Silent witnesses

How geochemistry tells about climate and environments

1 Comment


Two weeks ago I was at the European Geosciences Union Annual Assembly in Vienna. I promised to blog about it, but apart from some tweets, miserable failed at that. I did write a short trip report for the Mineralogical Society, who provided funding. Here it goes:

The Mineralogical Society enabled me to attend this year’s European Geosciences Union General Assembly by means of a Senior Bursary. My postdoctoral project at NASA-JPL has yielded interesting data on speciation of carbon in basalts, and carbon in the food chain around the world’s deepest hydrothermal vents (Mid-Cayman Rise). I have been keen to present and discuss my findings at an international meeting and an excellent opportunity to do so arose with the session “Hydrothermal energy transfer and its relation to ocean carbon cycling: from mechanisms and rates to services for marine ecosystems” at EGU2014.

As I am relatively new to the field of hydrothermal vent research, it was exciting to meet people, whom I only knew by name. The session started off with several excellent oral presentations, of which I learned a lot. Did you know, for example, that Hydrothermal particulate organic carbon could be the dominant source of carbon to the seafloor? And that iron in the ocean probably mostly derives from hydrothermal sources? In the afternoon I presented my poster entitled: “Previously unsuspected dietary habits of hydrothermal vent fauna: The bactivorous shrimp Rimicaris hybisae can be carnivorous”. There was considerable interest for my poster and I had some lively discussions with colleagues in the field. Also, I received some good suggestions on the interpretation of my data.

It had been five years since I had been to an EGU General Assembly, and I almost forgot how nice it is to also stay in touch with the wider field of earth sciences, and some “old” interests. It was great to learn about new developments in for example stable-isotope biogeochemistry and palaeoclimatology. After having worked in several positions in different countries, a meeting like EGU also provides the opportunity to catch up with many former colleagues. Many stories were told, but more importantly, many plans were made for research collaborations and future grant proposals. All in all, a very productive meeting. Thank you, Mineralogical Society, for enabling me to attend it!