BONUS BIO-C3/INSPIRE/COCOA/BAMBI 2016 Summer School
Modelling Biodiversity for Sustainable Use of Baltic Sea Living ResourcesThe summer school ran from August 22-26 at Søminestation, near Holbæk, Denmark. The setting was near-perfect: a former naval research station converted to a modern dormitory-style teaching facility located on the shore of a quiet Danish estuary with sunny, warm weather most of the week.
One of the main purposes of the summer school was to educate and train a new generation of young scientists on the challenges and opportunities that face biodiversity in the Baltic Sea and provide them with new knowledge and quantitative tools on how to model its variations and their consequences.
The course consisted of a mix of lectures, hands-on statistical analyses/ modelling exercises and discussions addressing both functional and taxonomic aspects of marine biodiversity, with emphasis on estuarine systems, using the Baltic Sea as a case study. Students learned new modelling approaches and softwares which they could take home and apply to their own research projects. And thanks to the participation of 23 students (16 women, 7 men) and 10 lecturers (4 women, 6 men), they now have expanded and developed a network of colleagues that they can interact and collaborate with in future. The students came from both Baltic and non-Baltic countries, were mostly Ph.d. students (18), with some postdoctoral scientists (4) and Masters graduates (1).
Topics covered in the course included time-space variation of biodiversity, including both functional and taxonomic perspectives at different levels of biological organisation (populations, species, communities). The course also reviewed and identified how different drivers (e. g., fishing, eutrophication, climate change, invasive species) affect biodiversity and how biodiversity levels and variations feed back to the drivers and ecosystem management policy developments. Students then had the opportunity to synthesize their new knowledge on interactions and feedbacks between biodiversity and management by working in small groups to make a short (1000 words) report and 10 minute oral presentation on this topic on the final day – a task which demanded their attention during evenings and the last day!
The students did a great job with the task, especially given the time constraints and the challenge to form cohesive work groups with people having different backgrounds and that they had not met before. Aside from the work tasks, there was time for socialising, networking, running in the nearby forest or swimming in the fjord.
For more information about the course, contact Prof. Dr. Brian MacKenzie, DTU Aqua, Charlottenlund, Denmark (firstname.lastname@example.org).