A little fish in a big pond at the NZ Ecological conference

If you know anything about native fish, you might be aware that native galaxiids hatch out into rivers before heading out into the ocean to grow – pretty much the classic little fish, big pond situation.

That’s a bit how my last week has gone, as by being one of the few undergraduate students at a national science conference I’ve been swept into a whole new world of science. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend the 2015 New Zealand Ecology Society Conference through the societies Kauri Seeds scholarship.

This gave me the chance to go to a science conference and actually get a better idea of what ecology actually is. The result? I’m now sold on both science conferences and Twitter!

Why should you head along to a conference like this? It’s incredibly inspiring and opens your eyes to what’s out there beyond uni. The conference covered a huge variety of topics, from the use of eDNA to incorporating mātauranga maori into ecological research and the appropriate use of 1080, introducing me to what actually goes on in the New Zealand scientific community.

It also gave me an invaluable opportunity to meet and network with new people, from both other universities and research institutes from across NZ.  All of this has given me plenty of ideas for what area of ecology I want to head towards, and the chance to scope out potential employers to have a better idea of where my degree is taking me.

It was definitely worth a week of my summer, so if you ever get the opportunity to go to a conference, get out there and go for it! That big ocean might seem a tad intimidating, but it’s a great opportunity to find out what that world you’re jumping into once you’ve finished your degree is really like.

Roland Eveleens

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