Meetings Meetings

Sometimes it is difficult to know when meetings are being productive, and when they are just filling the time so that we can justify our paychecks! The last few weeks have been quite full of meetings, individually with students and then with as many as ten colleagues around the table (associated with our Coral EID and Barnacle Biogeography collaborations). As I mentioned in the last update, we’ve been juggling e-conference software as well. Though our EID group has gotten more savvy about using the Adobe Connect Pro meeting software, I’m still by and large very impressed with the EVO system. Not only did it allow more-or-less quality communication among our group of Chileans, New Englanders, and Georgians last week, but it is also quite easy to connect to the same meeting by phone, Skype, or the internet teleconferencing with video/audio. There just really isn’t a good replacement for an occasional face-to-face with colleagues, and then the nitty gritty can get worked out over email.

One trade-off involved with working out such details is that in a good collaboration, the workload is appropriately shared so that the best possible science is done most efficiently. In this case, my standing collaboration with Sergio Navarrete has led to a near-perfect situation where his postdoc happens to already be sampling many of the sites that we need samples from in the coming years. This is all going to work out well.... except now I have fewer good excuses for research jaunts to coastal Chile! Clearly, some of our face-to-face meetings will need to be in person, perhaps over a good plate of local seafood and some pisco sours.