Experiment, JapaDog, and Vancouver: GSA 2014

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada. The decision was relatively last minute and I wouldn’t have been able to go without the support of my backers on Experiment.com (I recommend using Experiment. It was really simple and I got lots of help). You can read my summary from last year’s meeting here.

I flew from Detroit to Dallas, then from Dallas to Seattle. I had a window seat on the flight from Dallas to Seattle and enjoyed watching the plains change to mountains. I took a lot of pictures.

After a beautiful drive from Seattle to Vancouver, I checked in to the conference and flipped through the program book trying to figure out how I would spend my week. As always, all of the paleontology sessions were clustered together in a corner, but I must admit it was a beautiful corner.

Unsurprisingly, I spent the vast majority of the conference in paleoclimate sessions. From using phytoliths to reconstruct canopy cover to paleomycology, and from the Pleistocene African Rift Valley to the Eocene Arctic Circle, I learned a lot about what is going on in paleoclimate and paleoecology research right now. I came away with pages of notes and renewed motivation to work on my research. On Tuesday night I went out to dinner with the Friends of Fossil Plants. That was the first time that I had ever spent time with a group of people who I could bounce paleoclimate ideas off of and it was a very rewarding experience.

I also branched out and went to talks by some of my friends. I went to a handful of talks on Paleogene mammals and spent an afternoon in a session of talks on phylogenetics (most of which went right over my head).  If nothing else, I filled the margins of my notebook with terms that I didn’t understand to look up later.

Like last year, I was able to meet up with the people behind one of my favorite podcasts: Palaeo After Dark. James and Curtis kept me entertained throughout the conference and it was a pleasure to finally meet them face to face.

When I wasn’t sitting in sessions, I was eating. I tried to eat as many new things as I could while I was in Vancouver. My first night I tried Indian food for the first time, and almost every day for lunch I took advantage of the abundant food trucks (including JapaDog, see photo below). If nothing else, I definitely ate very well in Vancouver.


After a long, exciting week I headed back to Michigan. Here’s one last glimpse of Canada (Windsor this time) before I settled home. I had a great time at GSA this year and I hope to go again next year!


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