After almost a month visiting the Facultad de Quimica y Biologia (Faculty of Chemistry and Biology) at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile it was time for me to come back home. On my last day at the University I gave a lecture to an Undergraduate Class and then in the afternoon the lab prepared a Chilean speciality as a farewell lunch. We had heard a lot about completos but this was our first taste of the real thing.
This week Johanna Turnbull finalised her PhD thesis corrections and so she is now officially Dr Johanna Turnbull. We are going to have a really big party at the next graduation cermony with two mossy PhD graduands together. Well done Dr Johanna!
This picture shows Johanna communing with an Emperor penguin on her way to Casey to do her research.
On Monday I gave a class on Antarctica and our research to a second year Plant Physiology class at Bowdoin College in the US. This was my first experience of doing a remote class and I was glad that I was at the University of Santiago de Chile and could do the class at 12.30pm instead of the middle of the night in Australia.
Sharon and I were lucky to have Angélica Casanova-Katny travel from Concepción to visit us, Gustavo and his research group at USACH on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both of us, Marisol and Rodrigo gave research talks during which Angélica contributed some interesting comparisons with her expertise on Antarctic plants on King George Island.
On November 4th, Melinda and Sharon flew to Chile to work with colleagues at the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH). We are being hosted by Dr Dr. Gustavo E. Zúñiga, Dean of the Faculty. Melinda will be working in the Laboratorio de Fisiología y Biotecnología Vegetal (Plant Physiology and Biotechnology Lab) until February. We worked with Gustavo, Marisol, Tavo and Hans from this group last year in Antarctica. They have been looking after the samples of moss we collected there and Melinda will be extracting compounds from them while she is here.
While I was at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham last year I met Juliet Coastes and Dan Gibbs who also work on mosses. Juliet and I have written a short article on why mosses are so cool which you can read on Ian Street's the Quiet Branches blog.
Hope you learn something new about marvelous moss.
You might think moss was just something we walk on but think again. Recent graduate Dr Jessica Bramley-Alves has written an article for the public about how we can use mosses to tell us how climates are changing in Antarctica. You can read the article here
We will have more articles for the public coming out this month so watch this space!
Last week Melinda Waterman and Johanna Turnbull finished writing their PhD theses and submitted them for examination. So a big congratulations to both of them for getting through by the deadline. Writing a book is never easy and that is effectively what they have done. Now we just need to wait and see what the examiners have to say, but in the meantime they are both catching up on sleep and hopefully enjoying having their lives back.
This week is science week in Australia and Diana and Zbynek starred in a UOWTV video on our Antarctic research. On Friday our "Game of Antarctic mosses" story was published in the Universities' booklet celebrating 40 years of Research at UOW and Sharon featured in another video to promote the event. On Tuesday, Zbynek left to go for some holiday and to visit colleagues at CESBIO. Meanwhile Sharon met up with Bob Furbank at the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre to discuss LIFT research.
It's been a busy week. Wednesday was the big day. Dr Jessica Bramley-Alves made a flying visit from Singapore to Graduate and to give her final PhD seminar. Jess managed to get history, science and modern culture into her talk on Antarctic moss demonstrating what an inter-disciplinary lot we are. Dr Ari Nugraha also graduated. Ari is an honorary member of the moss team having worked with Mel on moss pigment identification.