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Diatoms - My Way into Science

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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…