6th CBE6 Travel Award Report – Olívia Soares Pereira

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The 6th International Symposium on Chemosynthetic Based Ecosystems (CBE6), hosted by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, Woods Hole, MA) was my first international conference and I could not be more pleased about the wonderful experience that I had. I am from Brazil and travel costs were quite expensive, but thanks to the Deep-Sea Biology Society (DSBS) travel award I could attend the symposium. I was presenting my work that I have doing with Dr. Paulo Sumida, from University of São Paulo, BR, for the past year after I got my B.Sc. in Oceanography degree in the same University.

Before CBE6, I attended a meeting of Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI Day) where I started putting faces to names that I had only read on papers. I could not be more excited about being in the same place of those many known researchers from all over the world. The meeting was super interesting, I realized how close the deep-sea community is and how all of us – yes, I’m definitely including myself in this community now – work together in many different issues and aspects.

I just started a MS program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography with Dr. Lisa Levin and during DOSI Day and CBE6 she introduced me to many people. And after meeting all those important researchers that do so much for the deep-sea research, I started to get nervous about presenting my work in a poster session on Thursday. Many people that I met would ask me about my research and I was impressed to see how interested everyone was, which actually made me feel even more nervous. I remember to talk to Dr. Ana Colaço, from the University of the Azores (Portugal), and she calmed me down saying that the deep-sea community is a huge family and no one was there to judge me and my work. With the following days of CBE6 I saw what she was saying; everyone was extremely warming and received the new girl so well.

Inside the conference room, all the presentations were super interesting and I could see how much of the deep sea there is to be discovered and studied. I heard about deep-sea aspects that I had never thought about. So by the day of my poster session I felt calm and really secure about my work. Everything went so well that on the last day I was awarded Best Poster by the Deep-Sea Biology Society, which I was not expecting since this is my first work as first author and I was in my first international conference!

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I was also fortunate to go on the only excursion that was not cancelled due to the bad wind conditions. I could see a little more of Cape Cod with Dr. Lauren Mullineaux, from WHOI, giving us lectures on the seals that we encountered and the salt marsh ecosystem.

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I can definitely say that I had the most wonderful experience thanks to the Deep-Sea Biology Society. I left Woods Hole with new friends, colleagues and a new perspective of the deep-sea research. I realized how valuable our researches are and I now feel part of something greater. I do not have words to thank enough the Society, InterRidge, Dr. Sumida, Dr. Levin and all the deep-sea community that made my travel possible and totally worth it. Thank you everyone and maybe we will see each other in Brazil for CBE7!

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