Just a little taste of NOLA for you!
The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference was packed with good food, great people, and more science than you can shake a stick at. Days began at 8:30 a.m. with talks or a poster session and continued to 6:30 p.m. with various breaks for lunch, coffee, and necessary stretching and walking around. There were some serious marine chemistry superheroes at the GoM conference and it has been amazing to see and talk with people that I cite on a regular basis. More importantly we finally met the Reddy lab from WHOI. We have been trading samples back and forth for analysis since the summer and we finally got to see all of them.
The speakers were great and (dare I say?) exhausting. Each speaker has 15 minutes to present their research question, subsequent findings, and then any conclusions. This happened for 2 hours at a time. There sheer bulk of information was amazing. There were numerous talks directly related to the research we are doing in lab right now, and it was really helpful to listen and talk with people about what they are working on, the problems they encountered, and how they dealt with them to better focus our own work.
Day one (Monday) I spent going back and forth between talks on time series, dispersants, analytical methods, and ocean modeling. Day two (Tuesday) was spent exclusively in talks devoted to new analytical methods (chaired by Chris Reddy of WHOI). These presentations were helpful, not just because of the information given, but also in figuring out how best to go forward and present my own work. I presented my poster at the evening session and spoke to a ton of people, not just about my own work, but how it dovetailed into others’ work as well. Because the polar components of oil are so hard to measure, our work is actually pretty novel and exciting within the scientific community!
The entire trip was a great mixture of formal lecture-style presentations and causal conversations (with the casual heated argument about methods and final conclusions thrown in just for fun). Too bad Pennsylvania winter looks nothing like Burbon Street…