries management in the form of Sportfish Restoration Act money and these funds must be used for fisheries management activities that are limited in scope by being only focused on sportfish. This often leaves the understanding of the entire community or other non-game species to different funding sources that can vary widely among states, In addition, many state regulations are based on single species (e.g., size limit by species). As many fisheries biologists are aware an understanding of the fishery and its supporting system is needed to fully understand the stressors to various sportfish populations. We will compare the approaches states take to manage their inland fisheries, as well as the use of SFR funds versus other funding sources. We will evaluate if and how state agencies are able to more holistically manage ecosystems that then transfers to better management of sportfish species.


  • Margaret Murphy, Vermont Fish And Wildlife Department, [email protected]
  • Maureen Lynch, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department