I was fortunate to be selected by the International Fish Section of the American Fisheries Society and the Fisheries Society of the British Isles to attend the annual FSBI meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I traveled nearly 6000 km by air and train to take part in an outstanding meeting. In the process I met some new friends, drank some good beer and learned a lot!
Mother Nature provided beautiful weather and the campus of Queen’s University provided a perfect backdrop to discuss fish and climate change, the topic of this year’s meeting. Presentations, especially by student participants, were of the highest caliber. Topics ranged from physiology and growth to community ecology and management. I was extremely pleased by the diversity of research and the large number of countries represented. This was especially evident during the poster sessions, where researchers were able to spend more time discussing their projects. Highlights of the meeting included multiple key note speakers such as Hans Pörtner and Malcom Elliot, the Jack Jones Memorial lecture given by John Magnuson from the University of WisconsinMadison, two poster sessions, an evening pub quiz, and a final symposium banquet held in the Great Hall.
As I rode the train back to Dublin for my return trip to the States, I thought about my new friends from Scandinavia, the U.K. and Europe, the amount of high quality fisheries research on the impacts of climate change, and how much I didn’t want to leave. However, I also thought of many students and colleagues that did not have the opportunity to attend, many of them conducting research very similar to that presented at the meeting. The amount of excellent research being conducted on both sides of the Atlantic provides many opportunities for extensive collaboration. I encourage scientists to bridge the geographical gap and increase international collaborations, whether you are able to attend international conferences, or not.
I am grateful to the AFS and the FSBI for giving me the opportunity to attend such an interesting and well organized meeting. The meeting was a great experience! I met some amazing researchers and possibly future colleagues.
– Marybeth Brey