The National Postgraduate Workshop in Systematics was held at the University of Adelaide from July 11th – 15th 2016.
The workshop runs every second year and this year hosted 32 PhD students, 22 of which originate outside of Adelaide.
Specialist staff delivered workshops and seminars on topics including DNA lab management, Phylogenetics, Tours of the State Herbarium and South Australian Museum, and short talks by workshop attendees. Dr John La Salle from Atlas of Living Australia gave a seminar which you can watch here.
Corri from the Environment Institute caught up with Jenna Crowe-Riddell for her take on the event.
CB: What was the purpose of the workshop from your perspective, why did you attend?
JCR: I wanted to learn about next-generation DNA sequencing techniques and how to combine that with morphological data to answer evolutionary questions.
CB: What was the community and collaboration aspect like, and the benefits of having students from all over the country attend?
JCR: The diversity of projects and meeting other PhD students! Gave me perspective on my own research questions, and I released that the emotional hurdles and triumphs I felt with my own project are shared by many other PhD students!
CB: What was the best, unexpected thing about the workshop?
JCR: The social aspect! The organisers did well to give enough structured down time to allow us to decompress and share our ideas as the workshop progressed. There was also some well-organised social events that were a lot of fun!
CB: What was the best medium for complex concepts and procedures to be communicated? What had the most impact?
JCR: Having demonstrators in the computer tutorials that are leaders in their field answer my questions was really useful. There’s often a lot of ways to visualise complex analyses (like Bayesian statistics!) so having the opportunity to talk to different researchers was helpful.
CB: Other comments or aspects of the workshop that you enjoyed?
JCR: I had some very engaging conversations with people that have been followed by potential collaborations. I enjoyed the diversity of speakers – from industry, museums, universities, etc.
The workshop was hosted by the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity and the Environment Institute and sponsored by the Australian Biological Resources Study, the Society of Australian Systematic Biologists and the Australian Systematic Botany Society.