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The 3 minute thesis competition is where students have to explain their project in 3 minutes with just one slide and no props.  It is a national competition and starts off with Faculty heats. Rhys Wyber's very short talk was called "LIFTing photosynthesis to new heights" and he won against stiff competition across the SMAH Faculty. We look forward to similar success in the university finals.  Go Rhys!

On Wednesday we celebrated four graduands.  Dr Mel Waterman and Dr Johanna Turnbull were awarded their PhDs. Professor Bob Furbank became Dr Dr Bob. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science.  In his inspiring graduation speech he told the graduands how important it was to try and work in an area which you love. I certainly agree with that sentiment.  He also talked about the important part played by mentors, peers and of course serendipity. 

We had a very interesting meeting yesterday to discuss connections between the work Rhys Wyber and Barry are doing at the leaf level, Zbynek at the canopy level and satellite measurements. The question is how can we bridge the gap between these scales to help inform measurements of global productivity and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  

It has been a busy month. PhD Student Beat Keller visited us from Germany bringing the new Forschungszentrum Jülich LIFT for Rhys to try out. Then we got new stronger light emitting diodes (LEDs) for our instrument so Rhys and Beat installed these. We can know measure fluoresence over bigger areas of canopy.  So Rhys is pretty happy. You can see them working in the dark here.

 

by Dr Laurence Clarke

Just over 10 years ago, Sharon and I got within 12 nautical miles of Mawson station when we came to Antarctica to collect moss samples as part of my PhD project. At the time the sea ice was too thick and we had to turn back, but we already had enough samples from Casey and Davis so it wasn’t a big deal.

Ex Lab member Dr Laurence Clarke has been on the Kerguelen (k)-Axis Marine Science Voyage aboard the Aurora Australis for about 6 weeks now. He was collecting samples to barcode marine life and wrote a guest blog about his research here.

There is also a news feature on the Australian Antarctic Division web site.

Recent PhD graduate Dr Jessica Bramley-Alves has written an article for the Guardian Higher Education section Why I love my PhD.  Like Laurence she worked in Antarctica. She writes “My PhD takes me to one of the last truly wild places on earth. I thought a PhD wouldn’t suit me or I’d find the lab work tedious. But it’s actually been a great adventure”

Read more here

It hasn’t been smooth sailing setting up, collecting weather data and sampling when in the field – and not just because of the unpredictable weather. Our frenemies, the skuas, have certainly increased their curiosity this season.

Our time on King George Island is coming to an end and we are wrapping up some experiments that were focusing on salt, temperature, light and water stresses.

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