One of the two poster rooms at the 2016 OSM.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

While this blog will mainly feature our research stories, we thought it would be relevant to share another important experience as a scientist: attending scientific conferences. Scientists often attend conferences where they present and discuss their research with other scientists. These conferences are amazing opportunities to meet with colleagues in person because they draw people from around the world together to discuss their research. Everyone from students, both undergraduate and graduate, to seasoned experts in their field, attend conferences.

The 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) is one such large scientific conference that focuses on all aspects of marine, and sometimes freshwater, science. Many graduate students from the Santa Barbara Coastal (SBC) and California Current Ecosystem (CCE) LTER sites attended this year’s OSM conference held in New Orleans two weeks ago, and it was a great opportunity to share our science and have fun with our colleagues in a great city. Here are some of the sights and sounds of our student experience at the conference!

At conferences, researchers can give talks or poster presentations of their research. When conferences have thousands of attendees, like OSM, only a fraction of the scientists have time to give talks about their research, while the rest present their research in poster format in a very large room with rows and rows of posters.

Here are a couple CCE and SBC students by their respective posters:

Sloane Viola (SBC), The Role of Disturbance, Larval Supply, and Native Community on the Establishment of a Non-Native Species on Oil Platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

Ali Freibott (CCE), Patterns of phytoplankton diversity and mortality due to grazing across trophic gradients in the Southern California Current.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

Maitreyi Nagarkar (CCE), Temporal Dynamics of Microbial Plankton Diversity at a Long-Term Ecological Monitoring Site.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

And here is grad student Jennifer Brandon (CCE) giving a talk about effective outreach techniques related to her marine debris research:

Jennifer Brandon (CCE), “Plastic Pollution: Myths, Facts, and How You Can Help”: Presenting a popular but poorly understood topic to broad and diverse audiences.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

In addition to the talks and poster presentations, there is ample time to mingle with other scientists (including LTER student alums) over libations and snacks during breaks and evening mixers.

CCE students Jennifer Brandon, Alexis Pasulka (alumna), Catherine Nickels, and Ali Freibott.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

LTER students and PIs mixing during the poster sessions and talking about science.
Credit: Alexandra Freibott

The student SBC and CCE attendees even met for a get together at an historic New Orleans spot, Pat O’Briens:

Conferences are an amazing experience as a graduate student, giving us a chance to share our research, meet with colleagues from around the world and form new collaborations for the future. The CCE and SBC students represented LTER marine sites well at this year’s OSM – and had a lot of fun while doing it!

freibott_authorpicAuthor: Ali Freibott

Ali is a 5th year PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California and studies microbial ecology in the California Current. She is an avid reader and enjoys taking her dog Louie for long walks on the beach during work breaks.