Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry Workshop
Old Members’ Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund Report – Ellen Cliff
In June this year I travelled to the United States for several weeks to meet and work with a research collaborator, and to attend a workshop. I am studying a DPhil in Earth Sciences modelling biogeochemical cycles of carbon and other elements in the ocean to study the past climate of the Earth.
I began my trip in Corvallis, Oregon, where I was hosted by Andreas Schmittner at Oregon State University. While at OSU I gained familiarity with the physical component of the Earth System Model I am using in my research. It was also valuable to be able to meet Andreas in person (as opposed to just Skype and email) as we will be collaborating extensively for the next part of my DPhil research. While at OSU I gave a talk on my current work modelling oxygen in the glacial ocean (20,000 years ago) to oceanographers and paleoclimate researchers. This was a valuable opportunity to present my work and gain feedback before attending the workshop the next week.
After a week in Oregon I headed east to attend the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Summer Workshop run out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This was a small workshop with around 200 participants from Masters and PhD students through to professors and US research agency representatives. The workshop brought together top researchers in my field studying biogeochemistry, carbon cycling and climate. It was an excellent opportunity to be exposed to the current themes and challenges being studied in the US and European oceanography community.
I had the opportunity to give a lightning talk to advertise my poster and to present my work as a poster at two sessions. This allowed people interested in my research to connect with me and was valuable for building connections within the community and for gaining feedback and new ideas. The workshop being such a small, topical and well-catered meeting, it was easy to meet and have discussions with researchers at all levels of their careers over breakfast and lunch. I was able to have fruitful and interesting conversations with students and established researchers.
It wasn’t all work though – I had the chance to explore some of Cape Cod in all of its summer glory, stumbling on historic landmarks including the United States’ oldest aquarium and a beautiful statue of Rachel Carson who had worked at Woods Hole at the start of her scientific career. On the weekend between my time in Oregon and the workshop in Cape Cod, I was also able to visit New York City. As this was my first time visiting the US and as a big theatre fan and foodie this was a real highlight!
I would like to thank University College and the Old Member’s Trust Graduate Conference and Academic Travel Fund for their significant assistance in funding this trip.