Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Building my network in Scotland

During October, I island-hopped to Stirling, Scotland with my long-time collaborator Katherine Webster. Flying from Belfast to Glasgow is amazingly quick - just 20 minutes in the plane. A bus, train, and then taxi took us into Stirling, where the University of Stirling is located (http://www.stir.ac.uk/). For those of you who might not be up on their UK geography, here is a map: http://goo.gl/maps/k2QaT. Stirling is where THE Wallace (featured in Braveheart) is from, so there is a big monument to him there (tower in pic below).


The first day in Stirling, I gave an invited talk to the Scottish Freshwater Group:
http://www.ceh.ac.uk/sci_programmes/water/scottishfreshwatergroup.html. They have meetings twice a year, and this one was co-sponsored by the IBIS Project (http://www.loughs-agency.org/ibis) and held at the University of Stirling (pic taken while on campus below). My talk was titled Landscape approaches for understanding and managing lakes. The room was full and my talk went well. I had quite a few people talk with me afterwards about taking a landscape perspective in limnology, using hierarchical models, or creating and maintaining effective collaborative research teams. Good stuff!


The next day, we met with Scottish scientists who do very complementary research to the Landscape Limnology Research Group (www.fw.msu.edu/~llrg) and who could be future collaborators. We met with Andrew Tyler and Peter Hunter from the University of Stirling, Laurence Carvalho from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology at the National Environmental Research Council, and Mark Cutler, Eirini Politi, and John Rowan from the University of Dundee (http://www.dundee.ac.uk/). 

We exchanged information about our respective research programs, including GloboLakes 
(http://www.globolakes.ac.uk/) and CSI Limnology (www.csilimnology.org). We established 
that there are many, many opportunities for interesting collaboration and are planning to 
meet again soon.

Kicking off sabbatical with a European conference

I kicked off my sabbatical year during July 2013 by attending the Symposium for European Freshwater Scientists (SEFS) in Munster, Germany. For those of you who don't know where Munster is, here is a map: http://goo.gl/maps/7OSkl. I had a great time at the conference.

Here are some highlights:
1) The presentation quality was extremely high. Check out the program: http://www.sefs2013.de/.
2) The venue was amazingly posh, with comfortable lodging, easy to navigate session rooms, and very good food. Check out the Movenpick Hotel: http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com/en/europe/germany/muenster/hotel-muenster/overview/.
3) The conference was a really nice size. It was smaller than what I've attended the last few years, which meant that it had fewer concurrent sessions and I didn't have to jump between sessions that often.
4) The diversity of plenary talks was excellent. They had a really nice balance of early-career, middle-career, and late-career speakers, male and female speakers, speakers with different disciplinary expertise, and speakers from different countries. Here they are: Simona Bacchereti, Emily S. Bernhardt, Ulrich Brose, Claudia Dziallas, Carol Eunmi Lee, Judit Padis├ík, Robert W. Sterner, and Diego Tonolla.  
5) My oral presentation was titled A conceptual framework for understanding multi-scaled cause-effect relationships between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and it was in the special session titled Organic carbon and nutrient dynamics in freshwaters under global change. The room was completely full during my talk and it was well-received.
6) The city of Munster was really nice - see pix below. It is dubbed the bicycle capital of Germany, and the people there are proud that they have not had a mugging in over 20 years. The Movenpick was right near a beautiful park with a nice-sized lake that was surrounded by trails (middle pic below), as well being walking distance to the Botanic Garden (map here: http://goo.gl/maps/dD6DG).




My only real disappointment was that the majority of attendees study moving, rather than still, water (i.e., rivers and streams rather than lakes and ponds), but there were certainly enough interesting presentations for me to learn from and I was happy to start the year at SEFS.