Meeting’s End: 1,100 Biologists Scatter to the Four Winds

By Hugh Powell
Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies
Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies by eBird‘s Chris Wood.

Two weeks, 16 posts, and 6,000 words later, my 2008 meeting season is over. The ISBE conference ended for me at Steve Lima‘s discussion of whether Norway rats can stay alert while they’re sleeping – “perhaps appropriate for the last talk of a very long meeting,” the session moderator noted.***

Biology meetings tend to be held at the end of summer, after northern-hemisphere biologists have finished their field seasons but before the crush of the new semester begins. Now, the ISBE crowds are flitting back to university halls around the world, stowing their chest waders, brush chaps, and sun hats; dusting off lesson plans, welcoming a new crop of students, and – for graduate students – resuming that long battle toward a finished thesis.

I’m making my way back to my cubicle on the second floor of the Lab of Ornithology, to get back to projects I left two weeks ago. I’ll also be assembling my notes and figuring out which few of the hundreds of stories I’ve heard will turn into stories for BirdScope, Living Bird, and our website.

As always, we’d love to hear your suggestions. Is there anything I covered that left you wanting to hear more? Any teasers that you want to hear the punch line to? Or perhaps you spent the whole time wondering when I’d get around to your favorite branch of science or conservation, and I never did. Consider this your invitation to sit in on our editorial meetings and vote for your favorite stories.

And finally, thanks again to everyone who has made this blog part of your daily or weekly routine. We’re glad you’re here.

(Image: Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies, by eBird‘s Chris Wood)

***This is not the same thing as sleeping with one eye open, I learned. That’s a talent that belongs mainly to birds, plus dolphins and whales, but not to land mammals. And it’s not a myth – one hemisphere of the brain actually goes to sleep while the other stays awake.

The Cornell Lab

All About Birds is a free resource

Available for everyone,
funded by donors like you

Need Bird ID Help? Try Merlin