Mixing business and leisure at the soil science conference in the Philippines

Constancio Tony Asis, Senior Research Agronomist

Tony Asis with his prize winning poster at the recent 21st annual Philippine Society of Soil Science and Technology conference.

Left: Tony Asis with his prize winning poster at the recent 21st annual Philippine Society of Soil Science and Technology conference. Right: Tony in the field, measuring rice growth.

Recreation leave is intended to assist staff members to achieve a good life work balance. Tony Asis decided to explore the Philippines and attend a scientific conference while he was there. Tony talks about the experience and his achievement award from the Philippine Society of Soil Science and Technology (PSSST), for his notable achievements in research for the past three decades.

Conference attendance is a vital part of my professional career. It gives me opportunities to share and learn current research, ideas, and converse with other scientists. As a lifetime member of the PSSST, I received an invitation to attend its 21st annual meeting and scientific conference in May 2018. I accepted the invitation and used my recreational leave to attend.

As part of the conference I submitted a paper on ionomics and a poster titled, “Effect of plant growth regulator on growth and yield of aromatic rice”. Ionomics is used as an aid in identifying the holistic dynamics of nutrient interactions. The lecture was positively received, particularly some of the details around (multivariate) statistical analysis of soil and nutrient data to avoid making false connections between nutrients. The poster, co-authored by Nick Hartley, on plant growth regulators was ranked third place in the Best Poster Award.

As part of the conference I received the Achievement Award; the highest award given by the Society. The award was in recognition of my research on an array of topics over the past 30 years. The topics include: integrated nutrient management, contribution of biological nitrogen fixation in crop production, isolation of beneficial microorganisms associated with agronomic and horticultural crops, as well as pioneering work on the use of leaf color to manage nitrogen application on rice.

After the conference, I visited the Philippine Rice Research Institute in Nueva Ecija to learn about the recent advances in rice science in the Philippines. I also went to the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute in Quezon City where I had a hands-on experience in 15N analysis using isotope ratio mass spectrometers. I was also requested to talk about ionomics to the environmental science students of Ateneo de Manila University also in Quezon City, Philippines.

Indeed, my travel was a successful use of recreation leave and I am looking forward to more opportunities to use it for the sake of science.

Last updated: 23 July 2018