This past week, I attended the 11th International Mammalogical Congress (IMC11) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK. IMC11 was hosted by Queen’s University Belfast, and talks were held on various locations spread throughout the gorgeous campus.
The conference brought together over 600 researchers from over 40 different countries. Though united by taxonomy (and even then, there was broad representation from rodents to lagomorphs to cats to bats!), the conference was extraordinarily diverse in terms of topic area. Symposiums and plenary sessions spanned a gamut of topics, ranging from research that was pure genetics and molecular biology to work that was more behavior and ecology-focused. Many of the symposiums I attended generated lively discussion and back-and-forth conversations about novel techniques, applications of current work, and strategies for promoting conservation policies.
I presented a poster on my tuco-tuco research; all told, there were nearly 200 posters at the conference, likewise representing a broad range of topics and taxa within the mammal class. It was wonderful being able to see all the other great research that is ongoing, and I stopped to chat with many of the other poster authors, gaining new insights and gleaning ideas. Likewise, presenting my poster meant gaining invaluable feedback and ideas on my project as well.
The posters being set up… by the end of that day, nearly every slot was filled with a poster! My poster below!
I was also fortunate enough to have some time to explore Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland, aided largely by the conference having an “off day” in the middle of the week. Science was put on hiatus that day, and instead all of the mammalogists went to explore the beautiful landscapes in the region.
That’s Newgrange, a prehistoric mound that’s over 5000 years old, predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was amazing to be able to walk into such an ancient site and view a simulation of how the light would hit the inner passageway on the winter solstice, filling the chamber with a mystical and illuminating light.
I leave you with these final shots of Northern Ireland, from Giant’s Causeway, comprising octagonal-shaped basalt columns, and the view on the northern coast of Ireland, a truly breathtaking scene.