Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Graduate Science Symposium

Welcome to the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Graduate Science Symposium!

Austin Cary Forest

The Graduate Student Symposium (GSS) is a department-funded, student-run event that has occurred annually since 1998. The GSS is designed to provide a supportive environment where students in the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program (FAS) can hone their communication skills and receive feedback on their research from peers, staff, and faculty. Student participants travel from FAS facilities across the state to share their research with other members of the UF community; many of us look forward to the GSS for that very reason.

The format of the GSS has evolved over the years and is currently a single-day event held at the Austin Cary Forest’s Roland T. Stern Learning Center. Student presenters are able to choose between full-length talks, speed talks, or poster presentations. Interspersed between student presentation are professional TED talks given by faulty and post docs.

Download the Program

Aerial shot of the Roland T. Stern Learning Center at the Austin Cary Forest

The Ronald T. Stern Learning Center at the Austin Cary Forest


Symposium attendees networking between presentation sessions.


2020 Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Graduate Science Symposium

February 28, 2020 at the Austin Cary Forest


Registration Deadline: January 31, 2020
Abstract Deadline: February 7, 2020


Oral presentations will either be speed talks or full-length talks. Full-length talks will be scheduled for 15-minute time slots. Your talk should be 12 minutes in length, allowing for 3 minutes of questions. Speed talks will occupy the entirety of a 5-minute timeslot (i.e., no questions). We will have moderators to assist with timing and will adhere to our schedule.

Posters should be no more than 36*48 inches in dimension.

Please follow the directions below for formatting your abstract:

Abstracts should be submitted to the following Dropbox link:

If the presentation abstract is not the following format, it will be returned with instructions to fix it. Please follow the guidelines for consistency and reduced work for your fellow students in preparing the GSS program. If you have any questions email Derek Chamberlin ( or Allison Durland-Donahou ( Thanks!

Please use Times New Roman and 12-point font for the entire abstract unless otherwise specified. The title should be bold. The presenting author should be underlined. If there are multiple authors from multiple institutions for the abstract, please indicate them with corresponding superscript numbers. The affiliated institution(s) should be in 10-point font. The corresponding author email (label in bold) should be provided. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Finally, at the end of your abstract, please provide what type of presentation you were assigned.

Example Formatted Abstract:

Preliminary results of the captive reproduction of Otocinclus vittatus.

Bryan L. Danson, and Cortney Ohs
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Indian River and Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agriculture Science, University of Florida, Fort Pierce, FL.
Corresponding author email: Bryan Danson

Otocinclus vittatus are small, South American armored catfishes belonging to the family Loricariidae and popular in the private aquaria market. Currently, all O. vittatus are collected from the wild and captive reproductive methods have proven elusive for commercial fish producers. The Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association (FTFFA) prioritized O. vittatus as a potential species to diversify and strengthen the Florida ornamental aquaculture industry. Little is known about spawning triggers and no methodology has yet been determined to reliably spawn O. vittatus. Other South American ornamental species have successfully been triggered to spawn via a simulation of a dry season followed by a wet season as would be found in their native range. Water hardness and temperature are two of the water quality parameters commonly manipulated to trigger this simulated change in seasons. Here we present the preliminary results of the manipulation of these water quality parameters, and the ongoing investigations. In addition, precise control of spawning events allows for producers to make stocks available outside of the normal spawning season and reduces labor and resources by allowing them to determine when best to spawn a particular species of fish. Hormone injections, such as Ovaprim a gonadotropin-releasing hormone with a dopamine antagonist, are often used as spawning aids to control spawning events. We evaluate the use of the spawning aid Ovaprim and its efficacy with O. vittatus. Future research directions will also be addressed.

Presentation type: Full-length talk

Deadline to register is January 31, 2020 at 11:59pm

Register at

2020 GSS schedule is forthcoming

2019 GSS Program

February 7: Notification of type of talk
February 24: Final schedule released

Dr. Olaf Jensen

Dr. Jensen is originally from Callicoon, NY on the Upper Delaware River. He attended Cornell University for a BA in Biology & Society and then the University of Maryland Chesapeake Biological Lab for an MS in Marine Science. He completed his Ph.D. research at the University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology, followed by a postdoc (Smith Fellowship) at the University of Washington. Dr. Jensen joined the Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers as an Assistant Professor in 2010 and will join the faculty of the University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology as an Associate Professor in the summer of 2020.

Dr. Jensen’s lab is focused on fisheries and aquatic ecosystems – including marine, estuarine, and freshwater environments. The word fishery refers to an entire social-ecological system including a wild fish or invertebrate population, as well as the fishermen and processors who harvest and sell the fish (in a commercial fishery), and the managers who regulate the fishery to prevent overharvest. His lab’s research topics range from field studies of endangered salmonids in Mongolia to meta-analysis of stock assessment data to better understand fish population dynamics. Specific focus areas include: (1) the impacts of climate change on rivers, lakes, and their fish communities, (2) use of chemical biomarkers (stable isotopes and fatty acids) to understand aquatic food webs, and (3) stock assessment and management of fisheries.

2020 Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee

Chair: Justin Lewis (
Program scheduling: Derek Chamberlin ( and Allison Durland-Donahou (
Presentation logistics: Michael Espriella (
Volunteer coordinator: Aaron Pilnick (
Catering organizer: Scott Borsum (
Symposium site logistics: Amy Oxton (
Student evaluations and awards: Nick Fisch ( and Lisa Chong (
Website design: Diana Perry ( and Justin Lewis