This week marked the 21st Biennial conference of the Society of Marine Mammology (SMM) . For any budding marine mammologist, this conference is a dream come true – many of the great authors and researchers that we read in class and cite regularly are HERE in San Francisco. We have the chance to make some great connections for current and future research.
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories was well represented this year, with many former and present students giving poster or oral presentations. Those that did not present were in attendance, lending support and enthusiasm.
One of the unique things about the field of marine science is that it is so interdisciplinary. I was able to attend talks that discussed everything from paleontology to acoustics. I tried to spend a lot of time listening to topics that I am unfamiliar with – when else will I get to hear a complex topic explained by an expert!
Of course, no conference would be complete without evening events to level out our science-filled brains after a day of talks. This year was spectacular, and we only left when we could no longer stay awake.
Second only to all of the cool science, my favorite part of the conference was a workshop put on (in part) by our own Gitte McDonald and Alison Stimpert.
The workshop addressed a myriad of topics under the umbrella of work-life balance. I don’t know a single graduate student (in any field) who wouldn’t benefit from putting a little thought into this topic. The theme of the 21st SMM was “bridging the past towards the future”, and I was proud to see MLML scientists helping to do just that.
I leave you with a picture of our fearless leader, director Jim Harvey, getting into the spirit of the conference.
Let’s do it again soon – I’ll see you at SMM Halifax 2017!