20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

Nienke van Geel



20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in Dunedin, New Zealand
I sincerely would like to thank the Challenger Society for granting me a Travel Award which allowed me to attend the 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals held in Dunedin, New Zealand in December 2013.

At the conference, I presented a poster on the potential to investigate bottlenose dolphin movements using an array of passive acoustic monitoring equipment when dolphins are moving through geographic bottlenecks, as exemplified by a case study in the Sound of Mull (west Scotland).

Additionally, I attended four workshops, most of which were related to marine mammal conservation: 1) best practice principles for monitoring the effect of coastal development on marine mammals, 2) impacts of cetacean tagging: a review of follow up studies and approaches, 3) species distribution modelling with MGET, and 4) the student workshop, addressing CV writing, grant writing and writing papers.

In addition to being able to present my work, attending this conference also provided the opportunity to get feedback from other researchers, which will contribute to improve the final stage of my PhD. Also, the increased insight into latest research, both within and beyond my particular research direction, through other presentations and posters, was useful to place my research into the wider, most up to date research context. Finally, attending the conference was a great opportunity to network, to discuss current data gaps and future research challenges and to think about future interdisciplinary research collaborations.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference itself, and the various additional experiences including a Maui welcome, the masquerade party, and seeing some sun in the middle of winter!

Nienke van Geel
Scottish Association for Marine Science
Oban, Scotland

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