Last month I went to Canada to attend the 14th
International Estuarine Biogeochemistry Symposium (IEBS) in Rimouski, Québec,
and unintentionally discovered my relationship status. More on this later-
first the really interesting news, such as what did I learn at the symposium?
Exploring the Canadian east coast during the 14th IEBS.
In particular, I learned that the St. Lawrence
Estuary is the biggest in the world, a detail that the local scientists and organizers
did not miss to emphasize, extensively. Smaller estuaries were however also tolerated,
which was good news for the in comparison rather small estuaries of the Baltic
Sea that I presented. Particularly the northern Baltic Öre estuary (64 km2
must have received a cuteness bonus in many minds.
Rimouski and its university (UQAR) are directly situated at the St. Lawrence Stream and thus a perfect spot to discuss estuarine biogeochemistry.
The theme of the 14th
“Estuaries: biogeochemical reactors in the land-sea continuum” and sessions included
the topics “eutrophication & nitrogen cycling”, “carbon” and “trace metals
& technology-critical elements”. Excellent key note presentations were
given by Alfonso Mucci, Markus Huettel, Sue Ziegler and Montserrat Filella. COCOA member Christophe
Rabouille joined the meeting as well and had as French
native speaker a clear language advantage over many of the international guests
from as far as Brazil, Mexico, China or Finland. Nevertheless, no language
barrier could stop the ~ 55 enthusiastic scientists of all levels from MSc
students to professors to discuss and exchange about estuaries at large and the
latest ongoing work. The organizing team of the Université du Québec à Rimouski
(UQAR) did a great job in providing a snug atmosphere for talks, poster sessions and
all evening mingle; having the local brewery as a sponsor was clearly a good
The happy participants of the 14th International Estuarine Biogeochemistry Symposium in Rimouski, Canada (picture: UQAR).
one night, at a later hour, in a pub, I apparently decoded the feelings at the bottom of
my heart. If your thoughts now went wild, please get a grip and reconsider-
this is a decent platform. During a student night organized by UQAR we battled
for the cup of the best PhD/MSc thesis presentation by drawing (3 min) and
explaining (30 sec). Speed presentations with a touch of modern art.
And here it
comes: my drawing turned out to be dominated by hearts. Hearts around N2.
In relationship with a gas? Well, that does solve the problem of “plus avec”
invitations via “take a breath of air”, but of course there was also a deeper
meaning in using the symbols. Take a look at the drawing / bar-scribble,
for better understanding re-coloured:
The 30 sec explanatory
talk went somewhere along the lines of....
“The Baltic Sea in northern Europe has too
many nutrients, mostly nitrate, which leads to algae blooms (--> green scribble) and oxygen
deficiency, so the sea is in bad ecological condition (--> sad smiley). The only way to remove
nitrogen from an aquatic ecosystem is via denitrification and anammox, which
results in N2 that goes into the air (--> that´s good *at least in a
eutrophic system* --> HEARTS). Estuaries are recognized as potential
hot spots of nitrogen removal and these are the 3 estuaries I looked at.“ FULL
STOP and a deep breath.
me down on scientific spotless accuracy, but nevertheless, my piece of art & speech was convincing enough to score second place. Now I am proud owner of
a new coffee cup.
conference was rounded up by a hike in the national park Bic at the St. Lawrence
Stream on World Ocean Day, strengthening our attachment to the biggest estuary of the world.
National Park Bic, Québec.
Thanks UQAR for organizing such an interesting symposium!