20 June 2016

Evolution 2016, Day 3

Obviously, the biggest, most important day at any conference is the one where you present your own research. 😉 First, thank you to all who came and talked to my student Claudette and me about sand crab eyes! The poster is up at figshare, along with some others from the meeting; search for "evol2016".

Observations from the second full day of the conference:

Some rooms were consistently standing room only (afternoon sexual selection session), while other, much bigger rooms were nowhere near capacity.

Lightning talks. There were a lot of these Ignite! style, short presentations. While I love this format, I think that the vast number shows of lightning talks, combined with the funkiness in room size, shows that Evolution is at a transition point in size. I think it's getting too big for talks to be the norm, and in the next few years it will start to transition more to a more poster oriented meeting.

A few talks I saw - just a random sampler, not in any order:

Aaron Owen showed the first example of rapid evolution (over a couple of centuries) in a mammal, an Indian mongoose. This was a finding that was worth having to look at mongoose butt for.

Trevor Fristoe showed that big brains allowed birds to invade variable, harsh climates, rather than harsh climates selecting for big brains.

Speaking of brains, Alberto Corral-Lopez showed that female guppies with big brains were much better at selecting sexy males with lots of colors than their small brained brethren.

Frances Hausers and Sarah Dungan both presented nice work on opsins. Dungan's talk introduced me to "Concept I have to look up and read more about when I get back": intramolecular epistasis. In my notes next to the phrase:  "This seems kind of important." Not going to try to unpack it in a morning after blog post. (Frances was a fan of the Better Posters blog, too!)

Online people I got to meet in person included Scientist Sees Squirrel blogger Stephen Heard, and chat at the pub with gif master Dr. Rubidium.

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