2020 Meeting Information

at the University of Oregon, Eugene OR, March 24–27, 2020 

“Looking back to plan forward: The relevance of history for today's environmental challenges” 

Tentative Program  |  Plenary Session  |  Banquet  |  Special Sessions  |  Workshops  |  Field Trips

Tentative Program

Tuesday – March 24 
NWSA Board Meeting 
NWSA Evening Social 6:00–9:30 PM (Wildcraft Ciderworks, Eugene

Wednesday – March 25 (Erb Memorial Union, University of Oregon; Campus Map)

8:30-8:45  Welcome from meeting organizers and David Conover, UO Vice President for Research and Innovation

8:45-12:00  Keynote Address and Plenary Session

12:00-1:30  Lunch

1:30-3:30  Special Sessions and Concurrent, Contributed/Invited Oral sessions

3:30-5:30  Poster Session

5:00-6:30 Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon  open to meeting attendees

6:30 Evening Banquet: Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Oregon (limited space available)

Thursday – March 26  (Erb Memorial Union, University of Oregon; Campus Map)

8:30-5:00  Special Sessions and Concurrent, Contributed/Invited Oral & Poster Sessions

12:00-1:30   NWSA Business Meeting and Lunch – all invited, and lunch is included with registration


          Morning and afternoon: Lichenology workshop

          Afternoon: Manipulating and Visualizing Data in R

Friday – March 27: Field Trips 
Dorena Genetic Research Center 
Northwest Lichenologists 
Environmental history of the southern Willamette Valley and Coast Range 



Plenary Session

Keynote Address by Dr. Patrick Bartlein, University of Oregon
“What Long-term Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest Really Looks Like” 

Megan Walsh, Central Washington University

“Combining paleoecology and archaeology: what interdisciplinary research can tell us about Holocene human-landscape interactions in the Pacific Northwest”

Madonna Moss, University of Oregon

Tlingit Relationships with Sea Otters: What can we learn from zooarchaeology to acknowledge cultural heritage and inform wildlife management?”

Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) were once common in the North Pacific but were extirpated from southeast Alaska by about A.D. 1830. In the 1960s, sea otters were re-introduced and now their populations are rapidly increasing.  Today, sea otters and people are competing for some of the same commercially important invertebrates.  After having been absent for nearly 150 years, the re-entry of sea otters into the food web has unsettled people who make their living from the sea. While some communities perceive sea otters as a threat to their economic livelihoods, some environmentalists view the return of sea otters as restoration of the marine ecosystem. The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) authorizes any Alaska Native who resides in Alaska to harvest sea otters for the purpose of subsistence provided that the harvest is not wasteful.  Some are seeking to define “traditional” Tlingit use of sea otters as not only utilizing their pelts, but as consuming them as food: in their view both of these conditions have to be met before Alaska Natives would be entitled to harvest sea otters.  This project investigates the zooarchaeological and ethnoarchaeological evidence as to whether Tlingit ancestors consumed sea otters as food in the past.

Lucas Silva, University of Oregon

Expanding the spatiotemporal domains of modern ecology”

Lauren Hallett, University of Oregon

Looking back to move forward: the role of history in ecological restoration


Banquet Presentation by Dr. Dennis Jenkins 
“Archaeology and Science at the Paisley Caves” 

Museum of Natural and Cultural History

Luther Cressman’s 1938-1940 excavations at the Paisley Caves in south central Oregon discovered evidence suggesting that human occupation of the caves was contemporaneous with now extinct Late Pleistocene megafauna some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.  However, it was not until more recent developments in radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA analysis that he was finally proven correct. This presentation explains the scientific processes and results of archaeological investigations at the Paisley Caves, bringing the audience the most up-to-date information about the evidence for the association of humans and Pleistocene animals in Oregon’s high desert country more than 14,000 years ago.  Dating of camel and horse bones, artifacts, twigs, and dried human feces containing Native American DNA between 12,900 and 14,500 years ago indicates that people lived in the caves and apparently hunted mammoth, camels, horses, and other animals at the end of the Pleistocene period. This colorful slide show takes the audience through the scientific processes involved in proving the case for pre-Clovis (>13,500 years) human occupations at the now world famous Paisley Caves in south-central Oregon.

Posters: Please keep poster width under 48 inches.  Posters may be up to 40 inches in height.

Special Sessions

Call for abstracts for special sessions at the NWSA Annual Meeting.  Please contact session organizers (described below) if you have interest in presenting in these sessions.  Posters on the same topics are also possible.  Submission deadline: February 24, 2020

Oral presentations are 20 minutes in length: 15 minutes of presentation, 5 minutes of questions.

Managing for First Foods: Returning Human-Adapted Ecosystems to the Northwest
Click to view flyer
Please submit inquires to:

First foods, such as roots, berries, fish, big game, and water, refer to the traditionally gathered array of foods collected by tribal peoples in their seasonal round. In many places, natural resource managers and tribal communities are working together to restore first foods, motivated by the principle of human-nature reciprocity.This session will focus on the variety of applied science tools, methods, and technologies that restore the ecological processes of first foods. In addition, advancements that promote climate vulnerability adaptation are of interest. Tools could include traditional fire use, planting, thinning, and harvesting techniques. We are accepting abstracts for 20 minute presentations or for posters. Presenters can choose a traditional scientific meeting format; however, other formats are also encouraged. The meeting registration fee will be waived for tribal presenters.Instructions for abstract submission can be found here. 

Climate Change and Seed Sourcing in the Pacific Northwest
Please submit inquires to: Lina Aoyama

Native grassland restoration has been about restoring degraded or remnant plant communities. Climate change poses a new challenge to restoration. Historical plant communities that are used as reference communities may not be viable in the future. Therefore, restoration practitioners are facing the question of how to select for plant materials that would persist now and in the future. Where do we source our seeds? Will the seeds adapt to projected climate? Is the native seed market viable?  We welcome presentations about seed sourcing in any ecosystem context, but have a particular emphasis on grassland restoration efforts in the Willamette Valley and the Great Basin.  

Natural Climate Solutions in the Pacific Northwest
Please submit inquiries to: Lucas Silva

The failure of nations to meet their emissions reductions targets makes it urgent to invest in new ways to draw down atmospheric carbon.  Natural climate solutions (NCS) provide a promising pathway to atmospheric COdrawdown while sustaining and often enhancing critical production systems and ecosystem services.  Current NCS practices consist of conservation, restoration and management of natural areas to increase land-based carbon storage, which present a readily implementable way to drawdown CO2.  However, there is a critical and widening gap between the development of scientific knowledge and on-the-ground implementation at the necessary pace and scale.  Most NCS research efforts involve overly simplified landscapes and hypothetical actors, whereas real-world decisions involve space constraints, ownership complexities, and finite resources.  This session aims to bring to light the opportunities for enhancing NCS in the Pacific Northwest.


Introduction to Manipulating and Visualizing Data in R
Matthew Brousil and Michael Meyer

The R language and environment are open-source tools, which are widely-used for research in ecology, natural resources, and other scientific fields. This workshop will introduce several packages for manipulating data, including tidyr and dplyr. Attendees will then learn how to visualize data using the graphics package, ggplot2. The workshop is targeted at participants with novice level experience (i.e., can import data, knowledge of basic commands). Participants are expected to bring a laptop computer to the workshop with an up-to-date version of R installed. Installation of RStudio is also highly encouraged but not required.

Introduction to QGIS
Dean Walton, University of Oregon Lorry Lokey Science & Technology Outreach Librarian
Friday, March 27 at 1:00 PM

QGIS is an open-source free-to-use GIS program that competes with ArcGIS Pro and other ESRI products, and unlike ArcGIS it does not need a semi-continuous Internet connection. Come try out this software. Learn to georeference an aerial photograph on top of a satellite image, and learn the basics of drawing and attributing points, lines and polygons. QGIS is the perfect tool for long trips in the field with limited cell/internet service. This a workshop and you will be viewing and editing spatial data on a computer in front you. The workshop will be held in the Price Science Commons Vizlab, and at 50 million pixels, this lab supports the highest resolution video screen in the State of Oregon. Limited to ca. 15 people.

More information to come. Please check back soon.

Field Trips

The Changing Willamette Valley: From the Glacial Maximum to 2020

Dorena Genetic Resource Center Field Trip

NW Lichenologists

More information to come. Please check back soon. Field trip logistics will be determined closer to the meeting date.

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