Nile Kemble, U.S. Geological Survey

The Ozark-Prairie Regional Chapter of SETAC North America (OP-SETAC) held its annual meeting from 14–16 May at The Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park facility in Springfield, Missouri. The theme of the meeting was “Celebrating 30 Years of OP-SETAC.”

The meeting kicked off Monday evening with a social gathering on the patio at a local restaurant, where old friends could catch up and new friends could be made. The dinner discussion included selecting the location of the 2019 meeting and if the chapter would like to pursue a joint meeting with another regional chapter near OP-SETAC.

Tuesday started with a welcome message from Mike Kromrey, executive director of the Watershed Center facility. The conference officially kicked off with a welcome and opening presentation by OP-SETAC President Amber Thompsett-Higley.

Nile Kemble spoke on the 30-year history of OP-SETAC. He spoke about past meetings, from the first meeting held in 1988 in Memphis, Tennessee, all the way up to this year’s meeting in Springfield, Missouri. Kemble shared stories with the attendees about meetings he had previously attended and talked about memorable events, which included:

  • Tours of Mud Island in Memphis, Tennessee, Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer Laboratories
  • How he was inspired to give back to the chapter and broader society by serving at various levels and by judging student presentations
  • The pollinators panel discussion on honeybee declines and research on how to save honeybees and other pollinators
  • How some of the social events, like volleyball and the Monday night dinner social, became staples at OP-SETAC meetings

A few humorous moments were also shared, like camping at the Ames meeting, where two folks froze all night in a tent essentially made for one person, all in the name of saving $3 for the government; the mad dash for the Desert Dome at the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, which turned out to be similar to the Griswold’s visit to the Grand Canyon in the movie Vacation; and the volleyball tournament at Busch Conservation Area, where Joel Coats loaded his team up with two former college volleyball players.

Jennifer Bouldin of Arkansas State University represented the SETAC North America Board of Directors by presenting a current State of SETAC informational talk. Bouldin was also the keynote speaker and discussed mussel collections and mussel research her university is conducting throughout the state of Arkansas. Bouldin spoke on mussel surveys done in the various regions of the state as part of a grant to document the status of freshwater mussels, including several endangered species.

Ozark-Prairie student travel award winners

Student travel awards were presented to four deserving recipients.

This year’s meeting consisted of 11 platform presentations, 10 of which were presented by students, and eight poster presentations (seven by students) on a variety of topics relative to the Ozark-Prairie region. Tuesday’s events concluded with a pizza social at the meeting venue.

Student travel awards for the SETAC North America 39th Annual Meeting, which will he held from 4–8 November in Sacramento, California, were presented to four students this year. Student presentation award winners this year included:

  • Platform Winners
    • Christopher Goodchild from Oklahoma State University – “A novel approach to measuring oxidative damage to avian red blood cells exposed to crude oil”
    • Md Ibrahim from Oklahoma State University – “Cytotoxicity, accumulation, and bio-reactivity of silver and copper on a gradient of chloride concentrations in the rainbow trout gut cell line (RTgutGC)”
  • Poster Winners
    • Kendall Scarlett from Oklahoma State University – “Toad prey-orientation sensitivity to OP exposure”
    • Jeffrey Krall from Oklahoma State University – “In vitro crude oil exposure causes membrane fragility and hemoglobin denaturation in avian red blood cells”

The meeting wrapped up Wednesday morning with a tour of Chris Barnhart’s freshwater mussel facilities at Missouri State University. Barnhart presented a brief overview of the unique freshwater mussel life cycle and why freshwater mussels are an important test species, followed by a tour of the laboratories where mussels are collected from their host fish, where mussels are grown out, some of their research on filtering rates of mussels, and finally, part of his freshwater mussel collection.

Plans are in the works for the 2019 meeting. Watch our Facebook page and website for details as they develop. We thank EAG Laboratories and Monsanto for their generous support of our student awards program.

Author’s contact information: nkemble@usgs.gov

View job opportunities in the SETAC Career Center
Register for SETAC Toronto
Submit a session proposal for SETAC Dublin
Virtual issue on PFAS