The 5th Nordic Goby Meeting was held in Tubingen, Germany on March 6-9, 2013. While Tubingen is clearly not in a Nordic region, the organizers clearly spend much time in the field at Nordic sites working on gobies. This was the first time I had attended this meeting and it was really interesting. Researchers were primarily from Norway, Finland or Sweden but there was more than one German lab and one from Switzerland present. People were working on sand, common, two spotted or round gobies and the Baltic was clearly the region where most research is focused.
The Baltic Sea is an incredibly interesting body of water. The salinity differences between the opening of the Baltic at the North Sea and the tip of the Baltic is very large; from 35 to less than 6-8 parts per thousand. This large salinity gradient forms roughly west to east and the salinity gradient is paralleled by genetic gradients in several species. You can read more about the Baltic as a test bed for the evolutionary consequences of environmental perturbations through CeMEB, the Centre for Marine Evolutionary Biology, of which I am now a member. I will be working at the western end of the Baltic, in the Gullmar Fjord, this summer studying sand gobies so this trip gave me a great introduction into the work focusing on this and other gobies in the region.
Interestingly, there were several groups working on the invasive round goby at several sites. The research in North America and Europe can sometimes move in strangely parallel but independent paths. Hopefully, having a North American present will help to introduce and connect some of the work going on here with my colleagues in Canada. There were clearly strong overlapping interests between researchers at this meeting and work ongoing in Canada.
The location was beautiful. Tubingen is much farther south and thus, much warmer, than Gothenburg, Sweden where I am for my sabbatical. We had warm, sunny weather that was the best of spring weather and the crocus’ were already in bloom. Contrast that to the snow we had in Gothenburg this week; spring has not come this far north yet.