Summer in the meadow

Summer in the meadow
Beaver Creek, Idaho, USA

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Congratulations to Logan Elmore (@twitiot63) and #ReidCamp @CNRUSU

As I've mentioned, research can feel an awful lot like a marathon. I don't mean this in the sense of, "running a marathon is crazy, terrible, impossible, etc." I mean it in the sense that one has to work for an indeterminate amount of time toward a challenging goal that often requires years of training and preparation. Last week, two friends successfully closed out their own (first) marathons, Logan Elmore, and Reid Camp. Both Reid and Logan did an awesome job on their projects and defenses and I'm extremely pleased to congratulate them on their achievements.

Logan (left) and Marco at CHaMP camp 2014
I met Logan Elmore on his recruiting visit to USU in late 2011 (or maybe early 2012?). Logan came from Oak Ridge National Lab and the university of Tennessee to work with Sarah Null in WATS. He came to work on modeling different river scenarios following environmental waters transfers in the Walker River, CA and NV. Last year, I came back to Utah from a trip, and in getting oriented, realized that I was late to getting good field technicians hired for our projects. The next weekend I walked by Logan at Beaver Mountain, and he mentioned that he might be looking for a little stop-gap work. A couple calls were made, and a few months later we were in CHaMP camp near Cove, OR with our co-worker, Marco, prepping for a big pre-restoration stream habitat data campaign.

Logan (right) and Marco show the scale of the incision problem on a tributary to the Raft River.
The fellas got trained up in total station surveying, digital topography, and stream habitat surveys and we were off to the races. Logan gunned hard on the total station all summer in northern Utah, did a hell of a job under adverse conditions. Things went wrong all summer, equipment failures, weather problems, unpredictable schedules, whatever, and Logan was always there with his southern humor, relaxed nature, and the uncanny ability to mend fence. Logan worked super hard - he and Marco made every last data point possible. It was a pleasure to learn and work alongside Logan. The most impressive part of Logan's summer was that he worked nights and weekends to hustle up his thesis and get it ready for the fall semester. For as hard as Logan was working...I was only seeing half of it! That's a testament to Logan's admirable work ethic and winning attitude. In short, he's a resourceful ringer of a scientist and he gets things done in the face of adversity.

Logan (left) has it all under control with Rico, fall 2013
Sadly, I forget exactly how I met Reid. I think one day, he just showed up in the office in early 2013, and I maybe met him and his wife as they were moving him up to Logan? Maybe his laptop just showed up on the desk and afterwards, he followed suit? Anyhow, Reid was working on an intensively monitored watershed in southeastern Washington State. Asotin Creek, is a part of a Washington Salmon Recovery Funding Board effort to monitor and restore salmonid populations and habitat. Reid had worked on assessing habitat condition with Eco Logical Research before coming to USU, so he was familiar with the watershed. During his time at USU, he monitored a large restoration effort that used "high density large woody debris" or HDLWD as it has become known in our lab. The idea was to install small, cheap wood structures that force water over and around the structure to create hydraulic and geomorphic complexity. This is important because Asotin Creek is currently wood limited either by the ability to grow large trees or the fluvial/hillslope processes required to contribute that wood to the channel. Reid differenced DEMs, built data collections apps, and assessed the entire Asotin Watershed using the River Styles framework, to tell a compelling story of ecosystem degradation, processes, and restoration for endangered salmonids. It was awesome.

Reid's new article in EOS
Additionally, Reid is a great guy. He's about as nice as someone can get, and works extremely hard at his science...even if he did break the lab coffeemaker (first rule of the lab: don't break the coffeemaker). I'm stoked to have shared some hikes, meals and discussions with him while we worked for the ET-AL together.

Reid Camp, 2013.
Congratulations to both Reid and Logan as they move forward into their next projects and endeavors!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Article Alert: Does #plant performance under stress explain divergent life history strategies? #AquaticBotany

My recently accepted article on how flooding and nutrient stress interact to impact the growth and biomass allocation of two wetland sedges was published in the January issue of Aquatic Botany. It ran as the first article in Volume 120B. I briefly mentioned this paper last fall, a portion of my M.S. work at UW that strived to see how seedlings of an evergreen sedge (Carex obnupta) and a fast-growing deciduous sedge (Carex stipata) differed in their growth responses to environmental stress and resource subsidy. 

A Principal Component Analysis that didn't make the final manuscript. CO = Carex obnupta; CS = Carex stipata; H = high nutrients; L = low nutrients; D = deep flooding; S = shallow flooding. 
Initially, I was following up on Ewing's 1996 paper that looked at how flooding and drying shaped survival and growth in four facultative or obligate wetland species. During my thesis days I thought the project mainly had implications for wetland restoration, but have more recently come to see that the research showed fundamental differences in the capability of each species to grow under stress. Accordingly these species had vastly different life history strategies which helped to explain their range limits and ecology during succession and following hydrologic disturbance.

The academic equivalent of seeing one's name in lights...not that glamorous, eh?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December issue of Society of Wetland Scientist's #Wetland Science and Practice out today! (@SWS_Org)

Ralph Tiner recently took over for long-time Wetland Science and Practice editor Andy Cole, and overhauled the formatting, content and distribution of the Society of Wetland Scientists' practitioner magazine/journal. Andy did a great job for a long time, and Ralph has really run with what WSP is and can be. Thanks to both individuals for their service and energy in making WSP a great resource for the Society. The newest issue is available here:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Public Comment Requested: #Washington State #Wetland Program Plan @SWS_org

Direct from the Washington State Department of Ecology:

Public Comment Requested: Washington State Wetland Program Plan

In 2013, the Department of Ecology received a Wetland Program Development Grant (WPDG) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a statewide plan for wetlands of the state. A draft of the Washington State Wetland Program Plan (WPP) is now available, and we are seeking comments from the general public. 

The WPP outlines what the state strives to accomplish regarding core elements of a wetland program.  It is a comprehensive plan and, as a result, not all can be accomplished in the near future.  Therefore, after the comment period, decisions will be made regarding which actions should receive the state’s focus over the next six years. 

State agencies involved in wetland management collaborated on developing the plan.  They also received input from tribal governments, local governments, and federal agencies.

More information about the plan can be found:
·         Within the document itself:

·         On the WPP webpage:

How to comment
You may provide comments about the entire plan or on specific elements. Information on how to comment is on the WPP Public Comment Period webpage:

Through a web survey, we also invite your feedback about which actions are the most important for the state to focus on during the next six years:

When to comment
December 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014

Informational webinar
Ecology will be hosting a webinar on December 10, 2014 at 6:30pm to answer any questions you may have about the Wetland Program Plan. To sign up for the webinar, contact Susan Buis (contact information below).    

Susan Buis

Thank you in advance for your willingness to review and comment on this draft. Public review is an important step in improving this strategic wetland program plan for Washington State.

San Juan Island sedge swamp, Orcas Island, WA, USA

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reid Camp to defend M.S thesis on #Salmonid #Habitat #Restoration @CNRUSU

My lab mate and friend, Reid Camp, will defend his masters thesis this month, "Short-term effectiveness of high-density, large, woody debris in Asotin Creek, Washington State." Reid is an absolute workhorse, creative scientist, and part-time app developer. He has put together some really compelling research on the use of instream structures to create habitat and geomorphic complexity in degraded, salmon-bearing streams across the Pacific Northwest.

The party kicks off December 11th at Noon-thirty in LIB 154 on the campus of Utah State University. See you there!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Must-see seminar: Jim Grace to deliver @USU_Ecology talks December 3-4! #Ecology #Stats

James Grace of the USGS will deliver the final USU Ecology Center talks of 2014. Jim has had a long, productive career working on various systems, questions and methods. Jim has collaborated with a great cohort of researchers along the U.S. Gulf Coast on wetland ecology, brought structural equation models to the ecological mainstream, and has recently doubled down on diversity-productivity relationships as a part of the Nutrient Network. Whatever Jim is going to talk about, it's probably going to be worth listening. His talks are tomorrow night and Thursday at the times and locations below. See you there!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Restoring the West presentation videos! @USUExtForestry @CNRUSU @USU_Ecology

I'm pleased to have a multimedia Friday to highlight some great talks from last month. After a successful couple days, each and every presentation from last month's Restoring the West conference has been archived as a youtube video.

You can find every 2014 Restoring the West presentation here. Past years' conferences are available at this link.

In case you're not inclined to click through, here are the keynotes from the conference:

Dave Merritt's conference opening keynote:

Bob Beschta's Wednesday morning keynote:

Heida Diefenderfer's conference closing keynote and Quinney College seminar:

And finally, a bit of shameless self-promotion, and that painful realization that I can't stand how my voice sounds. Here's my talk on our recently submitted paper that discusses using riparian functional guilds to assess ecosystem condition:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#OpenAccess Journal #ImpactFactors for 2013

So, where do open access journals sit relative to other ecology and ecological sub-disicpline journals?  In short, I don't know. I do know that people are increasingly reading and citing the Open Access journals. Here are the recent impact factors for a couple open access journals in ecology:

2.595 - Ecosphere - ESA
3.534 - PLoS ONE - PLoS
1.743 - AOB Plants - Annals of Botany
2.669 - Ecology and Society - Resilience Alliance
1.156 - Fire Ecology - Association for Fire Ecology

Note that there are three more ecology journals, or journals with ecology content, that are not yet indexed:

F1000 Research - F1000
PeerJ - PeerJ
Riparian Ecology and Conservation - DeGruyter

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Society of Wetland Scientists Rocky Mountain Chapter (@SWS_org) and #RiverRestorationNorthwest Speaker Series Events!

Next month there are a pair of riparian and wetland events in Portland, OR and Denver, CO respectively. These are two of numerous "science pub" events that have become popular in the environmental fields. If you're in either the Denver or Portland metro areas, I suggest checking out these free events.

This December 17th, the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists presents Sara Skigen and Rod Chimner, of GEI and Michigan Tech respectively. These talks will focus on using wetlands to attenuate selenium (Skigen) and carbon sequestration in peatlands (Chimner) and will roll at the Irish Snug in Denver, CO.

Several hundred miles away, and a week prior, River Restoration Northwest will hold their December speaker series featuring NOAA Fisheries' Michael Pollock, who will be discussing the use of beaver in stream and salmonid restoration. His talk will ride on December 8th at the Lucky Lab Beer Hall in Portland, OR.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

@NSF launches new graduate education forum (@nsf_bio; #PhDChat) 

The National Science Foundation recently launched a new graduate research forum to survey early-career scientists on their experiences in their trainee (graduate student, post-doc) stages. Directly from the forum's website:

"This forum will provide the NSF Division of Graduate Education (DGE) a direct connection with graduate students, faculty, university administrators, employers, and others who want to contribute to the national dialogue. To get stakeholder input, the DGE will host moderated conversations on this forum. The DGE will post discussion questions in four broad topic areas: Diversity and broadening participation; campus to careers; the graduate education experience; and mentoring. The intent is to provide a forum for graduate education stakeholders to discuss challenges in graduate education and to propose innovative ideas to improve outcomes. The DGE will respond to general themes within the community discussion, but will not use the forum to answer questions about specific NSF programs. However, the comments and ideas shared on the forum will inform both the NSF and national dialogue about the state of STEM graduate education and new strategic directions."

So, login with your Wordpress account, check out a few questions, and provide some feedback to the good folks at the NSF. Current questions include:




Kudos to the NSF for trying to formalize some of the discussions that have already been taking place on social media like Twitter and the ecology blogs. The weak part is that democracy only works when people participate, so hopefully NSF et al. will reach out to really broaden the participating groups.