A Survival Guide to Conference Travel

Academic lifeJune 28, 20171

Travis Nielsen is the founder and CEO of Azurigen Management and Consulting Solutions Inc. A STEM project management firm that specializes in linking conservation based science to business and government. He is a published scientist specializing in Marine Biology with 10 years experience in STEM, and 10 years of experience in management and leadership. He has been responsible for projects with budgets up to $500,000, working with multiple stakeholders, large public engagement mandates, and with staffs up to 100 people in locations all across the globe.

Attending Conferences is one of the main ways that academics get their ideas out there. If you’re lucky, your school or business will reimburse the money that you spend to go to conferences, but you still have to put the money upfront first. Sometimes, they will only reimburse up to a certain amount and the rest has to come out of your pocket. I have picked up a few tricks and suggestions in my years of conferencing that may help others plan a great conference trip, without succumbing to the pitfalls.

Plan ahead – Though I realize this isn’t always possible, if you know in advance what you want to do, then plan ahead as much as you can. Research the location, figure travel documents, check ticket prices, accommodation options, food availability, etc. The more time you have to plan, the better prepared you will be, plus you may find deals if you plan earlier, or find someone to share the expense.

Experiment with travel plans BEFORE booking – NEVER book the first option or what you are told to book. If you are paying for things always ALWAYS look to see if there is a creative solution to your travel. Is it cheaper to book a trip as two round trips? A series of one way tickets? Are certain airports cheaper to fly through than others? Is there hostel accommodations nearby? Is it cheaper if you book a few days early? If you are being reimbursed for your travel, then your business will appreciate you trying to make it as cost effective as possible. It can be easier that you think, use sites like kayak.com or expedia and with a little bit of goofing around you can end up doing things like spending 7 weeks circumnavigating the globe for less than $800.00 a month.


#JacquesWeek returns July 23, 2017!

#OceanOptimismJune 27, 20170

I am pleased to announce that Southern Fried Science will once again host Jacques Week, an ocean lovers’ alternative to Shark Week. Three years ago, on a bit of a whim, we launched Jacques Week, an effort to not only provide a respite from the blood-in-the-water, often fake documentaries of the premier basic cable ocean event, but to give us a chance to celebrate what makes ocean documentaries great–compelling stories, stunning visuals, a bit of human connection–with the greatest ocean filmmaker of them all: Captain Jacques Yves Cousteau.

We’ve selected a series of classic Cousteau films to watch together from July 23, 2017 to July 28, 2017. As always, we go to great efforts to find ones that are available online, but we have also selected several that are only available through purchase. Since it’s becoming harder and harder to find some of the classic collections, this year we’re giving you plenty of lead time to track them down. We have selected three films from the Jacques Cousteau Odyssey collection (The Nile Part I and II and Clipperton: The Island the Time Forgot). You can find these on Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers, as well as your local library.

Included this year will be a series of discussions on Twitter and Facebook, as well as Facebook live. The official schedule will be released the week before (though, if you follow me on Twitter, you already have some idea what we’re planning). Follow the #JacquesWeek hashtag for news, announcements, discussion, and Cousteau trivia.

We aren’t associated with any of the Cousteau organizations. This is a purely grassroots celebration of the man who brought ocean adventure, science, and conservation to the world.


What does your sandwich cost, rare species in the deep, dong worms, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 26, 2017

Monday Morning SalvageJune 26, 20170

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • NPR did a great breakdown on the full carbon cost of one sandwich.


Fossil whales, Amazon dams, and offshore wind: Thursday Afternoon Dredging: June 22nd, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJune 22, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):



Cuttlefish camouflage, climate change, ShellBorgs, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 19, 2017.

Monday Morning SalvageJune 19, 20170

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • This cuttlefish:


Wrasse control, oyster farming, and the economic benefits of saving whales. Thursday Afternoon Dredging: June 15th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJune 15, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):


Half-safe, climate change, deep-sea mining’s last frontier, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: Junes 12, 2017.

Monday Morning SalvageJune 12, 20170

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web)

The view from Long Bridge Road on Tangier Island. Credit Andrew Moore for The New York Times


Save the date: OceansOnline is back in 2018!

#SciComm, Academic lifeJune 9, 20170

I am pleased to announce that following the success of 2016’s OceansOnline, this event will return!

What is it? OceansOnline focuses on how marine scientists, conservationists, and educators can use internet tools for research, collaboration, and public outreach. It is open to anyone interested in marine science or conservation topics.


Giant whales, drowning historical sites, and slimy fish lips. Thursday Afternoon Dredging: June 8th, 2017

Thursday Afternoon DredgingJune 8, 20170

Cuttings (short and sweet):


June is National Ocean Month and the president’s proclamation needs some fact checking.

policyJune 7, 20170

June is National Ocean Month! Take a moment to step back, breathe, and reflect on what the ocean means to you. Go to the beach. Read Moby Dick. Build an underwater robot. And then go remind you representative how critical science-based ocean policy is to the future of our country. It seems like our elected leaders may need a little refresher on that, since the presidential proclamation announcing National Ocean Month is a bit… inaccurate.

Fortunately, we’ve take the time to graciously provide some constructive corrections. You’re welcome.


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