Last week (3 – 8 of November) probably the larger ichthyology event so far in México took place in the beautiful city of Morelia. The event was in fact the combination of four icthyological meetings that gathered 583 participants; the IV International Symposium on Viviparous Fishes, the V meeting of the Goodeid Working Group (both European and North American branches), the XIV Congreso Nacional de la Sociedad Ictiológica Mexicana and the III Simposio Latinoamericano de Ictiología. The ambitious event was organized by a committee formed by eight persons, with the support of a team of about 100 biological sciences students of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, which made a very complex organization look like an easy task. One of the organizers, Omar Domínguez-Domínguez, in charge of scientific committee, still had time to arrange for personal request from many people, which went to the extreme as to allow the use of his car for field locality visits. Having organized congresses myself, I could appreciate the complexity of the logistics and how smoothly it all went.
Three beautiful buildings served as localities for the meetings; Palacio Clavijero, an imposing 4,000 square meters building adorned with beautiful murals, which construction dates back to 1660 by the catholic Jesuits order. The Museo Regional Michoacano, and old baroque house that dates back to the XVIII century, in 1864 it hosted the Emperor Maximiliano Primero de México. Again, beautiful murals cover the walls of this building. Lastly, the Museo del Estado de Michoacán was also used for conferences, another beautiful house which construction dates back to the XVIII century. In total, six auditoriums were used, many times simultaneously. The first two days of the event were devoted to the IV International Symposium on Viviparous Fishes, where 31 conferences by world leading viviparous fish researchers where presented. The amount and quality of information was overwhelming. The Symposium of Viviparous Fishes was founded by Dr. María del Carmen Uribe of the Autonomous University of México City, which also presented her research.
On Wednesday the Goodeid Working Group had its annual international meeting. Six very interesting conferences were presented by Goodeid specialists of the group. At least one of them by John Lyons was so motivating that he was even unable to take all questions given the available time. It was about conservation of Goodeids, and in my opinion included such transcendent ideas that I will dedicate a complete editorial to it.
The day topped with a visit to the famous Aqualab at the University, in charge of Omar Dominguez Dominguez. The Aqualab started as an initiative of the late Ivan Dibble, who gathered among Goodeid fish aficionados in Europe the necessary support to build the initial aquarium installations and made arrangements so it would receive continuous support by organizations like the Goodeid Working Group. Such was the passion of Ivan for his beloved Goodeids. I had the fortune to count Ivan among my friends and he is sorely missed. With the skillful direction of Omar, the Aqualab currently keeps in top shape colonies of many Goodeid species, most of them unfortunately critically endangered or extinct in the wild. The fish in the collection are superb; I was shocked by the large size and beauty of many of the specimens kept.
Being Omar the open and generous person he is, with a high interest in the safe keeping of Goodeid populations, he has no doubt to offer surplus stock to any interested party, and this time was no exception with stock being given to many people who committed to maintaining the captive populations.
A field trip was organized for the participants of the Goodeid working group to take place the day after the event, on Thursday. During the trip the members of the group were able to observe fish habitats and showed that there is always a lot to learn to conservationists.
The third and fourth events of the week were the XIV Congreso Nacional of the Sociedad Ictiológica Mexicana and the III Simposio Latinoamericano de Ictiologia. They started on Wednesday simultaneously with the Goodeid working group meeting. Those events were by far the largest of the four events with a staggering combined number 322 conferences and posters describing research on topics in conservation, commercial fishing, aquaculture, parasitology, behavior, ecology, genetics, physiology systematics, and taxonomy of fishes.
But not all was scales and gills during the meetings. There were also daily cultural events organized for the attendants to socialize and talk all matters fish or fishless, while tasting a cup of wine. Hundreds gathered at the lovely locales. Many friends and contacts were made during the week in Morelia which will likely have an impact of Mexican fish knowledge and conservation.
To close, I want to thank Omar Domínguez Domínguez for his kindness. I was certainly impressed by the quality of the organization and the presentations. I personally enjoyed immensely the talks and events, the beautiful architecture of Morelia, and the after meeting gatherings in the beautiful Jardín de las Rosas among friends, beers and jokes. I value the new contacts and friends I made during the week. I now look forward for the next meetings, and you should think about attending too!
© Copyright 2014 Juan Miguel Artigas Azas, all rights reserved
Artigas Azas, Juan Miguel. (November 13, 2014). "Morelia Ichthyology Week 2014". Freshwater Fishes of Mexico. Retrieved on April 26, 2019, from: https://www.mexfish.info/section.php?id=3.