The third and fourth meetings I attended in 2018 were ABS, the Animal Behaviour Society, and ISBE, the International Society for Behavioral Ecology. I’m clumping these together as they were back-to-back conferences with just 5 days in between.
Before flying to the United States for these meetings, I had not returned home since moving to New Zealand at the end of 2016! It was almost two years since I’d seen my family, friends, or American dog (who lives with my parents). But time flies when you’re seeing amazing New Zealand landscape and collecting cool data, so it certainly hadn’t seemed like a whole two years away. Again, I ate my weight in fresh blueberries upon arriving in the United States. (note: fresh blueberries DO indeed exist in New Zealand but they have a short season of affordability for a grad student).
This was my first time attending either the ABS or ISBE meetings but I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of research, the breadth of research, and the conference attendees. ABS was held at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee while ISBE was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the convention center. I quite enjoyed staying in the dormitories right on the beautiful brick campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Staying in the dorms was social, affordable, and just a few steps away from the conference venue.
In addition to presenting a 15-min talk at both conferences, and chairing a session at ISBE, I fit in some tourist activities as well! I had been to Minneapolis for the Entomological Society of NZ in 2015, but had never been to Wisconsin or Illinois at all. My colleagues and I decided to use the 5-day break between conferences to visit Chicago. We visited the Field Museum (highly recommend!), the Shedd aquarium, and the Sears Tower for sunset/nightfall.
Tallest spiders in the city? Spiders on the inside and outside of the top floor of the Sears/Willis Tower. From the pictures, I guess we know where my interests lie that day…and every day.