SIL2018, we made it!

SIL2018 is now over! What a fun week it was! For those of you who might not know, SIL stands for International Society of Limnology (Capital Letters in weird order, yes). So this time the SIL congress was in Nanjing, China. We (i.e. Annika, and my fellow congress mates) enjoyed some great hospitality shown by our Chinese host institutes. Also, the conference venue was very impressive.

Part of the gang at SIL2018. Still looking pretty fresh in the beginning of the week! (Thanks, Jianjun Wang, for the photo!)

The congress covered practically all themes in the freshwater realm – from paleolimnology to water quality assessment, from global change to microalgal assemblages, and from remote sensing to global lessons from lakes of the world. As always in these sorts of events, there was no chance to attend all sessions, so I missed many interesting ones.

In addition to the normal 15 min talks in various sessions, the keynote talks were highly enjoyable! We got to hear, just to mention a few examples, what Sally MacIntyre had to say about mixing dynamics in lakes, how Luc de Meester explained how intraspecific evolution can happen surprisingly fast as species respond to environmental changes, and why lake littoral zones are so important in so many different ways, according to Jake Vander Zanden (and we all agree with him). It was great to see such big names give talks and to realize that they, too, are only people and apparently rather nice persons.

Very nice congress venue. Here’s Luc de Meester giving one of the keynote talks.

Me and some of my colleagues had talks at the Special Session “New frontiers in freshwater biodiversity research: state-of-the-art methods and key questions“, chaired by Jianjun Wang, Janne Soininen and Jani Heino. Consequently, that was the session where my attendance was 100%. Luckily my presentation was in the beginning of the week, so I was actually able to concentrate on the following talks.

Here’s some relieved faces after our talks were over! The left face belongs to me, Annika, and the right one is Marja Lindholm, a doctoral student from the University of Oulu.

We learned much about temporal changes in macrophyte beta diversity, factors that determine freshwater molluscan diversity, and elevational patterns in microbial functional gene biodiversity. Looking forward to the actual publications. For everyone’s sake, I hope they come out soon!

Luckily, in the middle of the week, we were treated with the congress social dinner, so we got to rest our brains a bit. The dinner was served in traditional Chinese style, and dishes kept coming and coming and coming… Great food, drinks and company! Thanks to our Finnish and Filipino companions we had a fun evening! 🙂

The congress social dinner was served in traditional Chinese style.

It so happened that during the SIL week there was also another conference in town, the BSA meeting (Benthological Society of Asia). So…one thing led to another, and we found ourselves at the other meeting listening to a talk by Mathew Leibold, who told us what’s new in the world of metacommunities. So exciting! For several of us, it was a dream come true. Seriously. We are kinda fans. least we have been working with the metacommunity concept so much that it was very nice to meet one of the brains behind the theory.

In addition to purely academic stuff, it’s also important to do some less-academic ventures when you get to hang around with people of the same kind and mind! We did some sightseeing in Nanjing and the surrounding areas. We visited the Taihu Research Station and the scenic, old canal town of Wuzhen, and ate some really tasty food!

Some experiment-related structures at Taihu.
The beautiful, old canal town of Wuzhen.

All in all, the SIL week was very fun, very interesting and very intriguing. We’re looking forward to SIL2020 in Korea! Hopefully all members of the Biodiversity Investigators can make it there. 🙂



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