EEID 2017 in Santa Barbara was a hit! The poster session and all of the social events took place outside in beautiful weather, to the immense enjoyment of (almost) everyone. There were 57 talks and ~135 posters, which added up to roughly two dump truck loads of cool science. I was especially thrilled with the Ecological Levels for Health State of the Science Summit, which helped to kick off a productive SNAPP working group.
Like the hardcore parasite ecologist that I am, I brought a shiny new acute Lyme infection with me to EEID. I thought this would give me some solid street cred, but Dan Salkeld told us that there are a whopping 300,000 new Lyme cases in the U.S. every year. So I guess I’m not that special (1/300,000). My infection must just be my penance for living in a state with many fried chicken restaurants.
Anyways, antibiotic-induced sun sensitivity forced me to spend a lot of time lurking in shady corners like the subterranean beast that I am. But I somehow still managed to meet and re-connect with a ton of awesome scientists. This was my first conference where the “secret identity” of the parasite ecology blogger was no longer a secret, and I want to thank all of the very kind people who found me and told me that they enjoy the blog and use it in their classes. You’re the best!
I also want to share two hilarious things that I learned from talking to all of you in person. First, many people have been wrongly accused of being the parasite ecology blogger over the years – sorry about that! But I was super flattered to learn that people assumed that I was an eminent parasite ecologist. And second, many of the people in our field are disturbingly proficient Internet stalkers! Their tales of hunting down my true identity – sometimes successfully! – would make for a good novel.
And finally, I want to announce the winner of the Unofficial EEID 2017 Parasite Ecology Cartoon Contest: Tara Stewart! Tara gave an interesting and remarkably poised talk about how Daphnia can resist and clear their Metschnikowia infections. If I remember correctly, Daphnia cartoons have won every parasite ecology cartoon contest that I’ve ever blogged. But I think that beyond Daphnia just being super cute, Tara’s cartoons really deserved first place for science communication excellence. Congratulations!
There will be a similar Unofficial ESA 2017 Parasite Ecology Cartoon Contest in roughly one month. The non-Daphnia people better show up and represent!