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ISTS Day 2: Student Day

April 14, 2011

So I’m sitting in the middle of a session titled “Conservation Through Social, Economic, Cultural, and Legal Pathways.” I’ve heard some pretty interesting stuff so far, but it isn’t hard to catch on because it’s not science so I can multitask for the time being. More on that later.

Yesterday was Student Day at the symposium. This didn’t really mean much, I sat through some talks in the morning, sat at the table all afternoon, had another poster presentation session, student mixer (lame—I got my free drink and went to go sit at the Turtle Island table again), and then the film festival. The presentation I especially wanted to see yesterday was “To Eat or Not to Eat? The Roles of Choice and Vision in Ingestion of Marine Debris by Sea Turtles” by a student of University of Queensland named Qamar Schuyler. There are only four of us here that have done work with plastics and their affects on sea turtles, including myself and my supervisor, so naturally I had to see what she had to say.

Qamar’s work was based of the Eastern coast of Australia and over the course of a few years she and her supervisor had performed over a hundred necropsies on dead turtles that had washed up onshore. I don’t recall her saying anything about plastic causing these deaths; their research was mainly focused on what types of plastics turtles were eating and seeing if the sea turtles had a preferred choice of plastic.

A few people dropped by my poster yesterday. There is always someone who walks by and comments on the impossibility of ridding the earth of plastics completely. “You’re working towards the impossible,” they say. Screw them, they’ll be kicking themselves in their graves when I achieve the impossible. I’m not trying to ban every single plastic ever made, but to decrease the amount we use/produce significantly would have positive effects all over the world.

Right now I’m just waiting for another five minutes until there will be coffee and pastries served out in the main hallway, then I’ll probably stop by the table and see if I can attend any more presentations this morning. I’m probably going to switch over from advocacy to the more science/biology/foraging research oriented speeches, so won’t that be interesting?

Later, I can’t wait to see poster #217 which is the other plastic debris poster up in the display room. But more on that later!

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