By Kelly Strzepek

Salt Lake City is probably not the first place you would think of as the epicentre for oceanographic research. However, this week oceanographers of all persuasions have made their pilgrimage to this  landlocked city to participate in the year’s largest meeting: Ocean Sciences. There is a cohort of ANU representatives currently wowing the world with their research on trace metal biogeochemistry. To see what they are presenting click on the following names: Michael Ellwood, Robert Strzepek and Claire Thompson. They will be among ~4,000 other scientists showcasing what is cutting edge in their fields, networking and getting a feel for where we are in our understanding of the ocean and where we need to explore next.

The further you progress into your field of research the more specialized you become. As an example:

123 COMPOUND-SPECIFIC AMINO ACID ANALYSIS: A RAPIDLY EVOLVING TOOL FOR ECOLOGY, PALEOCEANOGRAPHY AND BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLE RESEARCH

may seem like an obscure subject to some, but to me it would be the session to go to. Looking through the list of oral presentations and posters there isn’t a single one that I would miss. Luckily I have friends and colleagues who are presenting at this session, see Karen Arthur and Andy Revill, and have promised to ask questions on my behalf. Those in attendance are likely to be the ones who review the manuscripts I hope to publish from my thesis so it’s a perfect opportunity to get some pointers. I am probably most disappointed that I will miss out on the questions time after each talk. As a fledgling scientist and being a little inexperienced, a good showman can be spell binding but after some insightful interrogation from peers it soon becomes obvious who has the sound scientific argument.

On that note I should stop drooling over the Ocean Sciences program and get back to work as I have my own conference to prepare for: the 5th International Symposium on Deep-Sea Corals 2012. Specialised enough do you think?