Austral Summer Institute XII 2012

ASI XII was devoted to the themes Marine Genomics, Water and Global Change, Time Series in Oceanography and Microbial Oceanography. Activities were held at the Main Campus of the University of Concepcion and at the Marine Biology Station of the Catholic University in Las Cruces.

In October 2011, there was a course Marine Genomics: From Ecology to Biotechnology involving scientists from the University Pierre et Marie Curie/CNRS, France, followed by a mini course on Data mining and genotypification of Single Nucleotides Polymorphisms (SNP): linking genotypes to phenotypes of marine organisms, by Dr. Cristian Gallardo from University of Concepcion.

The course Exploring Fresh Water in Global Climate and High-Latitude Oceans (Dr. Peter Rhines) covered the global hydrological cycle: fresh water in the climate system, in the oceans and atmosphere. It consisted of regular lectures and student projects, practical demonstrations and student presentations.

Three courses covered the topic of Oceanographic Time Series in Oceanography. Coastal Upwelling Time Series in the Humboldt Current System (CUTS-HCS), taught by lecturers from the Department of Oceanography of UDEC, comprised methodological and conceptual aspects in the coastal upwelling area of the Humboldt Current System, and included lectures and practical activities. Oceanographic Time Series in Northern Hemisphere Coastal and Open Ocean Ecosystems was taught by Drs. David Checkley and Michael Lomas. It focused on the scientific history and development of the CalCOFI and BATS time series programs and included a practical component.

Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Ecological Time Series (COMETS) was carried out by Drs. John Largier and Juan Carlos Castilla. This course addressed the scientific, statistical and operational aspects of monitoring, i.e. sustained observations in the coastal ocean and along the coast. Oceanographic, biological and pollution phenomena and processes were addressed through lectures, readings, working groups, student presentations and discussions.

The course Ecology and Diversity of Marine Microorganisms (ECODIM) celebrated its seventh version. A number of foreign and Chilean scientists provided an overview of microbial oceanography by illustrating basic concepts which are applied today to understand the ecology of marine microorganisms and the roles they play in global biogeochemical cycles. The lectures, the selection of seminar papers and the course research projects focused on the diversity of microbes in saline ecosystems, in particular metagenomics, phylogenetic taxonomy, microscopy, flow cytometry, culturing techniques and geochemical bio-thermodynamics.

The Austral Summer Institute continues every year to contribute to capacity building in Latin America, allowing the development of networks among local and visiting scientists and students.


Valéria C. Prando, Master in Meteorology, University of Sao Paulo, Brasil

“The most significant impact that ASI XII has had on me is that those 3 weeks experience largely broadened my perspective, both socially and scientifically. I found the summer school to be an excellent opportunity to further my graduate education in oceanography. The lectures were diverse, engaging and well prepared. The faculty did an admirable job of trying to craft their talks to fit the diversity of scientific specialties represented at the school. I was able to gain connections from a variety of scientific backgrounds, assessing the fascinating interactions between physics, chemistry and biology in the ocean besides coastal monitoring plan. Furthermore, the practical sessions and student presentations offered great exposure to the range of work currently being pursued in our field. The constructive criticism from seniors during the oral and poster sessions has given me the necessary tips to improve upon my presentations in the future. It was a fantastic program and the ideal set to plant the seeds for international collaborations for the next years. I came from ASI XII reinvigorated with new research ideas, new perspectives on my field, and new friends and colleagues. My sincere thank you, professors, ASI staff and students, it was a wonderful time…”

Fernando Sorroche, PhD Student in Biological Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto,  Argentina

“During three intensive and challenging weeks at ECODIM 2012 I had the unique opportunity to be submerged into the fascinating (and new for me) microbial oceanography world, in an updated and integrated manner. It was really inspiring to extensively interact with top scientists in both, lectures and during lab work. Team research projects provided an excellent environment to develop technical and interpersonal skills with students from different countries. I also found very helpful for my future career the exciting discussions about the new perspectives and future research topics in microbial oceanography. ECODIM 2012 exceeded all my expectations and I really hope this course continues motivating and helping lots of students in the future”

Felipe Maneschy, M.Sc. Student in Physical Oceanography, University of Sao Paulo, Brasil

“The contact with another group of researchers with such a strong background and integrated with each other was excellent. In practice, it was important to discuss and realize how the data acquisition may be structured and analyzed depending on the processes being studied, in a multidisciplinary point of view. The approach was based on recent results published, consolidated on classical theory on which each of the professors has a specialization. So, all the content has been transmitted aiming a practical look on the subject, what helped me understand each of the topics and, at the same time, encouraged me to contribute with my specific area of knowledge on multidisciplinary issues. Another important aspect was the contact with other students also on a high level of education, doing masters or doctorate on different areas. We were put together to produce a small presentation of a time series analysis, what was really important to stimulate discussion and consolidation of ideas suggested during classes. After all, this small project has been a mirror on how a research may be conducted and transmitted.”

Andrea Corredor, Colombia, M.Sc. Program in Oceanography, University of Concepcion, Chile

“The courses of the Austral Summer Institute had a high academic level and scientific quality.  It was a great opportunity for me to be able to participate in the ones devoted to Time Series in Oceanography.   The knowledge gained was very important not only from the scientific point of view.  Participants were greatly benefited by the interaction with researchers who are well renowned and have an important academic background in teaching and research.  Furthermore, I believe that this activity enables the intellectual, scientific and cultural development among the participants who come from other countries.”

Year: 2012

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