After NCSU in Raleigh (which by-the-way I should say it felt strange to be back in the east coast in March with near freezing temperatures, etc.) I was off on an overnight flight to London Heathrow then to Stockholm to a conservation genomics workshop (link) organized by Aaron Shafer and Jochen Wolf of Uppsala University. A man was waiting for me at the airport with my name on a card as soon as I walked out. He drove me out into the country to the place the workshop would be held for the next few days. The location was amazing and the most surreal aspect for me in the rapid transition from Hawai'i. It was a medieval mansion/castle (Wiks slott) in a rural Scandinavian farm and forest landscape. After arriving it started snowing and several inches accumulated. We all stayed on site so there was no travel back and forth to the nearest town. We ate meals in a lower floor with long tables, small barred windows set deep into thick walls, and arched walls and ceilings. I soon discovered the castle had hidden passage ways, suits of armor, etc! I also had jet lag so in the middle of the night I couldn't sleep so I went for a walk, and to top it off there was a full moon hanging over the castle!
The point of the workshop was to discuss if there was a general reason to include new genome level technologies (versus classical molecular genetics of a few loci) in species conservation genetic applications. The discussions and presentations were a lot of fun and I'm hopeful some impact will come of it. It was also nice to be back in Europe after being away for 2 1/2 years. There are lots of things I like about Europe and I was a bit homesick. It was also fun to listen to and read Swedish and to try to decipher the meanings. I was surprised that I could recognize some words based on their similarity to German and/or English.
Finally a small world note. I already knew Jochen Wolf, one of the organizers, because we worked at the same institute in Germany before he moved to Sweden and I moved to Hawai'i. Also, the other organizer Aaron Shafer was at the same institute in Canada with Jolene Sutton who is working here on the mosquito/avian malaria project.