Last weekend, Duke University held its first annual Joint Ecology/Marine Lab Symposium at Duke's Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. This was an interdisciplinary symposium for different departments and programs to share their research. Everyone from first-year graduate students with ideas about potential graduate work to tenured faculty with well developed research programs participated. The diverse range of experience and eclectic ecological expertise promoted discussion between sometimes separate groups of ecology.
Both students and faculty have been carefully planning this event for months. The event was extremely successful, and those who took the time to coordinate all of the student and faculty speakers should take a well-deserved break. Now that a week has passed since the seminar, I want to share some of my thoughts about the symposium.
The symposium was a two-day event filled with "ignite" talks (four minutes), short talks (twelve minutes), keystone talks (one hour talks by faculty) and posters. I unfortunately missed some of the student talks on the first evening, but was fortunately able to make the second day's events. I learned about how disease affects coral populations in Florida to how to model tree population persistance under future climate scenarios. In the evening, students presented posters about their work. It was a really positive way for us (students) to learn about each other's research interests, practice presenting our work, and receive feedback about in a casual environment.
After a stimulating, yet exhausting day, I walked away from the conference cognizant of how broad the field of ecology is. Sometimes, as scientists, we find ourselves buried deep our own, very specific, research. It was striking to me that although I study how plants might be affected by climate change, I really don't understand how animals are responding. The conversations that I had this past weekend forced me to both think about the larger picture of my own research and spend more time learning about other study systems.
I am certainly looking forward to attending the second annual Duke JEM symposium next year, and hope that I can attend a larger ecology conference next summer.
About this blog:
I created this blog as part of the Phipps Botany in Action Program, 2015 - 2017