Aloha from the BLS7 Organizing Committee,
We would like to thank all of you for taking the time to fill out the survey. Over 250 participants provided great feedback which ultimately helped us in finalizing our decision.
It was clear from the responses that the benefits of an in-person conference cannot be replicated with a virtual environment. However, more than 80% of respondents said they would attend a fully virtual BLS7 and many pointed to the benefits of increased inclusivity and reduced carbon footprint. We also received a number of informed suggestions and ideas regarding what aspects of virtual conferences can work and what pieces could be improved.
In the end, we felt it wasn't possible for us to host any form of in- person international conference in Hawaii in 2021. We are all hopeful for vaccines and improved public health in 2021, but gathering hundreds of people from all over the world on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean doesn't seem responsible.
We have decided to move forward with a fully virtual BLS7 in October of 2021. Abstract submission is now open and we will be announcing more details over the next few months. Thankfully, there have been many lessons learned as we've watched and participated in various virtual conferences this past year. We are enthusiastic at the opportunity to use new technologies and creativity to share bio-logging science and engage with our broad community. We plan to focus much of our energy on making BLS7 a global, community experience and to spread the Aloha spirit to as many corners of the world as possible.
Aude, Charles, Kenady, Kim and Josh