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Event Archives

Feb 8-10, 2005. Tempe, Arizona

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Council of State Governments, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and the Western Center for Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater Ecosystems are sponsoring a workshop designed to refine our understanding of how aquatic ecosystems in arid regions respond to human-created stressors. The goals of this workshop are to: (1) introduce managers and researchers to developing concepts and tools designed to improve biological assessments of stream condition, (2) determine if observed responses of biota to human-caused stress are consistent with the trends described in a national-scale conceptual model (the Biological Condition Gradient or BCG), and (3) identify where the model may need to be refined to incorporate unique attributes of arid zone streams.

The workshop will be held over a 2 ½ day period and will consist of: 1. several initial presentations designed to introduce participants to (a) the BCG, (b) the use of the reference condition approach in defining baseline conditions, and (c) the Tiered Aquatic Life Use (TALU) framework - a means of integrating data from biological assessments within a management context, 2. a series of small breakout group activities in which we will (a) examine and interpret biological data collected from arid region streams and (b) identify how well these data can be interpreted in terms of BCG concepts, and 3. a summary session in which we will identify outstanding knowledge gaps, research priorities, and a strategy for addressing them.

Contact Chuck Hawkins for information

November 29-30, 2006, Utah State University, Logan, Utah

Background: Assessments of ecological health heavily depend on estimates of biodiversity. In freshwater ecosystems, invertebrates comprise the vast majority of metazoan species, but the information collected during field surveys is severely limited by our inability to easily, quickly, and consistently identify the collected individuals to species level. Methods are needed to improve both the accuracy of this information and the time it takes to generate usable data. Recent advances in high-throughput DNA sequencing and micro-array technology provide the basis for a new generation of novel molecular-based approaches for species identification. Application of these emerging technologies should allow rapid biodiversity assessment, and should revolutionize the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of freshwater monitoring programs throughout the world.

Purpose of the Workshop: The purpose of this workshop is to review the state of the science regarding the application of DNA-signature technology as it applies to freshwater invertebrates and to outline a North American strategy of collaboration to efficiently generate both the DNA libraries and the molecular technology needed for routine implementation in aquatic biodiversity surveys and bioassessments.

Co-Organizers:

Chuck Hawkins - Department of Watershed Sciences and Director of the Western Center for Monitoring and Assessment of Freshwater Ecosystems, Utah State University (hawkins@cc.usu.edu)

Mike Pfrender - Department of Biology, Utah State University (pfrender@biology.usu.edu)

Phil Larsen and Paula Hartzell - US EPA Western Ecology Division, Corvallis, OR (larsen.phil@epa.gov, hartzell.paula@epa.gov)