I’ve found science fascinating for a great many years, and one of the things I enjoy most in life is helping others to catch some of that fascination for themselves. It’s a big part of the reason why I became a teacher before I started my PhD, and I’m so glad that science communication and outreach opportunities have continued to appear since then – after all, research shows it’s good for you, and for others. In this post, I want to reflect on some of the outreach fun I’ve had in the last year, and maybe encourage you to have a go too!
I am aware that not many people had the great opportunity like me to attend PAGES OSM 2017. Therefore, I wanted to share some of the key things that got stuck with me after the conference.
There was an outstanding list of presentations and strong sessions. I am not aiming to pick a favourite, but I would like to highlight the following ones: “From the Mediterranean to the Caspian: paleoclimate variability, environmental responses and human adaptative strategies” with convener Ana Moreno et al, “Do species move or die” with convener N. Whitehouse et al, and specially “Disturbance dynamics across special and temporal scales” with convener Graciela Gil-Romera et al. Papers discussed there were largely multidisciplinary, and generated good discussions.
I recently attend the PAGES (Past Global Changes) YSM (Young Scientists Meeting) as well as the OSM (Open Science Meeting) 2017 in sunny Spain. The YSM was particularly exciting – a group of 80 early career researchers met in the Pyrenees, at the restored village of Morillo de Tou.
The spectacular surroundings were matched by spectacular science, with a combination of great talks and posters as well as breakout group discussions and workshops. The schedule was pretty packed, but we made time for some star gazing with local astronomers and a night of traditional Aragon music and “dancing” in the moonlight. Overall, I thought the YSM was an excellent opportunity to meet other young scientists, and discuss issues of particular import to our community.
The Jê group: Farmers and sedentary
This time, written by scientific journalist Marcos Pivetta, this article covers what has been discovered so far by the archaeological research within the project and gives a first glance of what has been found from the palaeoecological research performed by Macarena L. Cárdenas and Frank Mayle.
To read the whole article click here, available in Portuguese. Right hand click in the page to automatically translate in google.
About FAPESP: São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, Portuguese: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) is a public foundation located in São Paulo, Brazil, with the aim of providing grants, funds and programs to support research, education and innovation of private and public institutions and companies in the state of São Paulo.
The third year of our Je Landscapes project has just started and the team has been full on. This year the project started with a successful field trip in Southern Brazil, and with attendance to international conferences at the European Conference of Tropical Ecology and the Society for American Archaeology in Orlando where oral presentations from the team were made.
Considering also that the archaeological research started back in 2013, it is no surprise then that the project has had good attention from newspapers and media in Brazil lately. Here are links to some of the news and posts we definitely like:
Historia Revelada by Diario Catarinense Includes a video with the reconstruction of the findings
Escavações revelam hábitos de índios que viveram há mil anos no Sul do país Povos Jê by Folha de S. Paulo
Je Landscape in the cover of Diario Catarinense
Expedição Arqueológica em Urubici by EXPERIÊNCIA VMA
And more to come.
We are delighted to announce that we are finally ready to receive abstract submissions for the INQUA ECR Conference and Summer School 2016, at Reading, UK.
We have a wide range of activities and fun things to do at this event that you cannot miss, including lectures from renowned researchers, hands-on-training using models and empirical datasets, and of course the great opportunity to share your own research by giving an oral or poster presentation.
Check the website for more information
INQUA ECR Committee
Here I want to share what my brain grabbed and maintained the most from the conference I attended last week in Germany.
First to mention is that I had a great time at the European Conference of Tropical Ecology. There was a great selection of fantastic talks, really good quality research, and outstanding projects.
There was a full-day session in paleoecology which I thought was well rounded covering topics such as ‘Ecological baselines for the high Andes’ with William Gosling, ‘Long-term dynamics of Amazonian rainforest and wetland ecosystems and the role of climate, sea-level, fire and human impact’ with Prof Hermann Behling, ‘Phytolith signatures along a gradient of ancient human disturbance in western Amazonia’ with Crystal MicMichael, and ‘History of geographical parthenogenesis of Neotropical Ostracoda using fossil and molecular data – a consequence of climate fluctuations?’ with Sergio Cohuo.
My contribution in this conference was talking about the preliminary findings of the Je Project in an oral presentation entitled ‘Araucaria forest, human land use, and climate change linkages in southern Brazil during the late Holocene’, which was well received and commented.
Other talks that stand out for me were:
Yadvinder Mahi(University of Oxford), gave a plenary talk on ‘New insights into the metabolism and carbon cycle of tropical forests from a global network of intensive ‘, where he showed some surprising outcomes from their project with GEM (Global Ecosystem Monitoring Network ). GEM is massive network that measures productivity and gas flux within forest of the Amazon, Africa and Asia. I totally recommend to look at their webpage to look at what they are doing (for example: outstanding results come from Chiquitania in Bolivia)
Professor Susan Page (University of Leicester)gave a plenary talk on ‘Swamped! The trials and tribulations of tropical peatland science’: where she shared controversial information regarding management of peats from Indonesia, and the raw reality. A fantastic example of how we can use research for a common good.
Minnattallah Boutros a former researcher in conservation, now a business owner, brought another, feared topic to the conference, ‘Bridging the gap – Biodiversity conservation in the frameworks of research and development cooperation’, where she shared her knowledge in how to bring money to do research in ecology and conservation. She seemed to know very well what she was talking about, a great eye opener.
Kyle Dexter (University of Edinburg) gave a great presentation on ‘Patterns of dominance in tree communities vary across the major biomes’ and he highlighted how there are hyperdominant taxa, this time also including the Matta Atlantica (finally someone is talking about other biomes other than the Amazon!)
Trends. It was very interesting to see stronger trends of research in ecology. A strong current seem to be appearing about Ecuadorian Amazon and Andean vegetation. There was a large session entitled “Developing sustainable land use and functional monitoring systems for the Ecuadorian Andes to cope with environmental change effects” where interesting research was shown. Other strong focus was towards wetlands and their role in carbon cycling, a whole session was on “Tropical wetland ecology”.
Staying connected. If there is something that always stands out of the conferences is that I take the most at seeing and talking to people from my field that I wouldn’t normally. Here is the most fun. Talking about projects and getting to know future plans are equally important (specially so you don’t step out in each other’s toes!).
Food. Not a minor topic for me (apparently I am a foodie). A delightful surprise from the organisation was to find out fantastic buffet at the Conference reception in the first night, accompanied with a live band that played from jazz, to modern rock. The snacks at coffee breaks were also delightful with selection of food even for vegan-gluten free people, finally!
Well done to the organisation committee, and everyone attending.
Looking forward to other conferences!
Our lab made presence in South America during late December 2015, specifically in Santiago of Chile. This was a visit during which I had the opportunity to be at the facilities of San Ignacio School and enjoyed using one of the microscopes in their large teaching laboratory with wooden tops (it was like being back to school!).
On the other hand I took the opportunity to share some knowledge about our research and the world of pollen. I had a great conversation with Mr Luis Lara and Miss Carolina Guerrero (photo below), both responsible at the Sciences Department of the School. TPR donated samples of pollen reference collection of key taxon with some fun morphologies that they will use for future botany classes and highlight the amazing world of cells.
Thanks to Colegio San Ignacio for opening the doors for me and special thanks to Luis and Carolina that made me feel like at home.
About San Ignacio School:
San Ignacio School (Colegio) is one of the top schools of Chile. Every year San Ignacio’s graduates get national score in the test to enter the University, best scores include in tests in the area of science.
On 26th October I gave a talk at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at their symposium entitled ‘Amazing Amazon – seed biology and the bio-economics of native species’. While there I had the great privilege of fulfilling a long-term ambition of mine – to finally meet Sir Ghillean Prance – the world-renowned expert on Amazonian botany. Over a rack of ribs and a few pints at a local village pub I really enjoyed chatting with him about our respective fieldtrip adventures in the Amazon over the years. I was also delighted to receive a signed copy of his latest book ‘That Glorious Forest’ where Ghillean regales us with his field expeditions in the Amazon, dating back to his first trip in 1963! Great bedtime reading for me at the moment.
by Frank Mayle