SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  12 September 2013
Volume 14 Issue 9

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Getting Over the Hump: Northern California Chapter Annual Meeting

Thomas Jabusch, San Francisco Estuary Institute and Board of Directors, Northern California Regional Chapter

poster sessions
Poster session on the mezzanine of the Cal/EPA building.

The Northern California (NorCal) Regional Chapter of SETAC North America held its 23rd annual meeting at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento from 8–9 May 2013. The meeting theme was “Getting Over the Hump: Finding Meaning in Low Dose-Responses.” About 100 professionals and students attended. The first day of our chapter meeting focused on professional training courses. This year, Jason Brodersen and Sara Woolley of Tetra Tech offered a full-day course on Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM), a breakthrough soil sampling technique designed to statistically reduce or limit variability associated with discrete sampling (“Use of Incremental Sampling for Improved Site Investigation and Remedial Decisions”). Peter Ode of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offered a half-day course that brought attendees up to speed on the development of bioassessment tools for California’s streams and rivers (“Biological Objectives: An Introduction to California’s New Tools for Measuring the Ecological Integrity of Perennial Streams”).

Day two opened with Charlie Huang of the CDFW giving the president’s welcome. The morning session featured Tyrone Hayes, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, as a distinguished plenary speaker. Hayes took the audience on an exciting journey through his research career that started with his family roots and initial fascination with biology, included experimental “parties” of African claw frogs mating in kiddie pools in the laboratory, and led to the implications of his findings for the potential effects of atrazine on the gonadal development of vertebrate species in the environment as well as the contentious relationship with its producer that has since ensued.

The afternoon featured submitted poster and platform presentations. Posters were displayed on a variety of applied environmental topics ranging from toxicity testing to ecosystem restoration planning. Two sessions of concurrent platform presentations were organized around four themes: Communicating Science to the Public, Data Capture and Interpretation, Ecological Risk Assessment and Toxicity of Pesticides in the Environment. The oral presenters included professionals from Ardea Consulting; CDFW, Office of Spill Prevention and Response; California Water Quality Monitoring Council; Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board; Delta Science Program; Ecological Risk, Inc.; San Francisco Estuary Institute; UC Davis, Marine Pollution Studies Lab; and TDC Environmental. The student presenters were graduate students from California State University, Sacramento; UC Berkeley; and UC Santa Cruz.

Nor Cal
Student Award 1st Place Winner Vanessa de la Rosa with David Ostrach, Chairman of the NorCal SETAC Education and Outreach Committee.

The meeting concluded with a social reception and student awards. All the student platform presentations were excellent, and the following students were presented with an award based on cumulative evaluation scores:

  • 1st place: Vanessa De La Rosa – “Functional Genomics Approach Identifies DNA Damage Response to Trichloroethylene”
  • 2nd place: Zeka Kuspa – “Investigating a Wildlife Shooting Event with Lead Isotopic Analysis”
  • 3rd place: Brandon Gayt├ín – “Functional Profiling Discovers that the Dieldrin Organochlorinated Pesticide Affects Leucine Availability in Yeast
  • 4th place: Andrew McGuirk – “Educating the Public on how Trash Threatens Wildlife Habitat in the Ecosystem”

A shout-out to the NorCal SETAC volunteers! Here represented by Ashley Pennell, Joanna Nishimura and Michelle Wong of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Annual meetings of the NorCal Regional Chapter alternate between the Sacramento region and the Bay Area because these two regions are centrally located for most of our membership. For next year’s meeting in the Bay Area, one of our main outreach goals will be to encourage more students to carve out time of their busy schedules and contribute presentations. We want the NorCal SETAC annual meeting to continue to provide an excellent and fun opportunity for students to gain experience presenting in public, raise the profile of their research projects, and network with professionals in their field.

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