Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Megafauna and Ecosystem Function Conference in Oxford: My spring break and my first solo international travel, Part 1

It's been ages since I've updated my blog. There's a lot to catch up on, but today I'm just going to fill people in on my trip to St. John's College in Oxford a couple weeks ago for my first international conference. Mostly, this will be pictures for my mom to gawk at.

The meeting was a gathering of people who study large animals, mostly mammals, and the extinctions that happened at the end of the last ice age and beyond. In case you were unaware, there was an extinction across the globe that killed most large animals. In North America, something like 33 genera of mammals went extinct, most weighing over 50-kg. This no doubt had effects on ecosystems and surviving biological communities. The point of the conference was to discuss all these things, including the potential for reintroducing large animals back into environments (very controversial). I gave a talk on the impacts of the extinction on surviving carnivores in North America.

If you want to get an idea of what was going on with the talks, you can go on Twitter and search #oxmegafauna, the official hashtag for the meeting. There's also a website from the conference For several reasons, my talk is not on the website. Primarily, all my work is unpublished, so I don't really want it out there too much, yet.

The first leg of my trip began in London, where I did some sight seeing before I took the train to the actual conference.

Big Ben, London, UK
Double Decker Bus, London, UK
The River Thames, London, UK
The Big Eye and Lights, London, UK
Camden Lock for some quick shopping, London, UK
I found Heisenberg in Camden! Do you see him? Tip of the hat to the 505
Extinct Giant Ground Sloth claws, skin, and poop! Natural History Museum, London, UK
Sloth Skeleton, London, UK
Me and the sloth
Paying homage to Charles Darwin
The great hall at the Natural History Museum, London, UK
Paying homage to Mary Anning, one of the most important people in paleontology. This is a Plesiosaur, an extinct marine reptile. London, UK
Another extinct sloth!
The Natural History Museum of London is a beautiful building