Ecuador: here I go!

Hola!

Today I will be traveling to Ecuador for sampling Andean lakes. The last days and weeks have been dedicated to prepare all the scientific equipment (2 full suitcases ;)), aiming to participate in a lake limnology project with researchers and students from the University of Yachay Tech (Imbabura Province, 2 hours drive north from Quito) and University of Northern Kentucky (US).

Our target is to characterize with different approaches (limnology, geology) 10 Andean Ecuadorian lakes covering gradients of elevation (Páramo-below Páramo vegetation), tropic status and thermal stratification. We will be sampling modern in-lake habitats (water, sediment surface), sediment cores and water physico-chemistry to see how these climate-sensitive systems have changed through time. I can´t wait to start the promising and inspiring field work! More updates very soon.

Xavier

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Dinosaurs and Disasters

Hi!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in the famous Nebraska`s Dinosaurs & Disasters event, organized jointly by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science and the State Museum. This activity is led by scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, who explain to kids and their parents the natural history and science topicsby means of hand-on activities.

Together with my lab mate, Sabrina Brown, we set up the diatom station “Diatoms through the looking glass” to learn about how scientists use diatoms and other fossils to understand past climate. Kids sieved lake sediment that contained fossil diatoms (represented by little colored plastic pieces) to see whether the lake was under a dry or wet climate as reconstructed by benthic/planktonic diatom ratio. That is, if kids counted more blue (=benthic) diatoms, the lake was supposed to be a shallow water lake (dry climate), whereas if kids counted more pink (=planktonic) diatoms, the lake was supposed to be a deep water lake (wet climate).

There was also a giant diatom puzzle in which kids played with different species by fitting them in the correct place and environment they belongs to! So funny Saturday with more than 2000 attendants!

 

The diatom giant puzzle (courtesy of Mike Harrison)

At the diatom station with Sabrina Brown

 

 

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Speaking as USA immigrant

Hola,

As you probably realized by the media, one the latest Trump´s administration executive order has been to ban the entrance of immigrants and citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen in the country. As UNL scholar and J-1 immigrant, I´m proud to be part of an international community with more than 3,000 students and scholars from around the about. I´m enormously grateful to all UNL community who received me as at home. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln embraces diversity and cultural engagement as a centerpiece for thriving within the top 20 American Universities for more than a century.

With these small words, I would like to express all of my support to all immigrants and citizens from muslim countries who may be affected by this unfair decision. I wish this will be a temporary measure and that banning will be normalised promptly.

Xavier

 

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See the last post in the Jóvenes AIL blog

Hola,

I’m happy to share with all of you the last post of the Jóvenes AIL blog. The Jovenes AIL are the young scientists of the Iberian Association of Limnology. In order to disseminate our science, a series of posts written in a style for the general public will be posted. “The present as the key for the past” or the importance of the ecology for revealing the history of the Ebro Delta”  is an extended abstract of my thesis work, and is available here. Enjoy!

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Deltaic habitats identified and characterized using diatom assemblages (siliceous microalgae)

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EPIIC leadership workshop

Hola!

Today I have the opportunity to participate in a very interesting workshop led by Dr. Marquita Qualls (@drqualls on twitter) about leadership. The workshop has been aimed to learn the EPIIC principles in leadership: Entrepreneur, Profesional adaptability, Intrapersonal awareness, Interpersonal communication and Cultural consciousness. Let me sum up each of the 5 concepts by asking questions that arose from myself after the workshop:

img_3319While entrepreneur consists in how well do you sell yourself in the market (when I say market I’m referring to academia, industry or management), profesional adaptability is about how you can adapt your technical/ soft aptitudes and skills to different jobs that requires different capabilities. Most of you would say: yes, of course I can do that, but this is really what I want to do? To shift from my comfort place will motivate myself? Or will demotivate due to new scenarios? Intrapersonal awareness is perhaps the most important concept of the EPIIC concept. It isn’t in the heart of the EPIIC because causality: who I am? who I want to be? A good exercise to start is through a SWOT analysis (Strenght, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats). Interpersonal communication: do I feel more confident by communicating myself via speaking or writing? How well do I feel with ambiguity? How can I handle with a defensive person? Finally, Cultural consciousness, which is not a trivial issue in our present-day global world: Do I feel confident to work with foreign people who have diverse cultures? Do I have enough open mind to receive well younger/older´ people feedbacks?

Having a positive attitude, not being competitive and being confortable with uncertainty are at least, to me, the ground levels to move forward in the science in general, and at the postdoc level in particular. Ah! And I think also that keep facing to new challenges every day will help to train yourself!

Xavier

 

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My ¨new¨laptop

Hi!

Actually I don’t know how I’ve been supporting my every day more and more slow laptop (yes, it is a 2012 macbook pro). A couple of weeks ago, and coinciding with a very desperate Sunday for myself, I decided to update the OS of my Mac. I have to admit that initially I was a bit skeptical about upgrading from zero (I’ll talk below about that), but now I think: “Why don’t I did it much before??”

Upgrading from zero or technically as IT like speak “a clean installation” means erase all of your data and software from your hard drive and installing above it a new operating system. In my case it has been the new Mac’s OS Sierra, a recent update of the former El Capitan. It seems like Apple wants to incorporate Spanish names into their computers.

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Of course I did a backup of all of my data and software. But not all of it, because doing a clean installation helps you also to move into the trash many old files that you forgot about their existence. And this is what I did.

As a result, and after employing half day, the new macOS Sierra was successfully installed in my Mac. It really needed a complete cleaning because even replacing installing 16 GB RAM memory 5 months ago, it doesn’t works as it was expected… So I can say that I have a new laptop! Now it runs perfectly, smoothly, and without taking more 5 minutes to resuming it 🙂

It will be very difficult to list all of the forums and webs I’ve visited to get confidence for upgrading the OS system, but I would like to thank all people who without waiting anything are providing helpful tips for semi-literates Mac users like me!

Au, adeu!

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I come back with a seminar!

Hola!

After a break without posting, I came back to announce that I will be giving a talk in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences next Monday 10th October. It is really a pleasure to participate in these seminar and colloquium because there is no better way to present my background research than exposing my thesis: “Benthic diatoms and foraminifera as indicators of coastal wetland habitats: application to palaeoenvironmental reconstruction in a Mediterranean delta”. I would like to thank Prof David Harwood to make this nice announcement where appears my lovely Ebro Delta 😉

To talk in the EAS department is really a challenge for me, with a geologic and meteorologic audience. I’ll try to do my best by transmitting the importance of studying modern ecology as basis for past paleoenvironmental reconstructions. In addition, I would be happy if people learn and get an initial idea about how (far) Mediterranean deltas works at both present and past time scales; and more precisely, how the Ebro Delta, which has been considered until recently the paradigm of man-made deltas, evolved in the same way than other deltas.

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Salut!

Xavier

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Go Big Red!

One of my wishes when arrived in the USA was to experience a live football game, and today my wish has been fulfilled!

At 11 pm, the Huskers of Nebraska have played against the Cowboys of Wyoming at the Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. During football games, Lincoln becomes the third largest city in Nebraska. Surges of people fill the streets nearby the stadium before the game. Inside the stadium, I’ve had luck in seating very close the the grass, watching how Huskers ran more than 5 touchdowns! I have to admit that I was a semiliterate of american football rules, but I’ve catch up something!

The final score has been Huskers 52 – Wyoming 17. To me, the game has been highly equaled during its most time, but Huskers started to dominate late at the 3th quarter. Besides the sport, the event is really a show! I’ve had a lot of fun seeing how people never stop to support their team. How groups of cheer leaders encourage fans at each of the four corners, and the music band play lively songs with the support of the students. A nice blue sky accompanied also the game.

Of course, as a good Husker fan, I brought my red t-shirt; and as newbie american football supporter, both pepsi and hotdog have finished in my belly! Some pictures to share with all of you this great experience. GO BIG RED!

 

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Wake up by an earthquake

Hola!

Yes, post’s title is right. This morning at 7.00 am I woke up without using my phone alarm as usual. Instead, it has been a small shaking caused by an earthquake.

I was sleeping when suddenly I felt that my bed hit the wall smoothly, and closet doors swayed. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a 5.6 magnitude earthquake happened at 7:02 a.m, being located the epicentre near Oklahoma city. This is a record magnitude earthquake at the area, and has been felt from North Texas to Southern Dakota across the US Great Plains.

 

Several media report that the event likely happened due to injection at deep ground layers of wastewater from oil and natural gas production. This fact remind me the induced earthquakes happened at the southern Catalonia and northern Valencia coasts, in Spain, 3 years ago. The gas injection into a former oil caveat made by a marine platform located 30 km off coats provoked a serie of increased magnitude earthquakes, up to 4 magnitude, which were felt in several towns  (Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Alcanar, Vinarós, see next figure for additional information).

 

 

 

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