Last week, I attended the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Portland, OR. I was presenting a poster of one of my projects. The poster presentation went really well. I had some great interactions with other researchers and received really good feedback. The conversations ranged from “I didn’t know water mites existed” to “what are the implications of your work for the rest of biology”. So I had very broad conversations about diversity and very focused discussions about the intricacies of the host-parasite association I study. The diversity was very refreshing because I felt like I opened the eyes of some to a whole new world of critters but at the same time I was challenged with having to defend my research interests.
As for the conference itself I was amazed at the amount and breadth of research that is being done. It is not the first conference I have attended in my career but people really study the neatest things. I have to admit that there were bad talks and good talks but the diversity of questions people are studying is amazing. It definitely demonstrates that there will always be neat system and organisms to observe and study. The conference was at the Oregon Convention Center (Picture 1). The Entomological Society of America will have its meeting there in two years. It’s a good spot. There are about a dozen breweries at a walking or lightrail ride distance from the convention center. There is a Chinese bell (Picture 2) in front of the convention center that rings randomly. We found out that it rings because it lets the people from the convention center know that they are on break. The center is also close to the river, about a 5 minute walk. Because it was so close to the water, I even saw dragonflies flying around outside.
Portland itself is an interesting city. As I mentioned before, it has many microbreweries, and many outdoor stores; which is awesome for somebody that likes the outdoors. There are many coffee shops as well. I think Portland is a good hub to either go towards the Pacific, a couple hour drive west (Picture 3), or the volcanic mountains (Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Jeferson, even Mount Rainier is not that far!); North,East and South. I would gladly go back there to spend more time in nature both along the beaches and on the slopes of mountains.
Better get back to working on my thesis.