Plenary Sessions

Monday, 3 June 2024

Presentation: Lakes 380 - environmental, social, and cultural histories of New Zealand lakes

Dr. Susie Wood

Senior Scientist, Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand

Dr. Wood’s research is multidisciplinary and integrative, with the overarching goal of improving knowledge of freshwater ecosystems. It spans three broad areas: (i) toxic cyanobacteria dynamics in freshwater systems (both planktonic in lakes and benthic in rivers), (ii) the development and application of molecular techniques to monitor and understand aquatic systems, and (iii) integrating cutting edge techniques with more traditional paleolimnological approaches to guide future lake management and restoration.  She received the Kilham Lecture Award from the International Limnology Society in 2022 and the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society medal in 2019 for her outstanding contributions to freshwater science.

She recently co-led a large 6-year multidisciplinary project  ‘Our lakes’ health: past, present, future’ ( Using sediment coring, novel proxy analyses (environmental DNA, high-resolution core scanning), geochronology, and mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) the team reconstructed water quality and lake health over the past 1000 years for about 10% of lakes in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Tuesday, 4 June 2024

Presentation: Science at the interface of policy and management, fisheries adaptation from the tribal perspective

Dr. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson

Program Director, Fisheries and Communities - Alaska Venture Fund

Stephanie Quinn-Davidson is a fisheries scientist with experience in the public, private, and academic sectors. Her career has evolved over the years from fisheries research to policy development, communication, and advocacy, and now philanthropy. She is particularly passionate about initiatives and projects that seek to make Alaska's fisheries more sustainable and equitable.

Stephanie is the Program Director for Fisheries and Communities with Alaska Venture Fund. Alaska Venture Fund is a philanthropic partner and social-change incubator building a more sustainable future for Alaska and beyond. At Alaska Venture Fund, they pursue bold ideas and innovative partnerships to empower local talent and drive transformative change. By embracing Indigenous principles, choosing sustainable strategies, and investing in new economies, they believe Alaska can become the blueprint for a more just and prosperous future.

She was appointed to the Advisory Council for the College of Fisheries and Oceans at the University of Alaska in 2021.

In 2018, Stephanie was selected to the 2nd cohort of Alaska Salmon Fellows, which was an 18-month leadership opportunity to work with diverse people from across the state of Alaska on creating sustainability and equity in Alaska's salmon system. (

Originally from Wisconsin, she is Brothertown Indian and spent her childhood hunting, fishing, and playing outside.

Brooke Woods

Rampart Village Tribal Member

Brooke Woods is from Rampart, Alaska but currently lives in Fairbanks with children attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). She received a Tribal Management Associate of Applied Science degree in the Spring of 2017 and is now completing a Bachelor of Arts in Fisheries Science. Brooke is employed with Woodwell Climate Research Center as the Climate Adaptation Specialist for the Permafrost Pathways project. Permafrost Pathways was launched in 2022 with funding from the TED Audacious Project—through a joint effort between Woodwell Climate Research Center, the Arctic Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, and the Alaska Institute for Justice, Permafrost Pathways brings together leading experts in climate science, policy action, and environmental justice to inform and develop adaptation and mitigation strategies to address permafrost thaw.

She served as Executive Chair for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission for nearly six years before stepping down, a Tribal leadership role she valued. She supports the UAF Indigenizing Salmon Management project and the Tamamta Program as an advisor. The Indigenizing Salmon Management goal is to use a deeply participatory approach to document Indigenous values, knowledge, management, and governance structure around salmon throughout Alaska and to use the wisdom collected to improve the current salmon systems. Tamamta, a Yup’ik and Sugpiaq word meaning 'all of us', is centered on elevating 14,000+ years of Indigenous stewardship and bridging Indigenous and Western sciences to transform graduate education and research in fisheries and marine sciences.

She voluntarily serves as an advisor on the Yukon River Panel and the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. Brooke and her children enjoy spending most of their free time back home in Rampart fishing, hunting, and gathering.

Wednesday, 5 June 2024

Presentation: Ecosystem services and good Anthropocenes

Dr. Elena Bennett

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Science, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Dr. Elena Bennett directs NSERC ResNet, a pan-Canadian network designed to support Canada's capacity to monitor, model, and manage its working landscapes and seascapes (and all the ecosystem services they provide) for the long-term shared health, prosperity, and resilience for all Canadians through community-engaged research. Her research focuses on understanding and managing for multifunctional working landscapes via a better understanding of the relationships between people, ecosystems, and the provision of ecosystem services. She earned her MSc (Land Resources) and PhD (Limnology) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is thrilled to be “coming home” for this conference.

Thursday, 6 June 2024

Science writer, author of ‘The Devil’s Element’

Dan Egan

Brico Fund Journalist in Residence at the Center for Water Policy, Center for Water Policy

Dan Egan is the Brico Fund Journalist in Residence at the Center for Water Policy in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences. Egan was previously the Great Lakes reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He is author of the “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes,” winner of the LA Times book prize, and 2023's "The Devil's Element: phosphorus and a world out of balance." He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Columbia School of Journalism.

He lives in Milwaukee with his wife and children.

Friday, 7 June 2024

Presentation: Microbial wetland ecology, environmental justice

Dr. Ariane Peralta

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, East Carolina University

Ariane Peralta, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biology at East Carolina University located in Greenville, North Carolina, USA. Peralta and the research team examine how climate and human-induced environmental changes modify nutrient and water cycles to influence microbial communities at the land-water interface using laboratory, field, and modeling approaches. Current projects examine climate change effects on plant-microbe interactions and carbon and nitrogen cycling processes in urban, freshwater, and coastal wetlands. As a National Science Foundation CAREER awardee, Peralta’s scholar-teacher approach increases student access to research opportunities focused on applying ecological principles to address critical environmental problems that require microbiome management. Peralta is an active mentor for graduate students and undergraduate students to enable enriching research experiences in preparation for graduate pathways and careers in STEM. In addition, Peralta conducts interdisciplinary microbiome research and collaborates with economists, engineers, geologists, and anthropologists to understand how ecological systems interact with human systems to better predict ecosystem responses to environmental changes. The interdisciplinary team uses environmental monitoring and data science approaches to support community-engaged research to empower coastal communities to collaboratively tackle local environmental challenges.

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