G'Day Australia! (Oh wait, what time is it here?)

G'Day Australia! (Oh wait, what time is it here?)

Blogger: Abigail Lynch, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and a CSIS member, blogs from Down Under -- she's in Australia to build a framework for her dissertation research. She's interested in developing a decision-support tool to regulate harvest management strategies for lake whitefish in a changing climate.


G'Day Australia! (Oh wait, what time is it here?)

Monday, June 13, 2011

After three flights, four in-flight movies, three continents, and 31 hours, I arrived in Brisbane on Sunday night.  My luggage, however, decided to stay in Europe.  At that point, though, I was so disoriented and discombobulated that I had no idea what day it was – let alone time of day – that my only goal was to find my flat and sleep.

It’s amazing how restful sleeping in something other than a cramped airplane seat can be!  I sleptBribie Island right through the night so, thankfully, jet lag wasn’t a problem.  And today is a public holiday (the Queen’s birthday – odd that they don’t even celebrate this in the UK, isn’t it?) so the university was closed. It gave me a chance to find my bearings and even get out to explore Bribie Island. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My first day at Uni (to use the common Australian phraseology), University of Queensland, St. Lucia.  What UQStLa beautiful campus!  The morning was a bit chaotic, getting set up at my desk space, filling out forms to get connected to the network, etc. (luckily, there's another new visiting student, Laura Russo, so at least I'm not orienteering along!). My morning of logistics was pleasantly punctuated by morning tea, where the extended Applied Environmental Decision Analysis group assembled in the courtyard for tea, coffee, carrot cake, and conversation. From my limited experience, morning tea is a convention common to research groups everywhere except the U.S. It's a great institutionalizd break in the day to distance yourself from whatever you were working on, catch up with other folks in the group, and also circulate general announcements. It also was a really good opportunity for me to get a quick, first introduction to the lab group.

And what a large lab group it is! They all are working on such diverse and interesting topics, with the common thread of decision theory/analysis in a spatial context. For me, it’s really exciting to be a part of this group, even if just for a short while. I’m here to immerse myself in this way of thinking; learning about these projects is helping me realize that there are so many different problems that can be solved with similar approaches. Meeting this greater lab group is also helpful to me in particular because many of them are not of fisheries backgrounds, so I am getting experience discussing my own research objectives with a broader audience.

Chris Brown is a graduate (or post graduate in Australian) student in the Spatial Ecology Lab with a strong fisheries background. He is doing some really interesting work on marine fisheries using climate-forced food web models. He’s been a great asset for me in the planning stages of this trip and I’m sure he’ll continue to be an important resource for me while I’m here (though I don’t want to bother him too much – he’s finishing his dissertation -- or thesis, rather, in Australian -- in August). I’ve already had a very helpful chat with him about who would be good to meet with and who is working on similar or related issues. I was more than a bit overwhelmed with this list at the end of it. There are so many people here working on so many different, but applicable, topics to my research – wow!

Lynch's studies are supported by a William W. and Evelyn M. Taylor Endowed Fellowship for International Engagement in Coupled Human and Natural Systems, an International Studies and Programs Predissertation Award, an Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Summer Fellowship, a Graduate School Research Enhancement Award, and a travel award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. 



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