The English connection

I am writing from a room in the campus of the University of Birmingham, were the British Ecological Society annual meeting is taking place. If you happen to be around, I will present my talk on Thursday 20th: “Some like it hot – others not. Population and community effects of temperature and habitat size in protist microcosms” (10.15, Arts Lecture Room 2). I know, I keep recycling the same title over and over again! It also has the usual first slide with Marylin Monroe’s picture, for that matter. I like it, it’s catchy. Now that someone pointed it out, I promise next time I will squeeze my brains and come out with a new title. (Besides, the rest of the talk is brand new).

Before coming to Birmingham I stopped by the Queen Mary University in London, were Eoin O’Gorman organized the first Hengill workshop (14-16 December 2012). It was a great opportunity to catch up with many of the people studying the ecology of Hengill, Iceland (read here for a brush-up). Katarina and Rebecca were both there, so the whole “Hengill protist team” from 2011 and 2012 has gathered together for the first time. Gisli Gislason and Jón Ólafsson made it from Iceland, while Jim Hood and Wyatt Cross came all the way from the States. Shame the Other Jim (Junker) didn’t make it. I presented the preliminary results from the analyses of the protist communities across the streams (i.e. the temperature gradient) and the habitat types (rocks and soft substrate). I would like to thank Gisli, Wyatt, Jim, Eoin and Benoît Demars for their feedback. Their hints for further analyses might increase a lot my understanding of the effect of temperature and habitat type on protist communities and their role in the system.

We have been talking of new experiments to be done in Hengill and of the opportunity of expanding our study to other geothermal sites in subarctic areas of Alaska, Svalbard and Russia (nicknamed the Ring of Fire, © Guy Woodward and Nikolai Friberg). As usual, I came out of this meeting psyched and full of energy. The last weeks since I came back from Madagascar have been hectic and tiring, in order to get ready to present both in London and at the BES: on the other hand, the good vibrations I gain from these occasions are worth the effort. (Moreover, these events provide just the moral deadlines I need to wrap up what I am working on, from time to time).

To conclude: a monographic paper about the ecology of Hengill streams is now published on Advances in Ecological Research, vol. 47 (Global Change in Multispecies Systems Part 2). The title of the article is “Impacts of Warming on the Structure and Functioning of Aquatic Communities: Individual- to Ecosystem-Level Responses”. Eoin O’Gorman is the one to credit for the huge effort of putting together the massive amount of information we have been producing. I am just one out of the other 29 authors.