13 June 2011

The Crustacean Society 2011: Day 4

Audiences were rather small for the sessions of the last day of The Crustacean Society meeting. It wasn’t that people had left Hawaii (though some had), but they had upped the number of scientific sessions from two to three, so audiences were split three ways instead of two.

The closing ceremony had a few noteworthy elements.

The Crustacean Society Excellence in Research Award (TCSERA) was awarded to Gerhard Scholz, which I live-blogged here.

There were two long, excellent tributes to respected crustacean scientists who recently died. The portraits were of two biologist that had several things in common: a fierce (some might say terrifying) work ethic, and unconventional career paths that did not follow the typical pathways for academics.

Patsy (Pat) McLaughlin
: The impression left here was of a woman with a strong personality, who loved her work, dogs, and husband. She hated having her picture taken, but when she warmed to a person, was unfailing generous. She was working at a time when opinionated women were not encouraged, and she had some teaching jobs, but mostly was not affiliated with universities.

L. B. Holthuis (pronounced roughly as “Holhoyce,” I learned): The man worked at his museum for over 60 years for six days a week. On Sundays, he read books. When he visited the Smithsonian Institution, he was asked why he always ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. He replied that it was cheap, and that way he could save up and spend more money for books.

Program director Chris Boyko gave us firm instructions before we left for the conference banquet at the Waikiki Aquarium, “Do not touch the monk seal!” (I wondered, “But what if the monk seal touches me?”)

Buses then took the scientists to the banquet, held at the Waikiki Aquarium. The aquarium is sort of a medium-sized aquarium. not as large as some I’ve seen (Monterey Bay comes to mind). Most of the exhibit focused on coral reef habitat. I particularly like a tank where they were rearing giant clams. I hadn’t remembered their lips being so colourful!

Ironically enough, the one item served that everybody hated... the shrimp! Distinctly dodgy. But nobody was showing signs of food poisoning by the time the buses went back.

The student awards were given out, and current president Akira gave president elect Christopher Tudge the official tie of the society president.

One of the things I wish people could hear would be a recording of the bus to the banquet, and the bus coming back from the banquet. After we got back to the Ala Moana hotel, people were still hanging around in the lobby, and you could tell that people were reluctant for the conversations to end.

Those carcinologists loosen up once you get a cheap glass of wine or two into them.

My flight left early Friday evening, so I had one day to much about on my own in Waikiki. Despite my blog post about digging for sand crabs, I didn’t think I would have much luck on Waikiki, and I was kind of fascinated by Diamond Head on this trip for some reason. I walked down toward Diamond Head, and was astonished to find Kanipoli Park: completely beautiful and almost entirely empty. Phenomenal views of Diamond Head. I couldn’t quite understand why people getting a tan wouldn’t do it in the park instead of the much more crowded Waikiki.

After that, I went to the Honolulu Zoo. The line was a bit intimidating at first, and I learned it was “Family Fun Day.” I stuck it out, as I couldn’t figure out what else I’d do with my afternoon, and was glad I did. It was much bigger than I expected, and very good (exception was the elephant exhibit, which is being completely redone - it needs it). I was able to walk through at a nice pace, no hurrying, and finished just minutes before my “I must leave now to make sure I get the airport shuttle” deadline.

Mahalo to:

Nikos Lessios, University of Arizona grad student who shared a room with me. Nikos saved my ass at least twice. First, he let me use his computer to make some last-minute changes to me presentation when my netbook was not up to the task of dealing with the massive monster presentation I’d created.

Second, he found me razors during a shopping trip so I could shave and not look like a bum throughout the meeting.

I’m also pleased that Nikos was the winner of the student poster competition. And he had been reading the Better Posters blog for ideas for his poster. (See? The advice over there isn’t completely crazy!)

Leslee Morehead for Marmorkrebs discussions.

All the Australians, who brought me news from friends in Melbourne and made me more determined than ever to make a triumphant return someday.

Brian Tsukimura for inviting me to the invasive species symposium.

Chris Boyko for suggesting I participate in a completely unrelated symposium to the one I ended up in.

Christie Wilcox, whose advice on places to check out in Honolulu was unerring.

Next year’s summer meeting is in Athens, Greece. And if you do any crustacean research, you should join the society!

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