A message from the outgoing president

This message from outgoing president, Erica Vidal, was posted to fastmoll, the cephalopod mail service for cephalopod researchers world wide, 10th December 2018. We are reposting it here. Researchers currently not subscribed to fastmoll can join the list at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk.


Dear colleagues,

It was great seeing many of you in Saint Petersburg during the CIAC 2018 conference. I wanted to send out a quick message to thank again Heather Judkins and the Organizing Committee for having organized this amazing conference and all the participants for making such a special gathering! Whether you joined us or were not able to attend, I thought you might like to hear some of the conference highlights!

This year’s conference was one of our biggest, with nearly 230 participants, including 135 researchers and 80 students from 30 countries. Let´s start with the workshops that were the perfect way to spend the weekend pre-conference. They provided the prolific atmosphere for breaking down any language barrier leading to an effective and reciprocal exchange of knowledge among the participants from several countries and generations. It was wonderful to experience such effective interaction between young students and distinguished scientists. The “hands on” approach of some workshops proved to be extremely valuable and workshop organizers received many positive feedback and acknowledgments, particularly from students who most benefited from such settings. Thus, it would be meaningful to carry on this practical workshop approach forward to the next conferences.

The theme of the conference was “Cephalopod Research Across Scales – Molecules to Ecosystems”, chosen with the goal of encompassing a broad variety of topics covered in 9 sessions. The result was the showcase of innovative, high-quality science that led to stimulating and productive discussions.

Both keynote talks were dynamic, engaging and inspirational! The opening talk by Alison Sweeney on the physics behind squid eye lenses provided a better understanding and approximation of squids visual capabilities. The closing talk by Greta Pecl on cephalopods as target of climate change impacts in marine ecosystems was long-awaited and grabbed everyone´s full attention.

There were many interesting and groundbreaking talks in the main stage. A particular talk captivated everyone´s attention and was commented on over and over during the week: Kubodera-sensei´s presentation on an amazing courtship behavior by a new species of Sepia from Sagami Bay in Japan. The crowd let out a collectively “Ohhhhhh” – mesmerized by what was being shown – there is not denying – our favorite animals are truly extraordinary!

If you would like to see a snapshot of all of the presentations, the CIAC 2018 Program and Book of Abstracts will be posted on the CIAC website (www.cephalopoda.org).

One of the novelties of this conference was the Lightning Talks that consisted of five minutes presentations delivered by both students and researchers alike. These talks were very dynamic and had the impact of involving the audience from beginning to the end. A successful experiment and a keeper for next conferences.

Student awards are always an enjoyable moment where those recognized by their outstanding performance are revealed and prized at the closing ceremony. This year awardee for the best student oral presentation was Owen Nichols from USA with the talk, “Offshore influences on inshore squid: linkages between water mass dynamics and Doryteuthis pealeii distribution”, while the winner for the best poster was Celso Cedillo-Robles, an undergratuate student from Mexico who delivered a stunning poster: “Shallow water octopuses from Mexico”. The first ever Lightning Talk award recipient was Kieran Murphy who presented, “Cephalopod community trophic ecology in relation to body-size in an oceanic system”. They all received the new released book “Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish: a visual, scientific guide to the oceans’ most advanced invertebrates” signed by the authors: Roger Hanlon, Mike Vecchione and Louise Allcock. Congratulations again to all of you!

One of my favorite moments in all CIAC conferences is when the awardees for the Lifetime Achievement Award are announced. This award honors outstanding researchers who, during their lifetimes, have made significant contributions to the field of cephalopod research. The awardees are inspiring and influential minds in the field, thus our heartfelt congratulations to the new Honorary Lifetime members of CIAC: Bernd Ulrich (Ulli) Budelmann, Marek Lipinsky and Mike Vecchione. Thank you so much for a lifetime of recognized accomplishments!
Social events are always the highlight of any conference as they bring everyone together in a relaxed atmosphere providing opportunities to get to know new colleagues, socialize and exchange ideas. Both the venues for the Welcome Reception and the Celebration Dinner were very well chosen for this purpose. The Welcome Reception took place at the Florida Aquarium, a wonderful place to visit in the company of friends and colleagues and catching up. The Celebration Dinner took place at Gulfport Casino Ballroom with a special view to the intercoastal waterway along the Gulf of Mexico from the dinning hall. After a special dinner, music and dancing followed bringing the conference’s to a great close before a warm farewell. If you want to know and see more, there will be several photos from the conference available on the CIAC website soon (www.cephalopoda.org), check them out!

I was thrilled to see another CIAC conference come together in great style because while the main reason for our gatherings is to present our science outputs, these conferences make us feel part of this awesome, thoughtful and inclusive cephalopod community that we are so lucky to have! I am extremely honored to have served as CIAC President!

Finally, I would like to wish all the very best for our new President, Heather Judkins and the Executive Secretary, Ángel Gonzalez and, the new Council members (Vlad Laptikhovsky – UK, Yoko Iwata – Japan, Morag Taite (early career) –Ireland, Mandy Reid – Australia, José Eduardo Marian – Brazil, Rui Rosa – Portugal, Lisa Hendrickson – USA, Aaron Evans (early career) – NZ and Annie Lindgren – USA). I am already looking forward to seeing you all in Lisbon in 2021!

Warmest wishes for a Happy Holiday season and a healthy and peaceful New Year!!


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