If you’re thinking that looks like a Hawaii girl who found herself a long way from home at her first scientific conference in Monterey, California, then you’re right. What a long strange trip it has been, but I did it! I attended my first scientific conference on my own, got a travel award, and presented my preliminary research to some of the top experts and my peers in the field of phycology. It was a great feeling of community and belonging to meet all of these great minds from across the globe who all came together for our shared passion for science and algae.
The conference began with an inspirational keynote address by Mike Guidry, the founder of Algae Base (www.algaebase.org). If you aren’t a phycologist, or one of my students, let me tell you, algae base is a big deal in the world of Phycology! Mr. Guidry, in a riveting and enjoyable Irish accent, brought us through the history of phycologicalling research from the first phycologists and natural historians aboard colonial sailing vessels, through the great early phycologists and systemists, along to the founding of the Algae Base database, computerization, expansion, and into the future of Algae Base. A fantastic speaker to launch all of us phycologists into an exciting and inspirational meeting.
I attended numerous informative and innovative talks from phycologists in all stages of their careers. I am coming home with so much understanding of other people’s research, perspectives, and innovative ideas.
More than anything, though, I am coming home to a place that I am so greatful and so proud to call home. A place that I am so happy and inspired to study and understand. A community that I am so happy to help and to work with to take care of our home and our resources. Most of all, a place, a community, and a culture that I know is going to great things to protect our islands and our way of life. We will show the rest of the world that it IS possible, because not only are we doing it, but we are coming together with like minded communities and places all over the world who are also doing it!