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  • My Life at IHB - Patrick Danley
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                               Patrick Danley, Ph.D. 
                              Associate Professor 
                             Department of Biology 
                             Baylor University, USA 
    I am extremely grateful to Dr. Huanzhang Liu and the CAS-President's International Fellowship Initiative for inviting me to work with my colleagues at the Institute of Hydrobiology for the past month.    

    I had collaborated with Dr. Liu's research group for several years and we had published a number of manuscripts together. Naturally, I was eager to visit the researchers, the Institute, and China. I was familiar with the research systems from my work on our collaborative projects; nonetheless, I was aware that I knew very little about China. Nonetheless, I was still shocked at my profound ignorance of Chinese geography and biodiversity. Coming from the United States, nothing could have prepared me for the beauty and wonder of my time here.   

    China is expansive, yet it is simple and comfortable to travel long distances. A good deal of my time at the IHB was spent in the field collecting fishes for community surveys and genetic analysis. This required us to travel up to 7 hours to the west in a comfortable high-speed train. In the field I saw the spectacular gorges of western Hubei Province, Sichuan Province, and Guizhou Province and collected in pristine streams, visited tiny villages, and was amazed by enormous cities like Chongqing.   

    The collections made in the area of western Hubei Province not only showed me the beauty of this area, but also exposed me to the cyprinid diversity endemic to China. The majority of my research, since my undergraduate days, has focused on the extraordinary diversity of East African cichlids. I had some experience with North American cyprinids, though mostly limited to shiners, chubs, and minnows, I was not prepared by the diversity of cyprinid fish we collected during my visit.  It was an eye-opening experience to witness first hand the diversity held in these tiny streams. In fact, I was fortunate enough to contribute to the description of a new species during my time at the IHB.   

    As one would expect, my friends and colleagues at the IHB were extremely gracious with their time and help; I can only hope to repay my gratitude someday. What was surprising was the hospitality shown to me by the people of Wuhan.  Wuhan is a large city and my experience with people in cities larger than 10 million people is that they tend to not go too far out of their way to help someone. This is not true in Wuhan. For example, I was waiting in line for my breakfast of hot dry noodles when it began to rain. I stood there without my umbrella when I realized I was not getting wet. Without a word, the man behind me opened his umbrella over both of us as we waited for our breakfast. Needless to say, the people of Wuhan were helpful and patient and it was comfortable, though not without confusion, navigating the city by myself.  

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