Friday, April 15, 2016

To communicate

Every Friday, OIMB hosts an afternoon seminar. It's a good way to get everyone together to talk about science and expose ourselves to different areas of research. Most of the speakers are professors from various universities in the U.S. and Canada, but this week, I had the opportunity to speak. Well, me and one other grad student. We split the hour-long slot, and we both outlined what we had been working on for our theses, what results we had found, what discoveries we had made.

I always appreciate the opportunity to practice communicating science. In fact, I think every scientist needs to practice communication, because too often researchers get absorbed in the detail of their work and forget how to talk about it with non-specialists. OIMB has a diverse faculty, and in fact, one of the best questions I got after the seminar was from a developmental biologist. Her question may help me add an interesting new detail to my work.

I talked about my dropstone project, the cornerstone of my thesis, and discussed how these isolated rocks may resemble terrestrial islands. Dropstone fauna have many of the same distributional patterns as species on islands, but the underlying mechanisms are not necessarily the same. In case you're wondering, on the slide below, I'm explaining how faster current at topographic highs on the deep seafloor increases food supply and leads to dense populations of suspension feeders. 

The seminar was a good chance to communicate my science and a great way to end the week.

Guess I inadvertently matched my outfit to the slides.
Photo by Caitlin Plowman.

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