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IBCP at the Pacific Seabird Group conference 2020

by Kristen Rosamond

I had the opportunity to attend the 57th annual Pacific Seabird Group (PSG) meeting in Portland, Oregon this February. The theme of this year’s conference was “Seabirds: Connecting Land and Sea.” It was interesting to consider this theme in relation to seabird research, since these birds rely on dynamic aquatic and terrestrial habitats that impact the ways they forage, breed, and respond to the changing environment.

I gave a presentation at the conference called “Evidence for the Coevolution of Differential Migration in Shorebirds (Scolopacidae) and Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus)”. During my talk, I explored hypotheses for differential migration in three species – Western Sandpipers, Dunlin, and Peregrine Falcons. I also explained how the predator-prey migration patterns seen in Peregrines Falcons and these shorebird species have coevolved and may continue to change in the future. I was able to tie my presentation into the theme of the meeting by discussing how migration and foraging patterns in shorebirds and Peregrine Falcons are shaped by the ecosystem, whether these birds are in flight over water bodies or living on their breeding and wintering grounds. This was my first time giving an oral presentation at a scientific conference, and I was excited to represent IBCP and share my work with a community of seabird researchers.

Many of the presentations at the PSG meeting were focused on climate change and conservation. I was happy to see that so many scientists are recognizing the importance of investigating these topics. Some of the plenary speakers focused on climate change, ranging from climatologist Dr. Nick Bond speaking about the wide-ranging effects of climate change in the North Pacific marine environment to biologist Dr. Katie Dugger speaking about how demographics of Adélie penguins in Antarctica are shifting with the changing environment. Other presentations focused on seabird conservation, with topics including power line collisions, invasive species, and island restoration.

The meeting had great opportunities for me to receive advice and mentoring from seabird researchers. I attended an Early Career Scientist panel, during which four seabird researchers participated in a Q&A session with students and early career scientists. These four scientists had experience in academia, government organizations, and the nonprofit sector, and I benefitted from hearing their different perspectives on research and careers in science. I also participated in a Student and Mentor Social at the conference, in which mentors were paired with students and early career scientists and given time to talk with one another. I was paired with Nick Holmes, a scientist who works for the Nature Conservancy and specializes in island conservation and invasive species. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with an established scientist and receive practical and candid advice about advancing my career and making a lasting impact in research and conservation.

The PSG meeting was a great opportunity to become up to date on the scope and techniques of seabird research. I am very grateful to the Rose family for providing me with support to attend the conference. I hope that I am able to attend future PSG conferences and continue to expand on my knowledge and influence in the field of seabird research.

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