Another successful WSN (Western Society of Naturalists) has come and gone after this weekends’ annual meeting in Sacramento, and San Diego State was well represented, with 2 faculty members, over 20 graduate students, and 3 undergraduates. The Edwards lab BEERPIGS made up a large portion of these attendees, and all 8 grad student members gave a presentation or poster, spanning research from Moray eel trophic ecology to eelgrass carbon usage.
The meeting, themed this year towards linking science and policy, kicked off Thursday with a successful graduate student workshop that focused on how students can integrate their science with policy and management. We met with scientists and policy makers from the across the West coast to discuss how we can more effectively translate our science into action and increase the value of our work. The diverse research interests in our lab group range from invasive species management, community biodiversity, coastal carbon cycling, to evaluating MPAs, and each of us took a bit from this workshop that we could apply to our own work.
Our talks and posters began Friday and lasted through Sunday- each of which could be a whole blog post on their own! But to avoid writing a novel, here the highlights:
Priya Shukla gave a fantastic talk on her (recently completed!) master’s thesis research entitled “Impact of elevated pCO2 and temperature on multiple life stages of the giant kelp”. Melissa Blando summarized her findings on the broodstock conditions of abalone and their implications in the aquaculture industry. Monica Tydlaska spoke about visitor perception of Marine Protected Areas in San Diego. Scott Gabara gave a very attended talk on the dietary niche breadth of California Moray eels across their ontogeny. The rest of the lab members- Sadie Small, Genoa Sullaway, Melissa Ward, Tristin McHugh, and Pike Spector, all gave posters presentations on their research.
In between presenting our own research, we all got the opportunity to get updated on recent research by attending other talks, and networking during breaks. Some of this “networking” continued into the night, particularly on Saturday after the president’s speech and traditional auction shenanigans ensued. After catching the last few talks on Sunday and hearing an influential plenary talk from Dr. Steven Gaines [entitled "Moving from Defining Problems to Driving Environmental Solutions"], bags were packed and the BEERPIGS headed back to San Diego. All in all, it was an extremely successful WSN, and we are all already planning for next year’s centennial meeting in Monterrey!
Author: Melissa Ward