Hannah Hartung (née Vossel), Outgoing Early Career Representative of the International Society of Diatom Research. Palaeoecologist & Geologist
I am currently a PhD student & "young lecturer" at the University of Bonn. My research focus is the usage of fossilized diatoms in lacustrine sediment cores for the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments and  palaeoclimate during the Holocene in the Eastern Mediterranean region, especially Israel.

Andrea Burfeid, Early Career Representative of the International Society of Diatom Research. Aquatic Ecologist. 
I am currently finishing my PhD, researching the effect of macro-ecology on diatom communities. I study their taxonomic, bioindicative, morphometric and ecologically functional reactions to changes in freshwater physicochemical traits throughout a 10-year sampling effort. My main interest is the holistic observation of diatom ecology through time.

Xavier Benito-Granell, coordinator. Aquatic ecologist.
I study aquatic ecosystems across different time and spatial scales. My research interest lies on the interface between limnology, paleoecology and biogeography. Diatoms are at the core of my research. Particularly, I´m interested to use species and communities as sentinels of global change, in combination with biophysical and social records to understand complex socio-ecological systems.

Anrich Kock, Aquatic ecologist

I am currently in my second year of my PhD working on the lower Phongolo River catchment. My research focus is on spatial and temporal distribution of diatoms across a hydrological plane. I also focus on the changes in the fossil diatom structure as well as the importance of flood events on the structuring of the diatom community and the interaction between primary producers and consumers. Lastly the study looks at the effects of DDT on non-targeted diatoms and the effects of increased DDT concentrations on the functionality and vitality of diatoms and the ecosystem.

Chetan Gaonkar

Biodiversity, biogeography and evolution of marine eukaryotes is my field of research. Microalgae constitute an integral part of all photic habitats on the planet. My research aims at assessing the diversity of these algae and uncovering the unknowns. High throughput sequencing (HTS) and other parallel sequencing tools allow us to uncover hidden diversity, which goes unnoticed with the classical microscopic monitoring. In order to unveil this hidden diversity using HTS, the first and foremost important thing is the availability of a taxonomically validated reference dataset. Hence, my research focuses on bridging the gap between classical taxonomy and molecular tools, which allows generating reference barcodes. A reference barcode for a species is generated by collecting, cultivating and characterizing the species of interest by means of for instance microscopy and sequencing of particular DNA marker regions, called barcodes. These barcodes can then be used to identify and assess the species diversity in the HTS metabarcoding approaches. At present, my research focuses on assessing the harmful algae diversity in aquaculture farms. My personal interest has developed towards changes in microalgal assemblages with time, where I focus my interest on how species are evolving and how anthropogenic activity have impacted on the community and ecosystem as a whole.


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