Friday, September 6, 2013

muchas gracias ICP

by Stacy Carolin
The transit bus to the airport has pulled away from Hotel Melia in Sitges (“sit-ches”), Spain, closing out the eventful 5-day International Conference on Paleoceanography (ICP11). ICP is a triennial conference that targets the ocean and climate community, and this year was its 30-year anniversary. The conference encompasses five broad scientific sessions, one per day, with each consisting of five invited 30-minute oral presentations plus one key-note 45-minute oral presentation in the morning, followed by a 2-hour poster session in the afternoon. 497 scientific posters were presented, of which 200+ were presented by students.

For the week I was our Cobb Lab ICP “pseudo-ocean" rep, happily permitted to squeeze in my stalagmite hydroclimate record to a paleocean conference. I roomed with two Caltech friends in Hostal Termes, located in the center of “downtown” Sitges and minutes from the beach front. We began each morning with a lovely croissant breakfast at a cute nearby bakery followed by a beautiful 20-minute walk, either through town or along the Mediterranean coast, to the Hotel Melia conference venue. With the $1000+ cost of international flights and somewhat weak dollar-to-euro exchange, the ratio of American to European scientists at the conference was small, and you could usually separate out the two quite easily based on the level of penny-pinching. I personally was quite proud of my cost-effective "juggling multiple budget-airlines" scheme to get to Europe. All was well and good on my stop-and-go trek through Canada-Iceland-UK-Spain until the poster baggage took its own trip out to Sweden. Better luck next time.

This was my first time presenting a science poster, and also my first international conference. As always, especially fun to spend time within another culture, and luckily the Sitges community enjoys late dinners (restaurants don’t even open until after 8:30pm), which allowed some time to explore the coastal town after a full day of conference (9:00am – 6:45pm). Although I still heavily favor presenting orally (my dancer-side has a never-ending love with center stage), poster presenting does provide its own distinctive merits, most notably the allowance of extended one-on-one conversation with particularly interested scientists. Also, after multiple discussions, the overall shared interest and reoccuring questions surrounding my current work became very apparent, which was useful to recognize as we move forward toward paper publishing.

Thanks to all for helping make the trip so memorable! And a shout out to the ICP Organizing Committee for their incredible job with putting everything together so seamlessly.

Editor's note:  Stacy won a prize for her poster at ICP. Great job!