Student reports from EEA Meetings

I was excited to attend and present at this conference, which I have heard about for several years by my colleagues but unfortunately couldn’t join before. The EEA conference in Amsterdam was a wonderful experience and opportunity for me and it was my first time presenting in a scientific conference. The conference was organised beautifully, with interesting talks both by keynote speakers and an array of students, researchers, conservation enthusiasts and management experts. Everyone who attended this event was there to hear and be heard, to share ideas and knowledge about shark conservation, management and the science needed to execute these. The Tropical Institute became a sharks’ and rays’ haven for 3 days in which we have shared our experience and thoughts on the subject. For me, this experience was extremely important for connecting with future colleagues and expand my knowledge for forthcoming research and conservation efforts. The current status and studies on sharks around the Mediterranean Sea finally received attention much needed to start a change. The conference had given the opportunity for Mediterranean researchers and conservationists to communicate and we are currently working together towards a big-scale collaboration.

I was very fortunate to take part in this event with the support of the student bursary assistance and will look forward to next year’s conference!


This was my third meeting of the European Elasmobranch Association. Attending to it has always been a pleasure. Lovely presentations and posters about our favourite animals and great colleagues sharing ideas and projects is fantastic. For students like me, not only are these days a great opportunity to learn and improve elasmobranch knowledge, but also to get to know scientists with years of experience. Furthermore, the conference allows inexperienced people to present their very their own results in front of well-known experts. Giving us this opportunity is absolutely amazing and makes us feel like as a part of the scientific community. In addition, those three days in Peniche became crucial for elasmobranch conservation. When students are learning about these issues, reading scientific papers and attending to lessons in universities is highly important. Nevertheless, sitting in the same room where all the experts were sharing their points of view and discussing was inspiring. I enjoyed this moment and learned about it so much. It was eye-opening. And that is why I would like to thank Save our Seas Foundation, Shark Trust and all the people who were involved in the EEA, that helped me and other students with this student bursary. Making efforts towards conservation also includes allowing young scientists with enthusiasm to contribute. As I see it, this is a highly appreciated aspect of this meeting. Only with all our efforts combined, we will be able to have a brighter blue future.

I was very excited and glad to have participated at the EEA conference in Portugal. This was my second year participating and presenting my study at this conference. This platform allows to learn and to be exposed to many interesting studies that are being done in the Mediterranean Sea and all over Europe, gave me many new ideas and opens the door for new and exciting collaborations with colleagues from different countries and from different disciplines. I would like to thank the Save Our Seas Foundation and the EEA for the student bursary, which enabled me to come to this meeting and to share the work I am doing.

By attending EEA 2018 in Peniche, I was able to disseminate the research I completed for my MSc, using long-term datasets to infer ontogenetic shift in the lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris), to a room of elasmobranch experts. As an early-career scientist, experiencing a conference from a presenter’s point of view and receiving feedback from leading scientists was a daunting but a very exciting and rewarding experience. Throughout the meeting, it was invaluable to hear about the current research happening in my field from experts, and to be involved in discussions with them. I was lucky to meet many interesting people and learn a lot about the current status of elasmobranch science, which has guided my future research and provided the potential for collaboration further down the line – none of which would have been possible had I not received the student bursary. I am very grateful to the EEA and Save Our Seas Foundation for affording me this opportunity, and I hope that it leads to some exciting projects in the future.

Attending to the EEA 2018 meeting has been a wonderful opportunity to learn, as well as to meet other researchers. The event was very well organized, and the facilities and services were excellent. We enjoyed interesting talks about very different areas of the study of elasmobranchs. The topics ranged from evolution and ecology, to technology and conservation. Thus, by merging all these different fields, the EEA gave us the chance for sharing knowledge and creating new ideas. For me, this experience was especially important since it was my first time presenting in a scientific congress. I broadened my network and knowledge by chatting with all the involved people: students, researchers and management experts. The congress not only encouraged me to keep working hard, but it also inspired me to develop new projects. Everyone who attended this event was willing to listen to new ideas and collaborate in order to raise awareness about elasmobranch conservation and management. For three days, Peniche was the capital of elasmobranchs; we could focus all our attention and efforts in learning and setting new goals and ideas. This kind of initiatives are extremely important to promote a better understanding of these animals, and interdisciplinary research collaborations. The European Elasmobranch Association is doing a fantastic job. Without this type of events, it would be far more difficult to connect worldwide researchers. I am truly grateful to them for supporting me with the student bursary award. Looking forward to the next year‘s meeting!

I have been always interested in sharks and rays but I never had the opportunity to be in one of these conferences, so attending the EEA meeting 2018 in Portugal and presenting my project was, undoubtedly, one of the best experiences I have had as a student. The location was amazing, surrounded by the incredible landscapes of Peniche, and the organisation was excellent during the entire event. I could meet many people who shared the same passion and who were eager to share their experience with the rest of the delegates. I really enjoyed all the presentations, from the keynotes to those of the students who were presenting for the first time like me, and I was impressed by the high variety of topics presented and discussed during the meeting. In my opinion, the interaction between the researchers and the exchange of information and ideas is the best way to expand our knowledge, and the EEA meeting was a perfect way to do it. We all learnt a lot about sharks and rays, techniques to study them and conservation and management actions. Not only did I enjoy the presentations but also the social events such as the conference dinner, which was truly entertaining and helped building and strengthening relationships. I feel very lucky to have been part of this meeting and I wish to thank the EEA for giving me the chance to attend the 22nd Annual EEA Meeting through the student bursary. I am looking forward to meeting you at the next year’s conference to keep learning more about these amazing animals!

I would like to thank the European Elasmobranch Association (EEA) and Save Our Seas Foundation for providing funding for me to attend the EEA conference in Peniche this year. As an early career scientist, these conferences are so important to attend as they offer the opportunity to learn about so many fields of research as well as the chance to meet, connect and network with numerous people. It was great to be able to give my first oral presentation at the conference this year, where I presented my master’s thesis. I look forward to attending EEA again next year!

Having just completed my masters at the University of Exeter, I was thrilled to have my abstract accepted to this year’s European Elasmobranch Association (EEA) conference in Peniche, Portugal to present my masters research on basking shark spatial ecology! It was a fantastic weekend of sharing new, elasmobranch knowledge and research that will go on to enhance conservation plans and the policies surrounding such a complex task. The weekend provided a great opportunity to hear about research outside of your own specialty and to gain new ideas from experts in different research fields. Additionally, I met some truly wonderful and inspiring people at the EEA who shared advice, answered questions and who will continue to motivate me during the next stage of my career. I would not have had the chance to gain these new connections that will hopefully lead to future collaborations, without attending the EEA. This was only made possible by the assistance of the student travel bursary provided by the EEA and Save Our Seas Foundation. I’d like to say a massive thank you to the EEA and Save Our Seas Foundation for awarding me with student travel bursary, Manx Basking Shark Watch for providing data for my masters, Dr. Matthew Witt and Dr. Lucy Hawkes for their support (academic and otherwise) and to all those who organised the event and to the wonderful volunteers who ensured the weekend ran smoothly! See you next year! Obrigada!

I was so thrilled to be able to attend the European Elasmobranch Association conference held in Peniche this year thanks to the travel bursary awarded to me by the EEA and Save Our Seas Foundation. This was my first experience presenting my Masters research, and the conference provided not only a warm and welcoming environment, but invaluable opportunity for feedback from experts in the field. Peniche was such a beautiful setting and the conference was brilliantly organised, becoming home to such a vast array of fascinating projects, researchers, policy makers, conservationists and students alike. I have come back so inspired and enthused about the field of elasmobranch research, wanting to collaborate with each and every one I met. The conference provided me with such a fantastic opportunity to network, I have already reached out to organise joint projects on further camera deployments in basking sharks. As an early career scientist, being exposed to so many different people at different stages of their careers is incredibly eye opening. It validates the fact that there is no set route to achieve what you want to become, and that trial and error is the basis of science, not something that should scare you away from persevering. I want to extend a special thank you to the EEA for awarding me with Best Student Presentation. It is a huge honour, and has given me the confidence I think I was lacking to apply for more international conferences in the future. I look forward to coming back next year to EEA conference held in Italy!

The EEA meeting in 2017 was the very first scientific conference I participated in and it was a very special and unique experience for me. After this conference it was clear to me that this was not my last EEA meeting and I was really excited and looking forward to attending the conference in Peniche in 2018. During the annual meetings of the EEA it‘s all about sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras and, therefore, is the perfect opportunity for shark-enthusiasts, students, researchers and conservationists to come together and present and discuss their latest results and observations. Although the EEA conferences are well-attended (this year there were 150 people from several countries), you get to know each other very quickly and it soon feels like a big family meeting. Yet, also “big fishes” are participating the conference and cast their spell over the audience when giving their talks as keynote speakers. Especially for students and young researchers it is very important and a tremendous chance to easily get in contact with well-known and highly prestigious scientists. With the support of the student bursary assistance I was given the chance to present the results of my own research, to discuss them with experts, make new contacts and forge auspicious collaborations with other researchers from all over the world. I’m truly grateful for that and I am looking forward to the next EEA meeting I am going to attend!

Thanks to the student support of the European Elasmobranch Association, it was possible for me to attend for the second year the EEA meeting in Peniche. This is more than just a normal conference, it’s a friendly get-together. The EEA meeting is a place where shark and ray lovers all get together to share both their scientific knowledge but also their experience on the efforts to conserve these species. In Peniche, I met colleagues I haven’t seen for a long time, which I had the chance to be updated on their most recent work developments and made some new very interesting contacts that I will certainly keep for collaborating in future research. The whole conference was very well organised, with a lovely scenery in Peniche, by the high waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the young lively feeling in town. Likewise, the EEA meeting and the kind support of the EEA incentivised the participation of students from all over Europe, and even from other continents. It was a great opportunity to share ideas and experiences with other colleagues with different backgrounds in elasmobranch science. In particular, the round table was a very interesting session to discuss the practical aspects of elasmobranch conservation which is often left behind throughout our academic research life. From year to year I have observed an increasing quality on the talks and the organisation of the meeting, leaving all the participants looking forward for next year!