The BOU supported 12 members’ attendance at #AOC2019 (Darwin, Australia) and #EOU2019 (Cluj, Romania). Here’s one of their accounts highlighting the take home messages from their time at an international conference.

I. Kaan Ozgencil
Department of Biological Sciences, Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Both the Migrant Landbird Study Group and EOU2019 meeting were brilliant and rewarding

I arrived at Cluj-Napoca in Romania the day before the Migrant Landbird Study Group’s (MLSG) meeting (before EOU2019) and doscivered that I had fallen victim to an online ‘false advertisement’. My room was in a basement, 15-square-meter room with a healthy population of 10 female and 7 male spiders (yes, I censused them) all over the ceiling. I love spiders. They eat mosquitos and these were particularly good at placing their webs on mosquito “bottlenecks”. The only problem was, well, I had to sleep next to my baggage because there was no room for it anywhere else! Fortunately, my room was located 50m away from the old town square, the heart of the town which made up for all the downsides.

The MLSG meeting was amazing. People were so welcoming. Some of these people were almost like celebrities to me, people I knew from articles and books. On the second day of the meeting, we had a speed talk session during which I got a chance to introduce myself and my research interests to everyone. I told everybody about how big the knowledge gaps in the field of ornithology in my country are and I made an open call to everyone to see if they would be interested in collaborating with me to make a dream of mine – using weather radar data to study bird migration in Turkey – come true. Then, dear Cecilia Nilsson answered my call during her speed talk and said she would be interested in such a study. Now, together with people from Israel, we have started working on my dream and I couldn’t be happier!

After a wonderful and productive MLSG meeting, EOU 2019 quickly came around. I found myself running from one room to another to listen to all the talks I marked on my schedule. Luckily, each room was given a bird name making it easier for my mind to process everything about them, including their location.

My poster presentation (Changes in Functional Composition and Diversity of Waterbird Communities in Two Shallow Lakes: The Roles of Water Level and Submerged Macrophytes) also went great. It was my first ever poster presentation at an international conference and it was about functional composition, functional diversity and community assembly of wintering waterbird communities in relation to water level and submerged macrophytes in shallow lakes. Some attendees were really interested in my poster and we had really good conversations and discussions.

Both the MLSG meeting and EOU2019 were super productive for me. I met a lot of awesome people and formed some valuable networks. I still can’t believe how much the conference changed my life. The things I learned and the collaborations I formed are now shaping my studies and helping me overcome disadvantages of studying in a developing country. I hope some of those friendships and connections that I made will be long-lasting.

I am sincerely thankful to the BOU for making all these possible by providing me a member travel award. I am looking forward to seeing some of the friends and colleagues I met in Romania at the International Eurasian Ornithology Congress in İzmir, Turkey in April 2020.

Nominate this article for a BOU Science Communication Award.

About the Author

I. Kaan Ozgencil is a PhD student in the Department of Biological Sciences, Middle East Technical University, Turkey.

Blog posts express the views of the individual author(s) and not those of the BOU.

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