The Global Invertebrate Geneome Allicance (GIGAiii) was in Curacao this year. It was delightful to be surrounded by scientists equally enthusiastic about invertebrates, an enthusiasm that the conference furthered with conversation and connection. Thank you to the American Genetics Association for generous student funding that permitted me to travel and stay, even free of the worry of reimbursement!
I had a wonderful time presenting my poster in what was by far the most thought-provoking and productive session I've seen. Most of us are exchanging protocols and tips now, which is great.
After the conference, Kevin and I stayed for another week to conduct fieldwork at Carmabi Research Station. We collected chitons of three genera (check out those gorgeous sutural tufts on the left!), and found Kevin, Meghan, and Maddie >25 solenogastres. Notably, I collected my first live aplacophorans on this trip. Thanks to the University of Alabama for the student travel grant to cover the suitcases of laboratory equipment (including microscopes!).
Most memorable from the trip was my first exposure to ostracods, tiny crustaceans that produce flashes of bioluminescence defensively but also to communicate. In the best night dive of my life, we dropped without lights and watched the males flash a distinctive pattern to attract females. I had to remind myself not to hold my breath! Thanks to Todd Oakley and Jessica Goodheart of the Oakley Lab for sharing!