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Diatom of the Month project: South American diatoms

Post on January 25, 2018


One of the regions with the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth deserve a divulgation post. And what better that combine biodiversity, diatoms and tropical South America? This is the subject of the current post of the Diatom of the Month project. This is a divulgative project posting in a monthly basis catchy histories about diatoms, beatiful primary producers and key organisms as biological indicators of waters.

I´ve been honored, thanks to my colleague and project´s collaborator Luca Marazzi to write the January´s post entitled: "South American Diatoms: a hidden gem with enormous potential". Here, I provide a small flavour on biodiversity and biogeography patterns of diatoms in tropical South America by means of own research and literature. Particularly, I emphasize the need of additional research to taxonomically harmonize diatom data sets for past, present and future diatom-related disciplines (e.g. paleoclimatology).

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Workshop at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

Post on November 12, 2017


The Phycological Consortium Research, an annual meeting that gather scientists interested in phycology, has been held this weekend at the Lakeside Laboratory of the Iowa State University. This meeting has the goal of creating a collaborative research among graduate and post-graduate researchers, and interchange ideas and feedbacks about their phycological research. The atmosphere of the meeting is very supportive and friendly, and the oustanding Lakeside lab facilities provides the perfect place for research and discussion in a wide range of phycological needs and objectives. This year´s edition has been my first participation, thanks to the invitation of Dr. Sylvia Lee, one of the PCR co-founders. The Nebraska crew was represented by Melina Feitl and Sabrina Brown, my lab colleagues and friends. Besides bringing our diatom samples for identification and documentation purposes, the Saturday’s session was very productive in terms of breakout group discussions (e.g. taxonomic problems, biovolume calculations, floristic references) In addition, different people gave short talk presentations about their current research: from the effects of global change to cyanobacteria blooms to the problems of biogeochemical silica cycle in lakes. A very interesting demonstration of algal pigment activity on live using a fluorometer was also given. But not all were indoor activities. We have had the opportunity to sample algae living “under the ice” of the Okoboji lake.

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Is it important to create a PAGES early-career researchers working group? What should be its remit?

Post on September 4, 2017


The new PAGES magazine entitled Sustaining Earth's biodiversity is out. This volume highlights the importance of long-term ecological data to answer key questions in the current agenda of Earth System science, such as resilience of ecosystems, the restoration of disturbance regimes and the prediction of future responses to changing climate and disturbance.

In addition, there is a mini section devoted to the last PAGES´s Young Science Meeting, held in Morillo de Tou (Aragon, Spain) last May. A serie of articles summarizing the conclusions of breakout group discussions, including science communtion, non-professorship life outside academia, and the importance of creating a new working group within PAGES for Early-Career Researchers. My colleague Stella Alexandroff and I co-authored this contribution.

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New blog on the block: Young Diatomists

Post on May 27, 2017


The Young Scientists of the International Society of Diatom Research (ISDR) are launching the brand new YoungISDR blog. A new interface for diatomists to connect, have contact, share diatom publications (own or particularly relevant), courses, workshops and job positions worldwide! To keep the blog up-to-date and alive in future, we need YOUR help (not only from the young scientists ;))! If you spot a conference, a workshop, an open job position, a nice new publication or have experienced a research stay/field trip/expedition related to the field of diatoms, please contact YoungISDR!

And don’t forget to sign up to our googlegroups! Big announcements will be given through this medium. We encourage also to visit the oficial Facebook page of the ISDR to keep updated with the latest news of the organization!

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Third Report of Climate Change in Catalonia

Post on January 31, 2017


The scientific community that investigates climate change in Catalonia has published the Third Report of Climate Change in Catalonia, which assembles the latest research on this topic from a multidisplinary point of view. The report´s objective is to transfer the scientic knowledge to the decision makers´ community. By providing the scientific physical and climatological evidences of the climate change, more than 140 authors formulate recomendations to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, and seek to understand how natural and human systems can adapt and/or mitigate the impacts of climate change.

With the obtained results, the report concluded that air temperatures will raise 0.8ºC during the current decade, and 1.4ºC around 2050 (compared with the 1971-2000 period). These changes will be accompanied by a significant reduction of the mean annual precipitation. Also, and coincident with other Mediterranean regions, climatic scenarios show an increase of extreme events in Catalonia, such as droughts, hot waves, sea storms and floods. Interestingly, the report also contributes to the importance of paleoclimatic proxies (i.e. indicators preserved in lake sediments that give a climatic signal of past times) for a better contextualization and understanding of the current climate change in Catalonia.

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Course on Meta-analysis in Ecology (Coimbra, Portugal)

Post on January 11, 2017.

The registration to the Inter-meeting course ‘Introduction to meta-analysis in ecology" that will take place at Coimbra (Portugal) between 3rd – 7th April 2017, is now open. The deadline to register is the 28th February 2017.

This course is directed to members of the Iberian Limnological Association (AIL). Any member of the AIL can register for the course, but since the number of vacancies is limited to 20, priority will be given to members of the J-AIL (Young AIL researchers group), on a first come first served basis.

The information of the course can be found here

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PAGES Open and Young Scientists Meetings in Spain

Post on December 9, 2016.


PAGES (Past Global Changes) is an international initiative to promote research on past global changes. From an interdisciplinary perspective (geologists, climatologists, biologists, chemist), PAGES aims to generate paleodata in order to better understand the earth system and inform future scenarios of climate change. Figures of PAGES website indicate that more than 5000 scientists from more than 125 countries are currently being involved with the organization.

The next PAGES international meeting will be held in Zaragoza, Spain, between the 9th and 13th of May. The local organizing committee is the Quaternary Terrestrial Environments Research Group (Pyrenean Institute of Ecology-CSIC). Before the general meeting, in Morillo de Tou (around 100 km north of Zaragoza, Spain), the associated PAGES young scientists will met in the 3rd Young Scientists Meeting to discuss and interchange emerging ideas of global challanges from a paleoscience perspective.

Abstracts submission and funding support are due until December the 20th!

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Last volume of ALGAS bulletin

Post on September 19, 2016.


See the last volume (June 2016) of the ALGAS bulletin, the journal of the spanish phycology society (Sociedad Española de Ficología, SEF).

ALGAS publishes original research, short communications, opinions, and thesis reviews among others. In this last volume, I've published my thesis review (in spanish) about the ecology and paleoecology of the Ebro Delta. In this short review, a special emphasis has been made in the use of diatoms as indicators of coastal wetlands habitats. I concluded with the importance of combining quantitative approaches (transfer functions) and qualititative ones (indicator species analysis) to identify and characterise the full range of the Ebro Delta habitats.

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Anthropocene: the beginning of a new geological epoch?

Post on August 31, 2016.

Recently a new paper came out in Science entitled Anthropocene pinned to postwar period putting on the scene the recent findings of a group of geologists that seek for a geological signal in the sediments or rocks for proposing Anthropocene as the Holocene's successor. According to this expertise group, the Working Group on the Anthropocene, human activities have profoundly modified the earth system by a serie of factors that will be likely apparent in the sedimentary records worldwide. Some examples include: radiactive elements result of nuclear bomb tests, plastic and airborne pollution, or the extreme nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations with fertiliser uses. However, Anthropocene can not be considered as a new geological epoch until a 'golden spike', a signal around the world, would be identified in the rocks or sediments. Although this signal can be finally found, stratigraphers are skeptical about this geological transition. They argue that such changes are very short and recent in comparison with the average span of geological epochs, with tens of milions of years. Anthropocene's supporters responde that most of these changes are irreversible. The debate is open.

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R cookbook for multiple stressor biomonitoring data analysis

Post on August 12, 2016.

Biomonitoring the impact of stressors in aquatic environments is a primary task before implement management actions. The European Water Framework Directive requires to all state members to achieve a good ecological status for their inland and transitional water bodies before 2020. As consequence, large amount of environmental and biological datasets have been obtained. Aquatic ecosystems are affected by multiple and often interelated human and nature-based stressors, making difficult to disentangle its separate effects on ecosystem status. In this context, and taking advantage of up-to-date R statistical language, Feld and col. publish a paper with a very useful 'cookbook' to analyse and interpret environmental-biological relationships in the context of multiple stressors framework. The authors provide R scripts easily to execute, and guidance to run analysis with own data. Finally, authors recommend a minimum number of independent observations and % stressor gradient length to perform analysis satisfactorily.

See Feld et al. 2016 Science of the Total Environment here

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Salinization of rice fields: impacts of climate change in a Mediterranean delta

Post on August 2, 2016.


Sea level rise is considered one of the most serious impacts of climate change in lowlying coastal areas, such as deltas. Recent bibliography provides models to forecast its effects at socioeconomical veles, but the effects of sea-level rise on soil salinity have not been previously modeled. Ana Genua-Olmedo and col. have taken the Ebro Delta as a case study to spatially model the soil salinity under different scenarios of sea-level rise according to the IPCC. This work has also simulated the rice production along time, which shows a negative correlation as soil salinity increases in consequence of sea water intrusion. Due to the rice fields occupy more than 65% of the total deltaic plain, the authors highlight their findings in the context of future management and adaptation measures.

See Genua et al. 2016 Science of the Total Environment here

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New paper out: deltaic benthic foraminiferal assemblages

Post on July 27, 2016.

Benito, X., Trobajo, R., Cearreta, A. & Ibáñez, C. 2016. Estuarine, Coastal and Shlef Science 180: 97-113

Mediterranean deltas form an assembly of diverse habitats: coastal lagoons, fresh, brackish and saline marshes, inner bays, estuaries, and adjacent marine areas. Until date, however, ecological studies adressing the bioindicator role of benthic assemblages of deltaic habitats, are very scarce. To partially fill this gap, we present the first comprehensive study that characterizes the whole range of habitats of a Mediterranean delta using benthic foraminifera (unicelular protozoa). The results highlight the complementary use of quantitative and qualitative approaches to correlate the benthic foraminiferal microfauna with the fossil record of the ecosystem. The paper is part of the first author' thesis focused on the ecology and palaeoecology of the Ebro Delta (NW Mediterranean).

See Benito et al. 2016 ECSC paper here

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24 International Diatom Sympsium 2016 (Quebec, Canada)

Post on July 23, 2016.

From 21-26 August the city of Quebec will host the 24th edition of the International Diatom Symposium.

Within this meeting, there will be the 1st Young Scientist Meeting which aim to choose an early career researcher for the International Society of Diatom Research council. This meeting will be a very important opportunity for the young diatomists to meet each other and create sinergies for future collaborations.

The election of a young representative is also important to link young' researchers interests with the ISDR council. By doing this, we will help to outline the future strategy of the association, as well as to promote activites that will be useful for the young associates.

Among other international research associations, we found the Jóvenes-AIL, the young section of the Iberian Association of Limnology. This is a very active group led by PhD students and early postdocs who organise workshops, collaborative projects and meetings not only every Association' symposia, but also after. I strongly believe this is an organisation that young diatomists should mirror with to develop a similar platform of collaboration.

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