Story by Angela Sharples, Chair of the IBO Executive
The 17th IBO was held in Argentina, and New Zealand was represented by Andrew Fu, Karen Jackson, Norman Quek and James Shand, with myself and Jules Robson the team leaders.
New Zealand teams are always flying long distances to the IBO competition and 2006 was no exception. We flew into Buenos Aires, overnighting before travelling to the north of Argentina to visit Igauzu falls and recover from the jet lag induced by swapping our body clocks from day to night, the time difference between New Zealand and Argentina being exactly 12 hours.
Who knew you could take so many photos of falls. Yes we took the jet boat excursion beneath Devils Throat and it was truly magnificent. We also took a days tour into the Amazon jungle – the team thought the guide looked exactly like Captain Jack Sparrow from the film Pirates of the Caribbean – I would have to agree. He was enormously knowledgeable about the local biology and we all learnt a lot, some of which was helpful in the IBO exam as the host country tends to use local examples in the exams.
The team then flew to the competition which was held in a small Argentinean university city called Rio Cuarto. The competition itself was challenging as usual and made more so for our team as it was marred by a team member suffering from the flu. They did outstandingly well however with both Karen Jackson and James Shand bringing home a Bronze medal.
One of the wonderful things about participation in the IBO competition is the relationship that the students develop with other talented young biologists from around the world. The IBO also aims to provide a strong cultural element to the experience and 2006 was no exception. Argentina made sure the students experienced local dancing (tango seem to be defining and we were treated to performances by some of Argentina’s best dancers), a gaucho tour and a special barbecue called an ‘esado’.
All in all, the 17th International Biology Olympiad was a wonderful experience and I was very proud of our teams performance.
Results for the 2006 competition can be found here.