Serina Wittyngham (2019)

With the generous support from the Wetland Foundation, I was able to attend the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) meeting in Mobile, Alabama from November 3rd through 7th, 2019. At this conference, I gave an oral presentation entitled “What doesn’t kill you makes you more susceptible to herbivory” in which I presented the results of a mesocosm experiment focused on the effects of salinity and herbivory on the traits of the smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora. Considering how abiotic and biotic stress impact the fitness of S. alterniflora is critical for understanding marsh resilience under salinity regime changes and runaway consumption by herbivores. My attendance at CERF not only afforded me the opportunity to share my research with the greater scientific community, but allowed me to receive valuable feedback that will shape my future research. While at this conference, I attended a series of other presentations that sparked new ideas as well as shared innovative methods that can increase the impact of my own research moving forward. In addition, I was able to meet new, and reconnect with old, acquaintances. A large network is an invaluable component of my success in this field, and without the support of the Wetland Foundation, I wouldn’t have been able to have these opportunities.