The European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 was held in Vienna from April 8 to 13 and Associate Editor Giovanna Battipaglia kindly agreed to share her thoughts and experiences from the meeting below.
When you arrive at EGU, you have the feeling that you are in the right place for science!
Thousands of scientists and young researchers are busy with posters and oral presentations, the desks available for discussions are always full of people and stands presenting the latest scientific instruments are well organized and ready to offer their expert advice. Personally, I went to the LI-COR stand to ask about an old LI-COR 6400 that is experiencing calibration problems and the SERCON stand in an effort to understand the potential of their IRMS technology for my isotope lab.
The only problem you have at EGU is the challenge of selecting a session, since you would like to attend so many of them! But the gift of ubiquity is still off-limits!
On Tuesday I followed the “Interdisciplinary tree-ring research” session and I found it brilliant. The orals were interesting and inspiring and I was impressed by the talk of a young researcher Christian Zang, who presented on a continental network of European beech and its responses to drought. Also, there was an unusual presentation by Claudia Hartl, who used tree rings as witnesses of the attacks to the Tirpitz (a battleship) during World War II for assessing the ecological implications beyond historical documents.
The high level of research was clear during the poster session, where several informative studies were presented and where I had the honor to act as judge for the “EGU 2018 outstanding student poster and PICO (OSPP) award”. It was not easy to choose the winners among such good and “outstanding” contributions!
The week passed quickly in Vienna as I met colleagues and enjoyed opportunities to discuss ongoing projects and develop new ideas and collaborations. Every time I go to EGU, I return home with new work to start and new thoughts to realize!
On Friday we held our session, “Forest under pressure: current knowledge and future science directions“, where I was co-chair. The session focused on efforts to improve current understanding of how forest ecosystems respond to climate changes and extreme events. Contributions included observational, theoretical and experimental studies, spanning a range of scales and conditions. The majority of the activities and new approaches in forest ecology were presented by early career scientists during the oral and poster sessions. For example, Francesco Niccoli, a master’s student from Italy, illustrated a combined approach of dendroecology and stable isotopes to evaluate fire-related responses of pine, while Alen Berta showed results of a large monitoring project of 1200 trees across almost 400 locations in Croatia with a Sentinel 2 multi-spectral satellite.
The take home message from EGU 2018 for me is that the next generation of scientists is extremely strong, and that all around Europe, and also outside of Europe, people are willing to do research together!
Giovanna Battipaglia, Associate Editor of Journal of Ecology