A few reasons to stick around #ESA2012 through Friday

Right now, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) is holding their annual conference in lovely Portland, OR. The festivities kicked off on Sunday and will roll all the way through lunchtime on Friday, August 10th, with numerous presentations, posters, networking events, meetings (ecologists love meetings), and of course, post-conference-day libations. Jane Lubechanco gave an absolutely raging opening plenary, while forest guru Jerry Franklin kicked out the jams on Monday morning. By at least one account that uses semantics that I endorse, Monday was a ripper. I was in Logan, UT for all of that, measuring ligules and counting stigmas and whatnot, but I'm en route to Portland now, looking forward to the rest of the week.

Jeremy Fox, the handsome and famous community ecologist/blogger at Dynamic Ecology and formerly of the Oikos blog, recently highlighted that I'm in the minority when I say that I'm looking forward to the end of the conference. ESA, as it historically has, ends the conference on a half day, and with such a long conference and so few capstone events on Friday, a majority of conference attendees usually have already rolled out as the late-breaking posters hit the ground.

Why is it that people leave early? Well, it's a long conference, and it is field season here in the northern hemisphere, so there's that. For some people, classes may start soon, especially anyone involved in K-12 education. Maybe parents want to get back home for a last week or two with the family before kids start school? Then there are people teaching early-start courses or getting organized for teaching multiple classes as soon as two weeks from now. Oh, and of course, it's grant and fellowship season (almost), so grad students are furiously trying to make some loot on the backs of their proposals. Really, there are lots of good reasons to not spend a full six days at an academic conference, justifiable reasons that I can empathize with.

But there are also, at least in my estimation, several incentives for sticking around the Oregon Convention Center for the last throes of this year's ESA conference (#ESA2012 on the Twitter).

I. Talks - probably damn good ones too.

1. Peter Chesson from the University of Arizona is giving a talk within the community pattern and dynamics VIII session on how dynamic environments make it hard to use common statistical and biological assumptions to draw inference.

2. Utah State's own Peter Adler is going to outline his lab's work on functional traits and selective pressures in 184 plant species using trait databases. This will run in the life history theory and evolution session.

3. The University of Washington's Josh Lawler is going to discuss balancing multiple objectives in creating conservation corridors during the conservation planning, policy and theory III session.

4. There is an entire session on woody plant encroachment into various shrub-grassland systems. This is incredibly timely and looks like a must-see for terrestrial conservation planners and restoration ecologists.

5. Emily Bernhardt (Duke) has organized a symposium on ecosystem service valuation and environmental decision making.

II. Posters. There. Are. Somanydamnpostersitiscrazy...

1. Bill Bauerle is discussing seasonal patterns of photosynthetic capacity and how this might affect carbon cycling.

2. J. Allan Yeakley is repping Portland and talking about how governance feeds back on urban environmental quality in both Portland and Vancouver, WA. This rolls during the urban ecosystems session - which looks stacked.

3. Ecosystem management looks loaded. What up to Scott Hoffman, the dustman himself. Be sure to look at some forest habitats too.

III. Portland.

Go to the gorge, catch a drink, find a park to sit and read, catch a sturgeon, have a good coffee...and then a(nother) good beer. Where are you going that's cooler than the Pacific Northwest's third best city (behind Seattle and Vancouver, BC) on a Friday night?

The boarding call just went down...I guess I should worry about Tuesday for now.