I never knew so many people worked on reptiles. I thought I'd have enough oomph for a coherent post tonight, but I'm tuckered out. My talk went well. I think the most important thing I've gotten out of this so far are a couple of ideas of things to try with the mosquito DNA when I get home.
Everyone here does tend to think that their study system is so obviously the best.
It sounds hokey, but one nice thing about conferences is that you can get a fresh perspective of what you do because you're explaining what you do to people. Repeatedly. This isn't a bad thing, because people are polite enough to ask. You have to of course reciprocate and learn how they are studying something (*yawn*) that just wouldn't hold your interest. I'm trying to think of a good example, but I'm only remembering the interesting ones.
I don't know why, but I'm fascinated with the pale morphs of lizards and beach mice, who live on sandy dunes. It's such a great example of local adaptation. I guess I'm interested in local adaptation. Need to translate that to mosquitoes, because I think, even though they are really widely distributed, that they show local adaptation. No one has looked for it, that's all.
I was explaining my job yesterday to a couple of people who have faculty positions. I told them how I found out about the job (applied for an ad in the paper), how I'm regarded (lots of autonomy and flexibility) and where my funding comes from (my boss gets a budget and says, "order what you need to do your work") and I thought:
Man, I'm lucky.
And those are my random thoughts. Tired and heading to bed now.