Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ESA 2011 Austin TX

August 12, 2011
ESA 2011 Austin TX

Summer is just about over, which means field season is coming to a close.  I’ve had an incredible team of students working with me, and without them I would never have been able to accomplish the sampling I’ve already done. 

I’m just getting back from last week’s ESA conference—an incredible opportunity for me to get an idea of the other ecology research currently going on.  The trip has helped me to realize my own goals-- I’ve always kept the idea of getting my doctorate as a possibility, if anything this trip has confirmed my own hopes.  Finally, a group of people who speak my language!  I felt more at home at the conference than I’ve felt anywhere else.  Being surrounded by people who understand and share some of my own hopes for the world is incredibly inspiring.  I have so many ideas and hopes now, and am truly looking forward to the next few years, whatever they may bring.

At ESA I presented an update to my research on parasitoid wasps in urban habitats.  I’ll admit, part of me hopes that I’ll get an email from ESA informing me I won an award for best poster (it WAS pretty damn good, after all) but I’ll be really surprised if anything like that happens.   

 The main conclusion was that, as seen in my beat net analysis, abundance of wasps is higher on vacant urban lots than on urban gardens, with some interesting details arising at the family level.  I’m still working on breaking the 17 families I collected down into morpho-species, and hope to be finished with that by November, in time to present the results at the entomology meeting in Reno!

In the next year I intend to : 

NOW:  Start an educational outreach program for the communities my research plots are, and leave the framework for a student organization behind, with funding for the future, when I graduate.
September: start writing bird/vegetation paper
November: 2010 morphospecies analysis complete, attend Entomology conference in Reno,
December: bird/vegetation paper published, start writing 2010 wasp paper (4.0 for semester)
January: 2011 mophospecies analysis complete
February: Start writing 2011 wasp paper
March: Write Thesis
April: Practice and defend Thesis
May:  Publish 2011 wasp paper?
June:  My sister’s wedding!  Possible Trip
August 2012: attend Portland ESA**

**I’m not sure what the best timeline for this is.  If I want to start a doctorate program right away, fall 2012, then I’ll need to have my applications in by December 2011—but I’d like to have a few publications out before my applications go in.  But when do I graduate and how will I get to Portland?  I’ll have to talk to my advisor in more detail about this.  

Maybe I'll take some time and work somewhere for a year or so.  A break would be nice. 

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