SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
16 March 2017
Volume 18 Issue 3

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Oh, YES! SETAC Latin America Students at the Young Environmental Scientists Meeting

Helena Assis (Brazil) and Fabi Lo Nostro (Argentina)

The Young Environmental Scientist (YES) Meeting was recently held from 16–20 February at the Stockholm University in Sweden. This is the third time that our Latin American students have had the opportunity to participate. In fact, three Ph.D. students representing Argentina, Brazil and Chile attended thanks to the support of the YES meeting.

YES 2017 Meeting, Sweden
From left to right; Mariana Vezzone, Lidwina Bertrand and Winfred Espejo represented SETAC LA at the Young Environmental Scientist Meeting held recently at the Stokholm University, Sweden.

Lidwina Bertrand from Córdoba, Argentina, student representative of the SETAC Argentina Council the last two years, presented her research on the “Use of South American species as bioindicators: The Ctalamochita River as a case of study.” In this study, Palaemonetes argentinus (freshwater shrimp) and Potamogeton pusillus (aquatic plant) were proposed as useful species for biomonitoring studies in aquatic environments. Bertrand also attended a short course at the meeting, "How to make nice figures: The theory and practice of visual displays of quantitative information," which was taught by Matthew MacLeod, Stockholm University. “Simply excellent,” Bertrand said. She received partial financial support from the SETAC Argentina Chapter.

Mariana Vezzone from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, presented her research on “Metal distribution in surface sediments from a tropical urban lagoon (Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).”  Her research showed the assessment of heavy metal levels in bottom sediments of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Data presented high levels of zinc, copper and lead, possibly associated with effluents and runoff from urbanized areas. Vezzone also attended a short course with theoretical and practical modules, “What’s in your dust? An introduction to environmental mass spectrometry,” presented by Jonathan Martin. “I never thought it could be so dynamic and exciting,” Vezzone commented.

Winfred Espejo from Concepcion, Chile, presented his research on “Impacts of penguin-derived nutrients and trace elements from soil on Antarctic ecosystems and semiarid environments of Chilean north coast.” Espejo studied the accumulation of trace elements and nutrients in soils within two perennial colonies of Humboldt penguin located in northern Chile, Pan de Azúcar Island and Chañaral Island, and three colonies of Adélie penguin in the Antarctic Peninsula area, Arctowski Base, Ardley Island and O´Higgins Base. He evaluated surface soil samples (the top 5 cm) collected directly from nesting sites in January 2016. The soils affected by penguins showed enrichment with trace elements and nutrients, which was noted in the northern Chile as well as in the Antarctic Peninsula areas. Some terrestrial biota that lives near those penguin colonies could be affected at a greater level that the organisms that live in sites similar but away from colonies of birds. Espejo attended the short course “Analysis of mercury in hair samples using dry-combustion atomic absorption spectrometry" taught by Markus Meili, Stockholm University, which he claimed was very excellent.

They reported back to the leadership in SETAC Latin America that throughout the meeting, positive discussions and dialogue occurred among the young participants!  A special thanks to the meeting chairs and the local organizing committee for another successful YES!

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