Prairie University Biodiversity Symposium at the University of Calgary | By Micky Ahn

At the end of February, I had the opportunity to attend the Prairie University Biology Symposium (PUBS) held at the University of Calgary. PUBS is a research symposium organized by students and has been bringing together researchers from the Canadian prairie provinces for over 50 years.  Along with my lab mate and fellow HPI trainee, Sarah Unrau, and other graduate students of the University of Lethbridge, we made the drive up to Calgary to attend the meeting.

PUBS at the U of C was a rather large event with over 50 presentations and 50 posters, all from graduate students. There was a lot of diversity in topics, with 3 concurrent sessions running all day ranging from cell biology to ecology. Even within each session the huge variety of study systems and projects were exciting. Both Sarah and I had the privilege of presenting orally in the “Species Interactions and Dynamics” session during which I spoke about the effects of parasites in fathead minnows in a presentation titled “Consequences of parasitism: Reproduction of a population of male fathead minnows in northern Alberta”.

The symposium was very well organized and the efforts from the organizing committee to put together a smooth event were evident. One of the most exciting features of the event was the keynote talk given by Dr. David Suzuki. Being a major activist for the protection of our natural environment, Dr. Suzuki gave a talk that was just as much inspiring as it was humorous. Even though his presentation was open to the public, attendees of PUBS were given preferential seating and it was a great privilege to hear his talk in such close proximity.

Attending the meeting was an amazing experience and a great opportunity for me to share my interests for parasites with my peers. Thank you very much to HPI for giving me the chance to present my work in Calgary!

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