Benthosphere - BONUS COCOA
My great German adventure
The annual COCOA meeting was being held 23-26.1.2017, at the IOW in Warnemünde, Germany. I was attending the meeting together with my supervisor Erik Bonsdorff and PhD-student colleague Christina Henseler from Åbo Akademi University, as well as my co-supervisor Alf Norkko and other fellow Tvärminne Benthic Team members Joanna Norkko and Anna Villnäs from the University of Helsinki.
After having missed the first part of the meeting due to the train Berlin-Rostock breaking down (thank you Deutsche Bahn), we arrived in time for dinner on the first evening after a total travel time of eleven hours.
Since we spent the first day of the meeting involuntarily sightseeing in small towns along the railroad track between Berlin and Rostock, the meeting really started for us on the second day. The second and third day comprised of 34 presentations, ranging from short poster pitches of a few minutes to longer scientific presentations of 25 minutes. The multitude of the presentations meant that we were all able to get quite a broad overview of what is being done at the different COCOA learning sites across the Baltic Sea. For me, being a benthic ecologist working with the link between macrozoobenthos and processes of nutrient cycling, these annual meetings are always a crash course in detailed nutrient cycling processes taking place in the coastal areas. I learn a lot about the ways nitrogen and phosphorous are being processed in different environments and get a healthy dose of information on major physical factors affecting these types of processes. Many of the teams at the learning sites are starting to see good results from the studies that have been done and are being done so far, and when thinking back to the beginning it is great to realize how far we have already come and how much has been achieved within the past three years. The last day was spent discussing the progress so far and what we still want to accomplish. After all, we still have eleven months left of the project – enough to make magic happen!