Thursday, June 23, 2011

impression of evolution & ievobio 2011: impressive!

My mind is about to explode from all of the information that it took in these past five days.  I was not exactly sure what to expect out of these conferences. I had been to several smaller conferences before but nothing like this. Every day was jam packed with talks and you basically had to run from one room to the next based on what you wanted to listen too. It was nuts.  The whole experience got me really excited about the whole field though. There are so many people doing so many different cool things all over the world. That was another cool aspect.  People were from all over the world at this conference. Probably the best part of it all was the fact that everyone was just so friendly.  Even I only knew 3 people there when I arrived, I felt as if I had met a million people after I left. Many of them I now would not even hesitate to contact in the future. Everyone was so genuinely interested in what other people were doing and it was so exciting to be a part of it all.  I was a little apprehensive as to how much fun we could actually have in Norman, Oklahoma.  However, I think the fact that we were all crammed into this isolated conference center, it forced people together and encouraged people to introduce themselves. And we all found our own fun.

The Evolution portion lasted Friday evening through Tuesday.  iEvoBio (more computer science focused) overlapped Tuesday and then continued into Wednesday.  It had already been a long week and I wasn't sure how much more information and ideas I could cram into my head.  However, once things got started, I was so excited to be there! There are so many awesome projects going on and it was pretty amazing that they are all open source.

Some of my favorite ongoing projects (besides anything to do with TreeBASE hehe) :

  • The Moorea Biocode Project ( Here they are trying to barcode every organism of the ecosystem for this tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And so far they are doing an awesome job at it! The database they have set up is amazing. For each specimen, they have pictures of it, georeferenced maps, and even links to any sequences associated with it.
  • The Map of Life project (  This includes a plethora of resources regarding species distributions. It allows the user to search for a species, view its interactive range map, and then investigate information from other species data repositories and data from past surveys.
  • The idea of sharing and re-using trees: Here is a nicely-written NaturePrecedings abstract that describes the purpose and importance of this concept.

There were also many more, but I just wanted to highlight a few.  Also at iEvoBio, I was able to personally meet one of my mentors, Bill Piel as well as other people involved in the TreeBASE project such as Hilmar and Karen. It was quite the week. After a good night's sleep I am ready to get back to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment