Tuesday, July 6, 2010

American Elasmobranch Society!

I'm currently at the American Elasmobranch Society meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. Elasmobranch includes sharks, skates, and rays, but for the sake of these blog entrees, I'll use shark to mean all elasmobranchs. It makes life easier. This is a meeting where shark people get together and discuss their research! The AES meeting is also held in conjunction with the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, so it gets to be a pretty big conference. 1500 attendees are expected. I'll be here through July 13th, and oral presentations run from July 8-12. It feels like there are more and more shark talks every year...it's terrific!

Of course, keep in mind that the World Cup finals are also during this time period, so I'll definitely be taking some breaks to watch the finals matches... Go Netherlands!

The first AES meeting I ever attended was in 2002 in Kansas City. I knew nothing about shark research, my undergrad degree was in History & Theatre, but I knew I wanted a change in fields. I showed up at the conference as a general attendee, sat through some fish morphology and taxonomy talks, and made my way to the shark talks... I met a couple graduate students and then a Mote Marine Lab researcher, who took me and another pre-graduate student under his wing... He introduced us to other scientists, professors, and graduate students. He's now a professor at a university in Florida with his own lab. He's a fantastic mentor...and hooked me on shark reproduction with a talk on "Why (clasper) Size Does Matter."

I met so many great people at the first meeting who continued to support and mentor me, and met up with them 5 years later in St. Louis. Now it's been 3 more years, and I get to catch up with all the GIANTS in the shark world, whom I am honoured to call my friends. How wonderful and wild life is...

I've been hanging out in the lobby, stalking the arrival of my shark guys, who are slowly showing up... So I'm going to go network and catch up! Stay tuned...

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