Introducing – Amy Austin
A quick note to introduce myself, Amy Austin, as I have just joined the clan at Journal of Ecology as an Editor starting in January. After having been invited to join as an Associate Editor for the Journal two years ago, I have to say that this group has been so good to me that I couldn’t resist when an opening came up to increase my participation and interaction with this great bunch of people. The sad cost of my starting as editor is that we are losing Mike Hutchings, who has stepped down as executive editor – he will be sorely missed by all, I imagine. And I won’t be able to have any more lessons in the correct pronunciation of key British landmarks in the near future…Birmingham, Gloucestershire, Leicester Square anyone?
I am an ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist by training, but I must admit that I have always had a very special place in my scientific heart for how important the plants are – not just a green blob of tissue that fixes carbon and then turns into litter (although plant litter is a particular passion of mine!) but the important ways in which plants modulate ecosystem processes and how they interact with climate. And so, my interest in Journal of Ecology as a terrific place to find that intersection of nutrient cycling and plant worship.
I have worked in several places around the globe starting with some field work in California after undergrad, then off to Hawaii for my doctorate research (with the fun of chasing after Peter Vitousek for several years on a variety of lava flows) and then a post-doc in Argentina. Which stuck, and I am still here in Argentina, currently a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. And I do teach all my classes in Spanish, and it seems that the students understand me most of the time.
My main focus of research in the last decade has been in Patagonian ecosystems, and trying to understand how they work. Particularly how those plants interact with climate and soil and have impacts on how ecosystems work. We have a great group working on a diverse range of topics from how southern beech trees affect microbial communities, how the massive flowering of bamboo (occurs every 60 years!) affects forest regeneration and how pine afforestation messes with everything from the soil fauna to the 15N of the soil. Will keep you posted…
I am not much of a blogger, I do rather enjoy real-life private conversations, but I recognize the value of mass media and will try to get on board to bring as much information as possible from all forms of communication. So hello to all and I look forward to hearing from you.
Editor, Journal of Ecology