Student testimonials

Following the summer school the following feedback was recieved from students who participated in the event....

Andrii Bagaiev | Marine Hydrophysical Institute of NAS of Ukraine

On the termination of the MEECE Summer School I would like to sum up some vital outcomes I have got. Undoubtedly, the lectures, practicals, peer presentations and poster sessions as well as the lively dialogs have enriched my background, will stimulate my work on PhD thesis, boost my career and shape my individuality as a modeller. Prof. Susanne Neuer, Marco Zavatarelli, and Eric Machu have inched my way  from basics of the ecological models to modelling higher trophic levels. It will be helpful in further development of my own model and others ecological applications that may be started at Marine Hydrophysical Institute (Sevastopol, Ukraine). I am deeply impressed with new horizons in model coupling and software provided by Karsten Bolding and his GOTM GUI. In addition, Karsten’s overview of the most frequently used tools will be invaluable for my self-perfection. I am going to tackle R and Python this winter. I have taken Karsten’s important advice on presentation preparing. I appreciate brilliant example of apprehensible authentic slides by Richard Bellerby. Visual Basic scripts by Dr. Bellerby were bright examples of differences in approaches to chemical parameter definition. I have learnt a lot from Jonathan Beecham lecture about problem definitions in model-to-model transfer of data and exchange among various scientific institutes. I am thankful Gerjan Piet for my better taking in fishery management problems in EU, which will be essential as far as I am involved in MyOcean project. Baris Salihoglu has fired my imagination in zooplankton modelling. I am encouraged to take into account toxic impact of chemical contamination on zooplankton community in the Black Sea and hope for further collaboration. It was due to practical exercises provided by Icarus Allen, that I have realized we are good and productive team. Thanks to his gentle assistantship we managed to make a go of our own presentation. I appreciate his great erudition, conception thinking, and tactful leadership.  Finally, it was you, Jessica, who has taught us how summarize papers and references to be understandable for the non-scientists. It will come in very handy while writing proposal. Thank you for the highest scientific level, perfect organization, warm atmosphere and my degustation of Turkey. It is unforgettable.

Benjamin Boteler | Ecologic Institute, Berlin

The MEECE Summer School in Ankara, Turkey significantly increased my understanding of advanced modelling tools for marine ecosystems and, more specifically, how they can be applied to policy and management. Working as a policy analyst for an environmental policy think tank, my experience with models prior to the summer school was limited. Thus, MEECE provided me an opportunity to learn about how models are constructed, the many differences between types of models and the various results they can provide. Through both the lectures and the practical sessions, I learned how models can describe and quantify changes through parts of or the whole marine ecosystem (trophic web), as well as be linked to other types of models (i.e. socio-economic). This is particularly interesting, and useful, from a policy perspective, for example, calculating indicators and target levels to reach policy objectives, but also showing anthropogenic pressures and impacts on human well-being. Of key importance, the lecturers also taught participants how to assess models and look at model results critically. Through my experience at the summer school, I see that both marine ecosystem models and the application of their results are quickly advancing, thus their roll in policy and management is increasing. In this regard, the knowledge I gained at the summer school will assist me with my future work on policy assessments and recommendations, most notably with policies which involve monitoring and indicator development, such as the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Emanuela Fiori | University of Bologna, Italy

The MEECE Summer school was really interesting and helpful for my future work. During lectures I learnt how modellers from other European countries have developed different ecosystem models and the methodology to validate models through advanced comparison with observed data. Moreover, we had practical lessons where we used and compared different ecosystem models. Each lesson was original, as they were focused on different trophic levels, and innovative, because subjects were related to ecological modeling were faced from different point of view. In my opinion the most difficult thing was to connect the different teachings. For this reason, the discussions we had every day between lecturers and students were very helpful and led us to have a good general view, but also taught us to communicate and work with people from different scientific backgrounds.

Gwladys Lambert | Bangor University, North Wales, UK

The summer school organised by the MEECE project team has been a very good personal and professional experience. First of all, it was a great chance to meet professional researchers who worked on a European FP7 project and were happy to share their knowledge and experience with us, early career scientists who would potentially like to get involved in such interesting projects in the future. To me, the lectures gave us some useful insights on the biogeochemistry of the oceans at the global scale, on the importance of understanding the biological and physical processes at different scales and on the challenge of integrating all the information in models that can be useful to managers. All participants also got the chance to present their work through posters and oral presentations. Most students were specialised in lower trophic levels, biogeochemistry and effects of climate change. I think that we were only a minority with a fisheries background. It was therefore a great opportunity to exchange ideas and expertise between people of highly complementary disciplines. I would not say that everyone from the course will now try and engage into multi-disciplinary working groups but I am pretty sure that, having exchanged and learnt from each other, most of us will feel more comfortable communicating with experts of different fields and future collaborations may benefit from it. I found the course more theoretical than practical which might have been a bit of a downfall from my point of view. I would have probably liked to have more hands-on sessions. However, the few hands-on practical we had were very relevant and I understand that in a week and with such a broad range of topics to cover, it was pretty much impossible to do any more. Now I have got a better idea of what end-to-end modelling is all about and I will probably try and participate in further specialised workshops/schools if I get the chance in the future. To finish, exchanging about my work with experts and non-experts during the week was very useful to build-up confidence before presenting at the ICES annual conference which took place the week after. I am sure that it will also be an asset for my viva and for any future interviews I will get for a post doc. I am therefore very grateful to the organisers and funders of the event.