Below the jump you'll find a talk that I somehow managed to forget to discuss here on the blog, some parting remarks about the conference, and an announcement.
-I was totally remiss in forgetting to talk about Jason Link's talk on An Ocean Without Dogfish. This is especially egregious since his work has informed a lot of mine and that his findings on the ecological role of Squalus acanthias are directly applicable to my stuff. Basically Link knocked spiny dogfish completely out of the ecosystem using four different modeling programs. The general opinion is that the absence or reduction of dogfish will be beneficial for those commercially-important species that they potentially compete with. Obviously this is a very popular view with commercial fishermen. However, two of the four models showed no significant change in the numbers of those species in the absence of dogfish, one showed skates skyrocketing and suppressing even more species than the dogfish, and one showed only river herrings having a modest increase in population. In none of the models did commercially-important groundfish significantly increase in population. I generally am a bit skeptical of anything that is 100% modeling, but Link has access to a massive trophic database on the Northern Atlantic and has proven himself to be an expert on this ecosystem. Interesting stuff, and kind of antithetical to some of the more alarmist data points brought up by Sulikowski earlier in the conference.
-Overall, AES was a blast. I did a lot of networking, got some great feedback, and learned firsthand just what a fun-loving group shark people are. I will definitely be attempting to go next year when the conference hits Minneapolis (too bad it's not in the fall so I could check out a Vikings game while I'm there). Also, it was great to get back to the motherland of Rhode Island. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of my favorite places are still doing alright (Lil' Rhody is second only to Michigan in being whacked by the economic downturn, something I will talk your ear off about over beers) and that newcomers to the state seem to enjoy it just as much as I do. The Westin was a pretty sweet hotel, though afflicted by the "nice hotel" tendency to charge you for everything possible. That said, the people working there were among the nicest I've had to deal with in a hotel situation. Overall a great experience that made me proud to call myself a shark person.
-One final announcement to for this post. I've been approached by representatives from a burgeoning mini-empire of salty bloggers, and will be joining their ranks. When I do, I'll put up a post here with the new address and try to make the move as quick and painless for you, the reader, as possible. This blog has been doing much better than expected thanks to you, the reader, and hopefully you'll be sticking around as it enters the next stage of its development.