In November members of HamdanLab took a trip to Portland, Oregon in order to attend the 2015 CERF conference. Our own Dr. Leila Hamdan organized a poetry inspired session entitled “Mud, Macrofauna and Microbes: An Ode to Benthic Organism-abiotic Interactions at Varying Scales”. From our point of view, undergraduates of the lab, the level of preparation preceding the conference was inspiring. Through closed doors, we could often hear certain members of the lab reciting their speeches to an empty room. Those of us who weren’t able to attend the conference were treated to a preview of their polished presentations before their departure. Gathered around the conference room table, we waited to experience a sample of An Ode to Benthic Organisms. First to speak was Dr. Hamdan, presenting, “Oil Spill Impacts on Artificial Reefs: Implications for Archaeology, Microbial Ecology, and Benthic Ecosystem Monitoring.” It was very exciting to see all the labs work compiled into a tidy comprehensive speech. When we are working on separate components of the project, it’s difficult to imagine where and how they all tie in together. Listening to Dr. Hamdan’s talk really fortified our understanding of GOM-SCHEMA while simultaneously making us proud of our individual contributions. Next up was Dr. Jennifer Salerno with her presentation, “Effects of crude oil and dispersant on microbially-mediated shipwreck corrosion in the Gulf of Mexico.” We all had a hand in assisting Dr. Salerno with her 16-week microcosm experiment. Therefor we were all very delighted to be presented with her findings and commentary. And while we did not have the privilege of listening to Kate Blackwell’s, “A comparison of community composition and metabolic diversity of aqueous, sediment, and Lopheila pertusa microbiomes,” it was undoubtedly as enlightening and fascinating as Ms. Blackwell herself. From what we have been told, the conference went very well and HamdanLab had a successful conference trip.
We were very happy to all be back together for our monthly lab meeting the last Friday before the break. Due to scheduling differences and conferences, it is our only opportunity to see everyone together in the same room. We were bestowed with the opportunity to listen to Kate and Dr. Salerno’s lighting talks about their research. Kate presented first, enlightening us on the progress and future of her masters research. It was a great talk that thoroughly explained her studies. We are all very proud of her hard work and accomplishments. Dr. Salerno ended our meeting with quite possibly the greatest lightning “talk” of the decade. We all sat in wonder and amazement as Dr. Salerno delivered a three-minute poem, rhymes and all, detailing her microcosm experiment. She received a standing ovation from all members of HamdanLab.
With the new semester beginning, we are all looking forward to meeting again this month. Welcome back!