Conference Announcement and Call for Papers

2010 Annual Conference of the
Western Section of The Wildlife Society
January 27-29, 2010
Visalia Convention Center, Visalia, CA



Conference Information Necropsy Workshop Information

The 2010 conference will be held Wednesday, January 27 through Friday, January 29. The following schedule is a summary of the conference, workshops, and field trips:

Tuesday, January 26
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Animal Disease and Necropsy Workshop

Wednesday, January 27
8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Media Relations Workshop **CANCELLED**
8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. Orienteering Workshop
Noon: Official Conference Opening
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
5:00 to 8:00 p.m.: Welcome mixer, social, and poster session
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.: Chapter Meetings

Thursday, January 28
8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Plenary Session
5:00 to 6:00 p.m.: Annual Business Meeting and Member’s Forum
7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Annual Awards Banquet and Raffle

Friday, January 29
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Concurrent Sessions
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: The American Pika’s Capacity for Resilience in the Face of Climate Change
12:00 to 1:30 p.m.: Student Leadership Lunch and Career Fair
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Western Section Executive Board meeting (all members are welcome)

Saturday, January 30
Field Trips To Be Announced

Conference Theme and Plenary Session

“Fostering Resilient Wildlife Populations”

We have probably all participated at some point in our careers in a restoration or enhancement project benefiting wildlife. It might have been as a kid building and putting up nest boxes, or more recently restoring a meadow after a fire, or mitigating impacts from a development project. Fostering, of course, is the promoting, nurturing, and developing of something, in this case resiliency; or the ability to bounce back from adversity.

This isn’t anything new, but it may be more important now than at any other time in our lifetimes. Wildlife populations are under assault from a suite of stressors that will only get worse as we face the greatest environmental challenge in history, climate change. Invasive species, wildfire, pests, disease, drought, development, and other threats will take their toll and the ability for species to survive will require them to adapt quickly. Their ability to adapt will depend on the quality of habitats available to them and the capacity of these habitats to be resilient.

The theme for next year’s conference is meant to recognize the efforts that are underway or being planned to conserve and restore ecological processes and habitats that will hopefully provide wildlife populations a hedge against adversity and the risks and vulnerabilities they face.

The presentations and panel discussion being planned will stimulate thinking and attempt to focus our collective efforts to identify and meet the most pressing wildlife management challenges lying ahead. The plenary session will be held Thursday afternoon. Speakers to be announced.

Concurrent Sessions

This year’s concurrent sessions are organized primarily around common suites of species, with the addition of several sessions related to techniques used in wildlife research and management. Session titles may be added or changed at a later date. Check for an updated list of technical sessions and schedule.

Session Topic Chair
1Waterfowl Greg Mensik
2Raptors Jeff Lincer
3 Shorebirds and Wetlands Dave Shuford
4 Neotropical MigrantsGeoff Geupel
5 Non-game Species Management: rodents, lagomorphs, bats, carnivoresScott Osborn
6 Game Species ManagementDoug Updike
7 Amphibians and Reptiles Rhys Evans
8 Managed Forests (timber, grazing, recreation)TBA
9 Wildlife Response to RestorationJohn Carlon
10Fire in Wildlife Management Kevin Shaffer
11Genetics Techniques in Wildlife Research and ManagementMark Statham
12Statistical Innovations and ModelingMark Herzog
13Disease and Wildlife Management Deana Clifford and Krysta Rogers
14Wildlife/Human Conflicts Jason Holley
15Climate Change Effects on WildlifeSarah Petiglia
16Wildlife EducationBruce Foreman
17Large Scale Conservation Strategies (banking, easements, and landscape planning)Tina Bartlett and Hal Holland
18Techniques in GIS Tom Lupo
19Wildlife and Pollution Events Julie Yamamoto and Mike Anderson

Special Symposium

The American Pika’s Capacity for Resilience in the Face of Climate Change

The American pika (Ochotona princeps) inhabits rocky mountain slopes of western North America. Due to its habitat requirements and narrow thermal tolerance, the pika is the subject of much recent interest related to its potential vulnerability to climate change. The California Fish and Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have both been petitioned to list American pika as threatened or endangered throughout its range in California and western United States, respectively. Uncertainty regarding the current status of the species has prompted renewed efforts to monitor the occurrence of pika in its historic range, to study the relationship between ambient temperature and pika activity, and to develop conservation strategies for pika. For this symposium, we bring together experts from a variety of fields to describe their most recent pika research. In particular, scientists will present research results relevant to exploring adaptation options for pika in the face of changing climate and habitat modification. Following the research talks, a panel composed of state, federal, and NGO representatives will offer brief comments and take questions. This symposium seeks to foster collaborations that will increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and policy impact of future research, monitoring, and conservation work on pikas throughout western North America.
Click here for confirmed speakers and titles.
Organizers: Toni Lyn Morelli and David Wright

Poster Session

A poster session will be held for the Annual Conference on the evening of Wednesday, January 27, during the welcome mixer and social. Posters will also be available for viewing at other times and locations throughout the week. Those entering a poster for consideration must submit an abstract by November 1, 2009, and clearly indicate that it is a poster presentation. Posters should be no more than 4 feet high by 4 feet wide. Presenters must bring their own supplies (T-pins, push pins, etc.) to attach posters to the display boards. Display boards will be provided.

Student Workshops

Refer to for additional details.


We are planning to have a first ever Early-Bird registration with substantially reduced fees for members and students.  Early-Bird registration will run from October 15-November 15.  Regular registration will be November 15-January 15. Late registration will be January 15-January 22. On-site registration will be available in Visalia.  Regular on-line registration for this meeting is expected to open approximately October 15, 2009.

Special Events

Student–Professional Lunch and Career Fair

The Section will host a student–professional lunch and career fair, free to students, at noon on Friday, January 29, 2010. Students will have the opportunity to discuss career choices, the job market, and job qualifications with practicing professionals from the Western Section. Students should indicate their intent to attend the free lunch when they register for the conference. To participate in the career fair, please contact our 2010 Career Fair coordinator Karen Swaim ( Space is limited. Those not indicating their intent to attend on the registration form will be accommodated as space allows.

Annual Raffle & Auction

A raffle and silent auction will be held during the conference banquet on Thursday, January 28. Tickets for the raffle will be available for purchase throughout the conference. Typical donations for the raffle include wine, wildlife artwork, books, travel and field gear. In addition, the Section is seeking, and will offer through the raffle and auction as available, hunting and fishing trips, adventure travel trips, whitewater rafting trips, and similar items. To donate items for the raffle, please contact raffle coordinators Sandra Hunt-von Arb at or Lisa Ollivier at

Résumé Workshop

The Western Section is pleased to announce the return of our résumé workshop! Barbara Peters from the Career Center at Humboldt State University (along with other professionals) will be present (tentatively scheduled for Friday morning) to offer outstanding guidance on job searching to students and young professionals.

Field Trips

Several field trips are being planned in the Visalia area for Saturday, January 30, immediately following the conference. Monitor the Western Section website for recommendations, updates, trip schedules, and additional trip information. Additional fees may apply.

Additional Information

Student Travel Grants

A limited number of student travel grants may be available. Contact the Awards and Grants Committee Chair ( for additional details.

Student Volunteers and Registration Reimbursement

Currently enrolled students may qualify for registration refunds in exchange for volunteering time and services at the conference. Typical jobs include assisting at the registration desk as well as operating PowerPoint and related equipment during presentations. In some cases, students may be able to work in a session they already plan to attend. Additional information is available from the Volunteer Coordinator (Janae Scruggs, jscruggs "at" Note: Students must pre-register AND pre-pay for the conference. Upon certified completion of a minimum of eight hours’ volunteer service, a request for reimbursement will be provided.

Speaker Registration Waivers

Speakers may qualify for one-day compensated registration to the conference, however speakers will have to pay registration for attending subsequent days, and compensated registration does NOT include admission to the banquet, welcome mixer or social events.

Professional Development

Members will be eligible to earn credit hours for Professional Development, Professional Development Certificates and for TWS Certification renewal (note: meetings such as this do not normally qualify for an initial TWS certification application). Additional information will be provided in the final conference program.

Publication In The Western Section Journal Transactions

Presenters of papers at the Western Section's Annual Conference are encouraged to submit their papers for publication in the "Transactions of the Western Section of The Wildlife Society." The Western Section has been continuously publishing these journals as its technical publication of record since 1966. Between 1966 and 2005, a total of 40 volumes and 655 papers have been published in the Transactions. Original papers in the field of wildlife ecology and management, habitat management, conservation biology, and related natural resource topics are published, and all papers of interest to Western Section members are considered for publication, especially those resulting from presentations at the Section’s Annual Conference. The Transactions has an open submission policy so that manuscripts can be submitted to the Transactions Editor at any time. However, manuscripts must be submitted by the first day of May of a given year to ensure publication in the volume for that year. Manuscripts submitted after May 1will be reviewed, but may not be published until the following year. There are no page charges for papers published by current members of the Western Section! Potential authors should review the guidelines for preparing and submitting manuscripts on the Section web site at or contact the Transactions Editor, John Harris (


Visalia Convention Center
303 E. Acequia
Visalia, CA 93291
(559) 713-4000
Driving Directions
§ From Sacramento (238 miles, 3.3 hrs.). Take State Highway 99 south.
§ From Los Angeles (185 miles, 3 hrs.). Take Interstate 5 north to State Highway 99 north.
§ From State Highway 99 or from the Visalia Airport, take State Highway 198 East to the Central Visalia exit (approximately 7 miles).
§ Remain in the left-hand lane of the frontage road (Noble Avenue).
§ Travel to the 3rd stoplight (Court Street).
§ Turn left on Court and merge to the right-hand lane.
§ Travel on Court to the 2nd stoplight (Acequia Avenue), turn right.
§ The Convention Center is on the South side.
§ Free Parking is available on the North and East sides.
§ Loading docks are on the East side (Bridge Street) of the Center.

Hotel Information and Accommodations

1. Comfort Suites
210 E. Acequia Ave
Visalia, CA 93291
(559) 738-1700
Standard Room Rate $95.00

2. Hampton Inn
4747 W. Noble Ave.
Visalia, CA 93277
(559) 732-3900
Standard Room Rate $95.00



Amtrak: The California Corridor/San Joaquin runs from San Francisco to Southern California with stops in Visalia. Call 1-800-USA-RAIL.Visalia Station Building (with waiting room), 425 E. Oak Street, Visalia Transit Center, Visalia, CA 93291.

Air: The Visalia Municipal Airport is serviced by Great Lakes Aviation with daily flights to and from Ontario International Airport. Just 45 minutes north, The Fresno Yosemite International Airport provides for national air transportation.


A listing of restaurants will be provided to conference registrants and on our website.

Call for Papers

All papers associated with the general meeting will be presented Wednesday through Friday, January 27-29, 2010.

We are soliciting abstracts for posters and 20-minute oral presentations for the concurrent technical and poster sessions. Abstract content should be consistent with technical session topics listed below, and may consist of either final or interim original research results. The conference program and session chairs will evaluate submitted abstracts to determine final concurrent session topics. In general, presenters should expect to speak for no more than 17 minutes, allowing for an introduction and limited Q&A after each presentation.

Abstract Submissions on-line at

All submitted abstracts may not be accepted. Acceptance of proposed papers is solely at the discretion of the Program Committee. Abstract submittal does not guarantee a place on the schedule.

The deadline for submission of both Oral Presentation and Poster abstracts is November 30, 2009. Abstracts should not exceed 350 words, excluding title and author addresses, should be in Arial 12-point font, and must adhere to format and layout elements provided in the example below. Indicate the preferred session and whether the paper will be an oral presentation or a poster. Student presentations are eligible for cash awards. Students should indicate their intent to compete for these awards.

Please submit abstracts electronically by filling out the interactive form on the Section website. Questions may be directed via email to the Program Chair, Armand Gonzales,

Speakers are expected to register for the conference and cover their travel and lodging expenses. See the Western Section website for registration and other conference information. The following page provides an example of the abstract format.



Preferred Session: Wildlife in Riparian and Aquatic Habitats

Type of paper: Oral presentation

If a student, indicate if you intend to participate in the Student Judging.

Paper Title: Monitoring bats in a restored montane willow meadow

Szewczak, Joseph M.; Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst St., Arcata, CA, 95521, USA, 707/826-4132, Fax: 707/826-3201, Email:

During the 1920s, the water table of the Knuthson meadow (Carman Valley, Sierra County, CA) was lowered to facilitate a railroad by diverting the original stream flow into a deeply incised channel. Over time, headward erosion in the diversion channel further lowered the water table across the meadow enabling xeric vegetation to replace much of the original willow-dominant riparian/wet meadow vegetation. Restoration work during 2001 plugged the incised diversion channel and returned the streamflow to its original channel with the intention to restore the meadow’s hydrology, vegetation, bio-productivity and wildlife potential, for example to accommodate species of concern such as the endangered willow flycatcher. We monitored bat activity (64 person nights) and species composition (51 person nights) four years prior to the restoration, and three years post-restoration over riparian, willow, and sage-scrub zones of the meadow. In all three zones, activity, and abundance, as reflected by time to asymptote of species accumulation curves, increased significantly 2.4, 6.2, and 11-fold respectively over these zones. The unexpectedly rapid post-restoration increase in bat presence may reflect a transitional increase in insect abundance resulting from the disturbances caused by the restoration work rather than the eventual return to the original mature willow meadow condition.