par Sébastien Portalier
Thanks to the QCBS Excellence Award, a few weeks ago I attended the Gordon Research Conference about Unifying Ecology Across Scales at the University of New England (Biddeford, Maine). This conference is a great opportunity to meet with people interested in the relationship between empirical and theoretical studies. This conference mainly focuses on the link between mechanisms at the organism scale and their effects on pattern at the ecosystem scale. This conference is also a great opportunity to meet with people coming from different research areas (e.g., plankton, vertebrates, plants).
My contribution was a poster on my research about predator and prey relationship. I try to figure out how the physical aspects of the surrounding medium (air or water) can influence optimal prey choice for a predator. Hence, a pelagic predator (living in the water column) has to manage its buoyancy. This constraint is likely to have an impact on the range of prey size this predator can feed on because a big prey might be too heavy to carry on. On the other hand, a benthic predator (living on a hard surface) should be less constrained in the range of edible prey. Considering now a flying predator, constraints are stronger, and predator size cannot exceed an upper threshold, otherwise this predator cannot even take off.
This conference was a great opportunity to meet with people who have expertise in fields related to my own research. Hence, they did useful comments on my work, and advise on what should be done in the future.
One of the great advantages for this conference is that it is a “human-sized” conference, which means that you really have time to interact with people, share ideas, and have feedback on your research. Another advantage is the place, which is beautiful, and the food is really good. I really encourage people to join the next meeting (in two years from now, same place).