Showing posts from 2018

100 Days of Vitamin Sea

by Beth Francis

At the start of the second year of my PhD in Ocean Sciences at Bangor University, I was diagnosed with chronic migraine, and I felt as though my whole world collapsed in upon itself. I went from being healthy, active and enjoying my life and PhD, to what felt like a shell of the person I was. When I experience a migraine, I am completely bed-bound for up to a few days, barely able to go to the bathroom by myself - never mind working on my PhD. Even the thought of going into the office to work, or out and about by myself on a good day now scares me, because I fear I will get a migraine and be stuck. Over the last year, I have tried to regain control of my health and my life by embarking on a challenge to swim in the seas around North Wales for 100 days, and along the way shared my journey of living with a chronic illness.

Migraine – not just a headache

For those of you who are lucky not to know what a migraine is, let me start by saying it is definitely not “just a heada…

Balancing Life and Work in Academia

Building a career in science can be a tiring and difficult process, and it is particularly precarious at the early-career stage. Time is usually spent on long hours in the field, in the lab, giving lectures, writing papers and grant applications, or attending conferences. For many, there is a constant fear about future employment - especially in academia, where short-term contracts and career gaps are becoming the norm. The stress from it all can and does influence our personal lives. There has been a big push in academia to teach early-career researchers how to manage and/or balance work and life. However, it can be a daunting thing to actually implement these changes. To help aid early-career researchers in their quest to balance work-life, we asked the PAGES community to share their views and advice. Although we know that experiences and views may differ considerably from person to person and from country to country, here we share three perspectives, each from people at differen…

Diatoms - My Way into Science

by Xavier Benito

**Spoiler: While I personally have tons of admiration to those who leave academia after Master/PhD graduation, this post is dedicated to those early-career researchers who stay and continue along the bittersweet journey called academia **

To begin with, I could write about how today's early-career researchers' personal and professional lives are stressful. Instead, I will write about how important passion and curiousness about nature are in finding your way into science. Personally, I am fascinated by diatoms (Fig. 1), a group of siliceous glass-encased algae, because they can be used to understand past and present environmental conditions in nearly all aquatic ecosystems. Thus, during my PhD in Spain, I studied diatoms found in Mediterranean deltaic ecosystems by applying GIS, ecology and palaeoecology approaches. For example, in the Ebro Delta, I found a high diversity of diatoms (407 taxa to be exact) from only 24 samples! These results inspired me to contin…

The 8.2 ka Event Seen from the South

by Ignacio A. Jara

During my usual surfing on the internet catching up with new science content, I stumbled upon a very exciting article published just a few weeks ago in the journal Nature Scientific Reports [1]. In this recent publication, a climate cooling that occurred about 8,200 years ago was clearly identified in a pollen record from South Korea. This particular cooling [SPOILER ALERT] has largely been recognized in many other areas of the Northern Hemisphere. The article presented the first evidence for its occurrence in coastal East Asia. As a trained palynologist with interest in paleoclimatology I have always been fascinated by these kinds of studies. Nonetheless, I was equally intrigued by the fact that, as far as I know, there is not much evidence for such a cooling event in the Southern Hemisphere.

The original idea of writing this post was to share some outlooks about Quaternary Sciences from here in the Southern Hemisphere, something I did a few years ago during my Ph…

Science in Submarines

by Danielle Schimmenti

Welcome on board!

In the fall of 2017, during my first semester of graduate school, I joined the science team aboard the University of Hawaii’s R/V Ka’imikai-O-Kanaloa for a deep-sea submersible diving cruise. During the course of my 30 days at sea, we traveled to several seamounts (former islands now sunken beneath the ocean’s surface) in the Pacific. There we sent manned submersible vehicles to the ocean floor to do surveys of the overall health of the deep-sea coral reefs found there, as well as to collect some very rare live and fossil (dead) coral samples. I cannot reveal the names of the sites we visited or the exact nature of what we observed during our dives as this project is still ongoing, but I’d like to share a bit of what it was like doing research using submersible vehicles.

What is a submersible vehicle?

A submersible vehicle is a small submarine. Manned submersibles or human occupied submersible vehicles (HOVs), such as the ones used on my cruise,…

Searching for the Right Erratic Boulder

by Karol Tylmann

“I don’t want to look at stones anymore, they don’t say anything” [1]......but what if they do have something important to say to us?

I would like to share some experiences with you related to our studies of erratic boulders (Fig. 1) in north Poland. Erratics (chaotically dispersed in some regions) are stones of glacial origin. This post focuses on how to find the right erratic boulder to “catch” the ice sheet from the Pleistocene – the geological epoch which lasted from about 2.5 million to 11 thousand years ago, often referred to as the Ice Age.

Glaciers and ice sheets grew and shrunk many times in response to past climate changes. It is important to know when and how fast it happened, to be able to predict future climate behaviour. But how can we date and reconstruct fluctuations of the Pleistocene ice sheets which disappeared completely ca 10 000 years ago? In fact, stones may be the answer!

Surface exposure dating with cosmogenic nuclides

Today, dating erratic boulder…