July 2011 Newsletter
Other goals of the program are to grow human resources in developing countries, expand international networking in ocean sciences, and strengthen relations between developed and developing countries. “Ideal candidates already hold a position at an academic institution in their home country, furthering potential opportunities for training and scientific exchange with POGO member institutions around the world”, said BIOS Education Director Dr. Gerry Plumley.
The program itself is rigorous; the 10 POGOnians spend their months working closely with some of the best scientists in the field. POGO scholars not only attend lectures and workshops given by BIOS faculty and visiting scientists, they also gain hands-on experience in the lab and at sea. Bermuda, or more specifically the Sargasso Sea, is home to the longest running ocean time-series study in the world and the POGO scholars spend time training at sea on BIOS’s research vessel, the 168-foot Atlantic Explorer, and using state-of-the art instrumentation.
Each POGO scholar focuses a great deal of effort on an independent research project supervised by a member of the faculty or by POGO members. These projects focus on a number of different research themes that are important at BIOS, ranging from phytoplankton growth in the Sargasso Sea to the oceanic/atmospheric carbon cycle. Vietnamese POGOnian, Thao Pham, worked with Dr. Nicholas Bates on her project: “Interannual to Decadal Variability of Upper Ocean Carbon Cycle in the Western North Atlantic Ocean.” She collected data from two long-term sampling sites, Hydrostation S and the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS), concerning temperature, salinity, dissolved inorganic carbon, total alkalinity and other germane parameters. “The most exciting thing I learned here is an understanding of the response of the ocean carbon cycle to climate change,” said Thao. “I hope that I can continue this research in the South China Sea when I go back to Vietnam and continue my job at the Institute of Oceanography.”
“These 10 months have been a continuous cycle of learning, experiencing and enjoying the science as well as different cultures which has changed my perspective about alot of things,” said 2011 POGO graduate, Gayatri Dudeja from India. When asked about the POGO program, nearly all of the students mentioned learning about different cultures among the most unique aspects. By transplanting international scientists to Bermuda, the CofE at BIOS fosters global cooperation and cultural understanding in a new way.
Fatih Sert, from Turkey, said that he planned to go back to his country and continue his PhD, while staying connected with the other POGOnians. “I am hoping to keep in touch with all the people I met here. Hopefully it will be possible to design a collaborative research program with scientists from different parts of the world.”
“With collaborations like these, it is expected that the legacy of the course will endure far into the future,” added Plumley.