24 March 2011

sponges, thoughts, and more

So the reason that I went to Germany was for the Sponge Symposium. If you hadn't already figured out that I am a huge nerd, I am sure that you now know it... I mean its a select few that appreciate the beauty and complexity of the microbial community living in sea sponges! After two days, and fifty talks on everything from using NanoSIMS to look at how sponges eat bacteria, to global diversity of sponge microbes, to modeling sponge- microbe networks, and many more equally nerdy topics! We had a great gathering of all of scientists from Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, the UK, Portugal, Spain, France, South Africa, and everywhere in between. It was really an impressive showing of people doing some top notch science. I am so grateful that I have an awesome boss that feels that it is worthwhile to send me to these sorts of gatherings... if there was one thing that I really came away with from the conference it is that if science is to really bring about advancements and novel work, collaboration is key. Often scientists are very possessive of their work, and rightfully so as it takes painstaking efforts and time to gather data, but really if we are relying on science to bring about such discoveries as clean energy production, new pharmaceuticals to combat the rising number of diseases, ways to increase food production, etc., cooperation and collaboration are essential.

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