The Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) hosted its 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals from the 13th to the 18th of December 2015 in San Francisco and it was an energising week full of marine mammal related talks, presentations and activities. Over 2500 people attended the conference where I presented a poster entitled “Exploring the social structure of the resident bottlenose dolphin population in the Shannon Estuary, Ireland” in the Behavior section along with other similar international studies. The poster displayed results of a social analysis of individuals in the population indicating fluidity between members of the population but also significant longevity in some of their associations.
The SMM is the largest international scientific community in marine mammal research and meets every two years for workshops and a conference week of oral and poster presentations. The SMM’s mission is to promote the global advancement of marine mammal science and contribute to its relevance and impact in education, conservation and management. The theme of this year’s conference was “Bridging the Past Towards the Future” and it focused on marine mammal conservation on a global scale.
Apart from presenting research, the conference provided an important opportunity to meet and network with international experts in marine mammal science. It was fantastic to learn about so many interesting research projects across the globe and a great opportunity to represent Irish research on an international platform. In particular, participating in this conference really enhanced my knowledge of current dolphin research and contributed to the progress of my PhD research.
Overall, it was a very stimulating and enjoyable conference!
Thanks to everyone who makes my PhD research possible.