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DPhil work at CEREGE

Research institute CEREGE in Provence, southern France

Research Training Fund Report – Odysseus Archontikis (2019, DPhil in Earth and Environmental Sciences)

Thanks to the generous support I received from University College Graduate RTF Award, I was able to travel to France in September 2021 to undertake work at the facilities of the research institute CEREGE (Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement) of Aix-Marseille University.

Lac Zola. View on top of the Barrage de Zola dam

The lab is located between Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence cities and is proximal to the mountain range of Sainte-Victoire. Hiking the west-east transect of the mountain has been a wonderful experience, starting from the idyllic village of Le Tholonet in the west and reaching the Puyloubier village in the east. Further along the mountain range, I managed to see two famous dams of Southern France, the Barrage de Bimont and the Barrage de Zola, and enjoyed a tasty glass of red wine at the Vigneron Sainte-Victoire, a beautiful winery at the top of the mountain.

Odysseus in the Microscopy Lab

During my time in France and from a research perspective, I was able to learn and apply new functions of automated microscopy and develop skills on usage of software for the identification and cataloguing of species with artificial intelligence systems. Currently, I am in the middle years of my DPhil studies, and my ongoing research focusses on generating long-time-series morphological diversity records to test the role of climate in plankton evolution, calcification, and population variability. Working in France has been an invaluable and stimulating research opportunity; it has given me hands-on experience with skills that will be in use for the years to come and has also helped me meet with early and senior career scientists. It was wonderful to exchange ideas and enthusiasm on various topics of biology and geology that is a major thread of my ongoing research and distil down approaches and narratives of my studies.

I warmly thank Univ for this generous award and their kind support in my research.

Find out more about the range of travel grants and scholarships available to assist Univ students on our Travel Grants page or read further travel reports.

Published: 17 February 2022

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