#GlobalAOS: Alice Cibois

This July and August, we’re running a special series of blog posts profiling AOS members around the world, in honor of the recent change to AOS’s bylaws eliminated any reference specifying the Western Hemisphere as the Society’s geographic sphere of influence. This week, meet Alice Cibois, a researcher at a museum in Switzerland.

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Alice at work with specimens from the museum’s collection.

What’s your current job title and affiliation?

I work at the Natural History Museum of Geneva, in Switzerland. I’m a research officer and I work on birds. So I curate the museum’s the bird collection, and I also work on public exhibits related to birds, and I also do research, which is mostly focused on the phylogeny, biogeography, and systematics of different groups of birds. It’s supposed to be a third of your time for each part of the mission.

What are you working on right now?

Some days, like today, I spend almost all my day working on papers. I also work in the lab a bit, because I do molecular phylogenies, but other days I’m up near the lake to show waterfowl to children or working with the public team to plan the new exhibits. I have to be very flexible — a few years ago we had a whole exhibit on birds, so for that year I didn’t have so much time for research! I do very little teaching compared to colleagues that are at universities, but on the other hand I’m doing much more public outreach.

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Birdwatching along the Rhone River.

When did you join AOS, and why did you decide to join?

I became a member while I was doing a postdoc at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. That was in 2000, and I’ve been a member since then, even after I returned to Europe, because I wanted to keep coming to the meetings.

I don’t come every year, at this point I come to an AOS meeting every five or six years, but I really enjoy keeping in contact with colleagues. I also enjoy being able to have The Auk and The Condor, and I was also very interested for a while in having the Birds of North America subscription that’s included in the membership. And I think it’s fun to keep up with news about the society, like a few years ago when the two societies merged, I was glad to keep in touch with what was happening in America.

What’s the best benefit that you’ve gained from being a member of AOS?

Coming to the meetings. The meetings are really great. I really enjoy going, because there are always a lot of interesting talks and I get to catch up with colleagues. The meetings and the journals are the main interest for me, being far away from the rest of the activities of AOS.