Just as I spent a few great days with Karel Janko and his group discussing unisexual fishes, I got an e-mail from NSF saying that my proposal with Francisco Ubeda from Royal Holloway to study the origin of Amazon mollies was funded! This will keep me busy for a few years.
Well, time flies. My sabbatical is in the final weeks and I look forward to returning to Norman in August! I’ll teach my Statistics and Experimental Design class in the Fall semester and that should be fun.
In June I gave two invited seminars. One was in Wilhelmshaven at the Vogelwarte. They have an amazing long-term study on terns. Too bad the terns eat fish….
My second invite took me to Bonn, where I was able to chat with Timo Thuenken about his great work on Cichlid behavior.
Another true highlight was the Hybridization Symposium at the University of Hamburg. It brought together an amazing group of people working on one of the many aspects of hybridization. Personally, it was awesome to reconnect with and spend time with Rosemary and Peter Grant. They are among my scientific heroes!
In other news, Trai was awarded ABS Diversity Travel Award to attend this year’s joint meeting of the 56th Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society. That will be a great meeting!
Rodet and myself travels to the Dominican Republic for two separate purposes: to attend a conference and to do some field work. The conference we attended was the annual conference of the Caribaea Initiative. This was an amazing meeting of scientist from many different countries across the Caribbean to discuss conservation activities and strategies. Rodet gave a great talk on thermal tolerance in the genus Limia, and I was honored to deliver one of the keynotes. We stayed in a hotel right on the Malecon. Unfortunately, we had to see large floating fields of algae, that can destroy whole beaches.
After the conference we teamed up with Patricia Torres Pineda from the Natural History Museum in Santo Domingo to search for Limia in the north of the island. We found some beautiful Limia, but also a healthy population of introduced Xiphophorus maculatus.
I spent the last few days of February in the UK. I met with the editor of my book in Oxford and spent a few hours discussing all the questions I had (or have). I will never forget the weather because it felt like summer as I explored the famous botanical garden wearing a T-shirt.
Rodet and I went to Cuba for another expedition and adventure. The trip was marred by travel problems, grounded flights, and rental car trouble. But nonetheless we collected fishes from many localities. It was an amazing trip!
Later in January I spent a few days in Potsdam again to work on a proposal.
Not far away from Kiel and also pretty close to the small town where I was born is a lovely small village named Plön. It is home to a nice little federal research Institute, the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Biology (http://www.evolbio.mpg.de/2169/en) I think it is a little bit of a misnomer, as all biology is Evolutionary biology, but the focus of this Institute is on hardcore evolution. The Institute hosted a wonderful small conference on the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Friend or critic of the idea, it is something that is discussed widely in the community.
Thanks to delightful hosts and a great, friendly atmosphere we all had a good time!