2021 OBFS Overview

2021 OBFS Annual Meeting (Virtual)

Dates: Sep. 20-27, 2021


The University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station is excited to host the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Organization of Biological Field Stations. This meeting will be held in a virtual-only format.

As of Aug. 17, 2021, the OBFS planning committee transitioned the Annual Meeting to an ALL VIRTUAL format.

* Existing reservations: all reservations have been converted to virtual reservations and refunds have been issued. Please log in to your account for an updated invoice.
* New Virtual registration:  The reservation site will remain open for new reservations through Sep. 19. However, workshop registration will end on Monday, Sep. 13 at Noon MDT.  



The meeting agenda is currently a live document and will be updated as changes become available:  

Current Agenda (updated 9/9/2021)


 View of Yellow Bay from Elrod Building webcam

Workshops (optional)

Several optional virtual workshops will be held during the OBFS meeting.



The Virtual Field

Title:  The Virtual Field - From Sea to Sky: Smartphone Videography, Photography, and Immersive 360 Imagery for Field Stations and Marine Labs

Workshop Leaders: Claudia Luke, Sarah Oktay, Morgan Heim, Dustin Angell, Sara Kassis, Ryan Pettersen

Affiliations: The Virtual Field Project

Contact person:  Claudia Luke; lukec@sonoma.edu

Date/Time: Tuesday Sep 21 am and pm

Format:  Virtual

Participant Limits: unlimited virtual

Cost: $50.00/virtual participant

Overview: In this two part workshop, you will go on a filming adventure with award-winning wildlife photographer, researcher, and filmmaker Morgan Heim and get your feet wet exploring the world of 360 immersive imagery for field learning. In the morning, Morgan Heim will teach us smartphone techniques for field videos and imagery. In the afternoon, we will dive into 360 immersive learning with Sara Kassis and Ryan Pettersen, learning how to use our smartphones to create 360 images and how to use Thinglink to create interactive video globes. Activities will be hands on. Attendees should bring their cell phones. All skill levels welcome.


Title:  UFERN - Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network (UFERN) Model to Design Student-Centered Undergraduate Field Experiences

Workshop Leaders: Kari O'Connell, Alan Berkowitz, Chris Lorentz, Ryan Petterson, Alison Jolley, Stephanie Shaulaksiy

Affiliations: Oregon State University, Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, Thomas More University, Stanford University, University of Waikato, University of Michigan Biological Field Station

Contact person:  Kari O'Connell; kari.oconnell@oregonstate.edu

Date/Time: Wed Sep 22 am

Format:  Virtual

Participant Limits: unlimited virtual

Cost: $0/participant


Undergraduate field learning experiences have a long history of preparing students for careers in field-based sciences, yet what constitutes an effective field learning experience is not clearly defined. Field learning experiences vary from short field “labs” integrated into university courses, weeks or months-long courses at field stations and marine labs, traveling geology courses, to weeks-long research opportunities.

The Undergraduate Field Experiences Research Network (UFERN) has built an interdisciplinary network of researchers and practitioners focused on improving undergraduate field learning experiences. UFERN has developed the UFERN Model that highlights the suites of factors that influence student outcomes of field learning experiences for the full diversity of formats. The UFERN Model can be a resource to help design more inclusive learning experiences, guide research about field learning, or evaluate student outcomes.

During the workshop, we will introduce the UFERN Model, and participants will apply it to an undergraduate field program (e.g., research experience for undergraduates, field course, field trip) using the elements of the Model, Design Factors, Student Context Factors, and Student Outcomes. Participants will use the Model to reflect on and consider the design of their own undergraduate field programs and identify what elements in their programs they are motivated to change and what kinds of student assessment data to collect based on working with the Model.

This interactive workshop will emphasize improving student experiences and outcomes, with a particular focus on access and inclusion. Participants who took the workshop at the 2020 OBFS meeting will find the workshop familiar, but we have modified the workshop in the following ways: refinement of the individual pre-work and materials used to walk through the UFERN Model, more emphasis on small-group discussions, and facilitation and examples from faculty who have been using the Model to improve their undergraduate field programs. We will ask participants in the workshop to do some individual pre-work so they can take full advantage of discussion in small groups during the workshop.


Title:  EDI - Publishing Field Station Data Made Easy!

Workshop Leaders: Kristin Vanderbilt, Colin Smith

Affiliations: Environmental Data Initiative

Contact person:  Kristin Vanderbilt; krvander@fiu.edu

Date/Time: Wed am, Sep 22

Format:  Virtual

Participant Limits: unlimited virtual

Cost: $10/participant


The Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) was funded by NSF to accelerate curation, archiving, and publishing of environmental data for NSF-funded organizations such as OBFS.

The benefits of publishing data are: 1) Meeting obligations to funders (e.g., NSF requires data collected with NSF funds to be made publicly accessible); 2) Meeting obligations to publishers (e.g., ESA now requires publication of data underpinning journal articles published by ESA press); 3) Increasing exposure of your field station as a place with data that are findable, accessible and reusable; and 4) Having an easy mechanism to display your field station’s data resources on its own website.

Topics to be covered in the workshop are the following: 1) What is a data repository and why you need to know this; 2) Cleaning and organizing datasets in preparation for publishing them in a data repository; 3) Describing data with metadata so others can re-use them; 4) Standardizing metadata and why it is important; 5) Publishing the data: what happens behind the curtain at EDI 6) How to show off your data on your web page.

This workshop is appropriate for all OBFS scientists, students and site managers to share our new, very user-friendly workflow for archiving data in the EDI Repository.