The sun is out and for a few glorious days it really feels like summer in the UK!! For first and second year PhD students this is great time to get into the field to collect data followed by the peace and quiet of universities during undergrad holidays for analysis and writing up. But for those of us in third year, with fieldwork now (mostly!) completed, this time of year provides exciting, nerve-wracking chances to present our new findings at conferences!
As my PhD is generously supported by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (the FSBI), I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to attend one of their legendary conferences! Several hundred scientists from all over the world converged (or should that be shoaled?) at Exeter University for a week long foray into the incredible world of fish!
I was presenting two elements of my research: a poster on my first sunfish study ‘Seeking the sun in deep, dark places: Mesopelagic sightings of ocean sunfishes’ and a 12 minute presentation of my latest work ‘Applying species distribution models to a data poor, pelagic fish complex: The ocean sunfishes’ and so it was with a heady mixture of nerves and excitement that I hiked up the hill from Exeter train station and breathlessly entered the enormous glass entrance hall at the Forum. I needn’t have worried, without exception biologists are incredibly relaxed, friendly people and within 10 minutes I had my poster up, conference goody bag in hand and was chatting fish with incredible scientists.
The FSBI attracts researchers from all over the world and I loved the jam-packed program with presentations, speed talks and posters which kept us busy from 8.30am till 7pm, interspersed by cream teas, socials and sports and followed every night by music, quizzes and dinners. I met such an incredible array of inspirations scientists, my notebook is now full of papers to read, tweeps to follow and ideas to try! As if this wasn’t enough already, I was delighted to be awarded second prize in the student talks and I found more researchers interested in sunfish ecology with collaborative plans already taking shape. If you are interested in any aspect of aquatic biology I cannot recommend this conference enough!
Many thanks to the FSBI for putting on such a great event (& for putting the photos online, many of which have been borrowed for this blog!) and here’s looking forward to #FSBI18, hope to see you there!
Any questions about PhD life, sunfish science or just fancy a fish chat? Use the comment box below or get in touch through my twitter @SunfishResearch