February 24, 2014

Whiles to lead freshwater research group

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE. Ill. -- A researcher at Southern Illinois University Carbondale has been elected to head a leading freshwater research group. 

Matt Whiles, professor of zoology in the College of Science, was elected president of the Society for Freshwater Science. He will serve next year a president-elect before serving as president. 

Whiles’ research focuses on groups of animals that consume nutrients, especially invertebrates, and the role they play in an ecosystem. He conducts much of his research in streams and wetlands, as well as studying invertebrates in terrestrial settings. Whiles has a high interest in the effects disturbances in the invertebrate community have on the ecosystem. 

Whiles is director of the Center for Ecology at SIU. 

“As president of the Society for Freshwater Science, I will work with the governing board on all aspects of society business, including strategic planning for the future of the society, meetings and related activities,” Whiles said. “I also will help promote the society and its journal, ‘Freshwater Science,’ and the society’s education and outreach activities.” 

The society for Freshwater Research is an international research group with about 2,000 members. Its purpose is promoting further understanding of freshwater ecosystems including rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries, and ecosystems at the interface between aquatic and terrestrial habitats such as wetlands, bogs, fens, riparian forests and grasslands. 

The society helps scientists exchange information among within its membership, and with other professional societies, resource managers, policy makers, educators and the public. The members’ has direct applications in areas including habitat and water quality assessment, conservation, fisheries and invasive species management, integrated water resource management, and restoration.