Its been a little while since my last post, and while I will eventually get to ‘the hierarchical bit of my hierarchical models’, I thought I would first explain my absence. My last blog post was in November, since then I have participated in a few research related adventures, some highlights include:
- Helping organise and run our MUBoGS Mini Conference
Our MUBoGS Mini Conference involved around 40 postgraduate students from The School of Botany giving ‘speed talks’ of their research. This turned out to be a fantastic day and a fantastic challenge for us all to get the main points of our research across to an educated but unspecialised audience in just three minutes.
I presented a poster explaining the rationale behind one chapter of my PhD and this was an excellent opportunity to speak to like minded researchers, get some solid advice and practice explaining myself and my work over and over again.
- Holiday: explored Mt Wellington, Lake Tali Karng and Spion Kopje on a little hiking trip: A beautiful area of Victoria, look it up and check it out.
- Volunteering on the NutNet Project with Dr Joslin Moore and Kate Giljohann in Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia.
The Nutrient Network is a global research cooperative which aims to collect information about environment-productivity-diversity relationships across the globe. Their current focal research questions include questions about the generality of our current understanding of productivity-diversity relationships, how plant production and diversity are co-limited by nutrient availability in herbaceous dominated communities and how grazers and fertilisation control plant biomass, diversity and composition.
Check out their website: http://www.nutnet.umn.edu
- Demonstrating on The Uni Melb Field Botany Trip to The Bogong High Plains, Falls Creek, Victoria.
This was great fun and a great opportunity to pick the brains of Dr Andrew Drinnen, Dr Peter Vesk and Daniel Olsen about plant families, genera and species that exist in this region of The Alpine National Park. It was also rewarding to help and watch students work out what ‘spotting characters’ are and how important they can be for distinguishing between plant families quickly. http://www.botany.unimelb.edu.au/ugcourses/606310/
- Participating on many School of Botany Writing Retreats
Our lab group have begun holding weekend Writing Retreats. The point of this, is to provide a well supported, quiet and well structured writing time for people who have things to get written! We work on a tight schedule of hour and a half and two hour writing blocks, interspersed with some breaks with include talking, laughing and eating homemade goodies together. The point is to have a well defined goal for the weekend, and meet that with the help of peer support and celebrations at the end of the day.
- Organising, putting together and stressing about my one year Confirmation.
One report, one presentation and one discussion later, I am now confirmed. The act of having to write a solid research proposal, speak to this in front of my Advisory Committee and think about (and stress about) every little aspect of my project really helped to solidify some of my ideas and aims, as well as clearly highlighting areas that need more thought. Overall, a positive experience.
- Visiting Scotia Sanctuary and Tarawi Nature Reserve whilst volunteering on a fire and herbivore exclusion project led by Dr David Keith and Dr Mark Tozer.
This was a fantastic opportunity to:
a) visit Scotia Sanctuary (http://www.australianwildlife.org/AWC-Sanctuaries/Scotia-Sanctuary.aspx) and Tarawi Nature Reserve (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/nationalparks/parkHome.aspx?id=N0721),
b) contribute to an awesome long term fire and herbivore exclusion experiment (http://www.tern.org.au/Newsletter-2012-Sept-LTERNMalleeDynamics-pg23530.html),
c) do lots of plant ID and
d) meet some lovely people from NSW Parks.
- Visiting my study sites in Murray Sunset National Park for some intense field thinking. A pilot study to prepare me for this spring. Data collection, here I come.
Doing a PhD is an exciting time to get involved with many different projects and meet lots of new people. As Melbourne in getting chillier though, I am getting back to my models.