Newfoundland, Canada can be an inhospitable place in the dead of winter. In January 2013, a unfortunate mass die-off of Dovekies (Alle alle) created an opportunity to document their levels of plastic ingestion. Our research, recently published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, found that nearly one third of the seabirds had ingested at least one piece of plastic. This is the highest recorded ingestion rate ever found for Dovekies in this area, or elsewhere.
Unfortunately, our ability to understand the cause of this increase is undermined by the inconsistent methods past studies have used to document plastic ingestion. Using comparable methods is paramount, since each study is meant to add a piece to a global puzzle so that the scientific community can track trends in plastic ingestion in wildlife. This Newfoundland-based study provides a great example of just how important using standardized methods really is.
The publication is available here.
Additional coverage on the story is available here: http://meopar.ca/news/entry/mass-seabird-die-off-an-opportunity-for-plastic-ingestion-research
Brackendale Ecology and Evolution Conference. Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference. Postgraduate Conference. These three conferences have one thing in common - they are organized for students, by students.
And in my personal opinion, both the student conferences I attended as a MSc student at the University of British Columbia, and the one I just participated in as a PhD student at the University of Queensland are hugely valuable. They foster a sense of community, are a chance to solicit peer feedback, and they are among the most inexpensive conferences you will ever attend. And in addition, organizing conferences such as these are a great opportunity for graduate students to demonstrate leadership.
Below is the 'story' (using Storify) of the UQ Biological Sciences Postgrad Conference!
n our recent Letter to Science, we introduce a novel concept of using Twitter as an online platform for conferences offers a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face meetings can help scientists reduce their carbon footprint. We use the two very successful World Seabird Twitter Conference (#WSTC1 & #WSTC2, run by a group of volunteers( on behalf of the World Seabird Union) as examples to demonstrate the engagement from the scientific community, general public, and traditional media.
This concept could be broadly applicable to science societies (E.g., AAAS or Society for Conservation Biology) seeking new innovative ways to maintaining engagement and rapid information flow in between traditional meetings, while reducing the financial and environmental burdens associated with international travel.
For more information on how to run a Twitter conference, please get in touch!
*The World Seabird Union Twitter Conferences (#WSTC1 & #WSTC2) were organized by Grant Humpheries, Sjúrður Hammer, Stephanie Avery-Gomm, Danielle Fife, Katherine Keogan, Max Czapanskiy, Helen Wade, Stephanie Borrelle, James Grecian, Alex Robbins, and Michelle Goh.
Conferences are big business. They are expensive to get to not to mention of the carbon cost of hundreds of delegates flying around the globe to meet in person! Well, the 2nd World Seabird Twitter Conference just wrapped up, and it was a resounding success.
Yesterday I caught up with Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)'s David Curnow to explain what a Twitter Conference is and how a global community of seabird scientists came together to share their research with each other - and the general public - in presentations of 6 tweets or less.
If you missed the Conference, we've curated the Proceedings of the 2nd World Seabird Twitter Conference (#WSTC2) for your reading pleasure.
There are benefits to a conference you can attend in your pajamas. You are comfortable for one. But what I didn't realize before getting involved with the World Seabird Twitter Conference is the sense of community that comes from remotely connecting with hundreds of like-minded researchers and organizations. Nor did I anticipate the full value of all the presentations that would be shared.
The second World Seabird Twitter Conference, which started at 10AM UTC has already surpassed the popularity of the first. Anybody on twitter can tune in by looking up the hashtag #WSTC2. More information is in the program.
It's already stratospheric and I am very pleased to have been part of the organizing committee with Sjúrður Hammer @sjurdur, Danielle Fife @Danielle_T_Fife, Katherine Keogan @KatharineKeogan, Max Czapanskiy @mfczap, Helen Wade @Helen_Wade_ and Stephanie Borrelle @ PetrelStation.