Tropical Field Phycology Course 2015 - Panama
University of Bangor
Photo Caption: Tropical Field Phycology Course 2015. A. The Team ( Left to Right. Back:: Maycol Madrid, Will Schmidt, Micah Marty, Laurie McConnico, Holly Cronin, Sofie Vranken, Talita Pinto, Lynn Cornish, Glenda Hunter, Mary Cruz Rojas, Emilia Croce.. Mid: Luis Reyes, Suzanne Fredericq, Laura Bush, Robin Taylor, Mariana Mungioli, Abdiel Jover, Front: Karla Pedraza. B. What lies beneath? C. Discovering the wonders of the seaweed communities of Bocas del Toro.
Tropical Field Phycology Course 2015The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) have run three previous Tropical Field Phycology courses from their Bocas del Toro Research Station on the Caribbean coast of Panama since 2008. In 2015 I was privileged to be offered a place the fourth course along with 15 other students from, in alphabetical order, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, the host nation, and the USA. Our instructors Wilson Freshwater, Suzanne Frederiqc and William Schmidt also travelled from afar (USA).
The course focused on the development and enhancement of the practical skills required for collection, processing, and preservation of tropical marine macroalgae, with numerous collections occurring in a diverse range of marine environments within the Caribbean (e.g. mangroves, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, sponge communities). Specimens were identified morphologically in the Bocas del Toro laboratory with assistance from available literature and informed opinion. The course participants had a wide range of specialised knowledge, supplementary to the expert knowledge of the instructors, facilitating abundant knowledge exchange. Specimens were predominantly preserved by press, with those that required additional molecular analysis preserved in silica gel. Individual species plates were produced contributing to the Bocas del Toro Biodiversity Inventory.
In addition to practical work, daily lectures were available on morphological and molecular identification, macroalgal taxonomy, in addition to case studies of the instructors work. My personal favourite was the talk by Suzanne Frederiqc on the long term impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on Rhodolith beds and their associated flora, a relatively rare but perhaps very resilient habitat. Course participants also presented their research with my oral presentation on the long-term change of large brown macroalgae in the British Isles receiving great interest.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and educational experience through which I gained a deep insight into entirely new ecosystems, complete with new genera and species. Additionally I formed many rewarding links with a wide range of people from many different backgrounds. I have returned to the UK reinspired with regards my current research and potential future career, and I cannot thank the Challenger Society enough for their generous Travel Grant which enabled me to attend this course.
I am currently writing up my PhD on “the stability and variability of marine coastal habitats on decadal time-scales” at Bangor University, North Wales. My PhD has focused on change in ecosystem engineers, specifically the large brown macroalgae and the honeycomb reef worm Sabellaria alveolata, around the coast of the British Isles and I am co-author on several papers and reviews in both habitats (see references). I completed my Masters at Heriot Watt University, Scotland, in Marine Resource Development and Protection, and prior to my PhD I was employed as a Marine Ecologist with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and consequently I have expertise in benthic invertebrate, phytoplankton and macroalgal taxonomy.
Tropical Field Phycology 2015, the experience of a lifetime, made possible by the Challenger Society #algaeRbeautiful #seaweediversity #BocasStation
The oceans, the blue economy and implications for climate change event
The oceans, the blue economy and implications for climate change
Date: 29 November 2023, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Speaker: Rupert Howes, Joanna Post, Dr John Siddorn, Dr Siva Thambisetty, Professor Elizabeth Robinson, Dr Darian McBain
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Cheng Kin Ku Building, LSE Campus and online
Many conversations about sustainability and climate-change focus on activities on land – the green part of our planet. This misses a vital part of the puzzle, the role that our oceans play.
Ocean and Coastal Futures - Bursary
As part of our commitment to encouraging and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, Ocean and Coastal Futures is launching its first Coastal Futures Bursary in partnership with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. This opportunity is open for young people aged 18 to 30 years old, who are currently underrepresented in the marine and coastal sector and face financial barriers to attending. Individuals do not have to be working or studying in the sector currently but must reside in the UK.
CLASS Modelling Workshop 2024
The CLASS Programme is hosting a Modelling Workshop in early 2024. This is aimed at UK participants only. Event details and criteria to sign up are available here.