Yesterday the Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia held the second annual Postgraduate Student Conference.
Image: Conference organisers, Maria Jose Gonzalez Bernat & Eric Raes
Being a first year PhD candidate here at UWA this was my first chance to present and attend the conferemce and I'll admit I was a little bit dubious at first. I regretted submitting a paper on my PhD (in underwater archaeology and recording shipwrecks) into a conference that now appeared to be heavily based in the 'real' science. By the time I presented at 3pm I was pleasantly surprised. Not only had I been rivetted to many of the students presentations that day, but I had also found some fascnating links to my own work. Notably, Meredith Ann Epp's Master research on Deep Sea Debris and the resulting iPhone app and website www.deepseadebris.org is all about getting her research out to the public and hopefully having public input.
Alicia Sutton's work on the Leeuwin Current and it's influence on euphasiid (krill) assemblages was truly eye opening. I would have to say that one of my favourite presentations came from Katrina Davis. Katrina presented a paper that is currently in press on the imapcts of new management for fishing industries in Chile. Basically, there are some areas where local fisherman can apply for the TURF right to an area (territorial user rights for fisheries). With this TURF right the local fisherman has the responsibility to manage his own fishing resource and protection. With statistical results showing that the fisherman made more profit out of protecting and managing their own stock - perhaps somethign to think about here in Australia and in other countries.
ADVOCATING FOR SCIENCE
Lastly, one of the best aspects was a short discussion between everyone called 'Advocating for Science'. Winthrop Professor Alan Dench, lead the debate and inspired us to think about why we should promote our own research and scientific research as a whole. Do you think it is your responsibility to advocate for true science, or do you think your role is simply the researcher. the resounding answer was that we all believe we should strive to communicate our research but that often there is a lcak of interest, it definitely had us all thinking of ways to promote our work to a wider community. Whatever area of research I think this is an important point to make, we are the upcoming specialists and leaders in our field and communicating our research should be a significant aspect. (I know it defintiely is for archaeology).
Here is the link the the Oceans Institute twitter feed with fantastic images from yesterday!