Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bringing Enthusiasm and Science to Alaska: WGC 2010

From April 26- 30, seven members of the Heppell lab attended the 16th biennial Western Groundfish Conference (WGC), which was held in Juneau, Alaska. In addition to gorgeous weather, highlights of the trip included a whale watching adventure in Auke Bay where we spotted hundreds of bald eagles, two breaching orca whales, bubble netting and feeding, a spyhopping humpback, and numerous fluke shows that I was never really able to capture with my camera. Additionally, the Heppell lab presented a poster and 4 talks, one of which won 2nd place for best student paper (way to go Ali!). There were a number of great talks in addition to those from our lab, including talks on habitat and distribution, stock assessment, fishery monitoring/ management, ecosystem processes, life history (a.k.a. the OSU session), and advanced technology of our western groundfish. When we weren’t listening attentively to these talks, we could be found on one of the many amazing hikes around town, likely the Mendenhall Glacier (which is ~12 miles long!), at the Alaskan Brewing Company (6 free “samples”!), or walking around downtown Juneau. Entertainment for the week also included a tour of the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute (where some Heppell labmates got left behind… not naming names or admitting anything), a banquet with a comedian, a show with Ira Glass, and a few conference socials. Additional excitement was brought by all of the schwag and prizes that we took home, including a t-shirt with the 2010 WGC logo (by Doris Alcorn), which was particularly cool, door prizes that ranged from painted moose poop (literally) to black cod (which I accidentally left in the hotel room) to two tickets on another Bay tour, and Tom’s grand prize win of the Lotek pop-up satellite tag (you’ve got to love high-tech Lotek). Overall, it was an amazing week in Juneau, with the Heppell lab representing in style and volume. I can’t wait for WGC 2012, Washington!

Heppell lab talks:
1. Luke Whitman: Variation in the distribution and energy density of juvenile walleye Pollock in the southeastern Bering Sea.
2. Noelle Yochum: Reaping the rewards of collaboration: fishermen, scientists, and managers develop and implement surveys to monitor California nearshore fishes.
3. Ali Dauble: Juvenile rockfish settlement patters in Oregon estuaries.
4. Linsey Arnold: Maternal effects in a long-lived, deep-dwelling rockfish, Sebastes alutus

Heppell lab poster:
1. Suzanna Stoike: Collaborative rockfish research with the Oregon live fishery: lessons learned.


First picture: Juneau, AK.

Second picture: Bubble netting.

Third picture: Heppell lab members enjoy a wonderful afternoon of whale watching (with beer and wine) in Auke Bay. [From left: Luke Whitman, Alena Pribyl (recent graduate from Carl Schreck’s lab, OSU), Ali Dauble, Scott Heppell, Suzanna Stoike, Linsey Arnold, Tom Calvanese, and Noelle Yochum]