From July to September 2016 I had the opportunity to do a short-term research visit at MSEL as part of my PhD program in Ecology at the University of Barcelona.
My PhD dissertation aims to understand and predict the resilience of Mediterranean gorgonian populations to global change. During my time at the MSEL, I worked with Prof. Peter Mumby looking at spatial patterns of 21st climate change projections in the Mediterranean. Although I only spent two months at the MSEL, my time there was very fruitful. I could improve the design of my study, perform most of the analysis, and obtain interesting preliminary results on diverse depth-related impacts of warming at gorgonian sites across the Mediterranean Sea.
At MSEL, I interacted with all members of the lab who showed interest in my study and provided great feedback. I enjoyed very much the weekly lab meetings in which interesting topics were discussed. They helped me to improve my knowledge on tropical reef ecosystems, get new ideas, and learn from interesting discussions on relevant published papers. During my visit I also enjoyed the great UQ campus and had the opportunity to meet several researchers from the UQ community during weekly social events. Also, I enjoyed very much the nice weather and relaxed lifestyle of Brisbane and I had the opportunity to visit some great places with amazing wildlife around Australia and the Solomon Islands.
I am very grateful to the entire MSEL team for their warm welcome and for making my stay so nice. I am especially grateful to Prof. Mumby for giving me the opportunity to visit the MSEL and for the fruitful collaboration and Rosanna for helping me with the visa administration and UQ inductions. I am also grateful to Dr. Ortiz, Dr. Krueck, Dr. Bozec and Dr. Hock for several interesting discussions and very helpful comments on my project.
This research visit at MSEL has helped me to improve my PhD project and has been an enriching experience, both at a personal and professional level.