Digital Dispatch, Day 5, Plant Biology 2016.


July 13 was the final day of Plant Biology 2016.

Traditionally, it ends with the President’s symposium, and this year President Dixon’s theme was ‘Specialized Metabolism’, or all the things that plants make that aren’t strictly  necessary for survival (though this could be debated).

Here’s a secret as an attendee of many Plant Biology conferences. The symposium on the final day is usually fantastic and worth sticking around for if you can. It will broaden your horizons in many ways (I know many people look at the topic each year and say “not for me”, but I’d urge you to fight that instinct and go in with an open mind). Though I could only stay through the first talk from Anne Osbourn (@AnneOsbourn1) before needing to catch my flight, it was really, really good.

Mary Williams wrote a great summary of the entire session here.

Here are a few tweets from the talks:






Heading Home and Continuing the Conversation 

My day 5 storify is here and Bethany Huot’s (@huotbethany) storify of days 4 and 5 are here.

This was a really great meeting based on all the Tweets and people I got to interact with. And there are many tweets like this one agreeing with that idea.

Now, as we head back to life as usual: laundry, writing, reading, learning, and otherwise doing science in the lab, we can be sure that a lot of ideas got shared and that the conversation will continue. I hope they do.

I know there are many things that I will be following up on from the conference and a lot to think about. Though Twitter is great for open discussion, the plant scientist community now also has Plantae where digital group discussions can continue openly with the plant science community or in more private small groups.

Some of my biggest take aways:

  • Biology is digital and learning some code and design experiments that generate large datasets is essential.
  • Small peptides are a big deal.
  • Plant Biologists are innovators in life sciences as we seek to understand organisms that are not truly like us, but are essential to our existence.

And last, nearly everyone’s favorite plant is the species they work on. (in my How Plant Scientists Work Interview, I said The California Coast Redwood is my favorite plant).

What are your take aways? Let us know in the comments here (or come find me @IHStreet or @ASPB on Twitter and say what you took away from #plantbio16 there).

This year at ASPB, The digital presence on Twitter was great (I think a lot of sessions got mentioned/tweeted about, which is great to see in 6,447 tweets pulled from an API app):

The tweets can be found here: 



With Noah Fahlgren’s github code, I also put together some of of the data myself:

Tweets/user at #plantbio16














This year there were also 25 How Plant Scientists Work (that will continue as a text, video, and podcast series) videos recorded as well as elevator pitches.

Thanks to all who contributed to #plantbio16’s digital coverage and to all who attended. It is the people that make the conference and the professional society.

Here are the Storify collections for  day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4, and day 5.

And digital dispatches from each day of the conference: day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4.


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