5. Supervised Thesis
Training of foreign PhD students or local students that are sent abroad is one of the most efficient approaches to transfer knowledge between the continents. My own experience as a german student working in Brazil was that I had to give up much of the conceptual framework I had learned from US-European textbooks and I had to open my mind for new vistas on ecosystem functioning. These insights help me today, back to Europe, to question apparently solid standpoints and to allow new ideas. Thus all students in the context of the UNESCO Chair are given the opportunity to make this experience.
Currently, I am supervising 3 doctorate students and one post-doc in the context of the UNESCO Chair:
Joaquín Soler: Ecophysiology and reproductive biology of the Giant Freshwater Pearl Mussel, Margaritifera auricularia, as scientific baseline for conservation (PhD, co-supervision with Prof. Dr. Rafael Araújo, Museo Nacional de Sciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain since 2014)
Joaquín is fighting against time. He is working in our EU LIFE Project: Conservation of the Giant Pearl Mussel in Europe (LIFE13 BIO/FR/001162) in order to find the optimal reproduction and reintroduction techniques for a once common, today extremely rare mussel species. This mussel is linked to many cultural use forms, such as mother of pearl, and the use of sturgeon, the host fish to this mussel species.
Aude Zingraff: Restoration and uses of urban rivers (PhD, co-supervision with Prof. Dr. Pauleit, Technische Universität München, since 2012)
Aude is comparing efforts in urban river restoration in Germany, France and Spain. It is very interesting to see how local and national attitudes towards nature (just compare gardening in these countries) may influence the choice of restauration measures. These intracultural comparisons may help us a lot to understand how we can better turn science-based approaches into a societal reality. Aude is also lecturing in the International Master Course at PolyTech Tours.
Miguel Saigo: Stable isotope analysis of aquatic-terrestrial interactions in neotropical floodplains (PhD, co-supervision with Prof. Dr. Mercedes Marchese, Universidad del Valle Argentina, since 2010).
Miguel’s PhD is a genuine UNESCO Chair issue. His supervisor is the Chair Partner for Argentina, Mercedes Marchese, director of the National Institute of Limnology. The thesis is about how organisms transfer carbon in an aquatic-terrestrial foodweb. This issue is of central importance if we want to understand how productive floodplains are.
Luiza O. Vega is currently working on carbon budgets in Brazilian agroscapes as post-doc. This non-aquatic issue has its origins in her previous PhD work on carbon dynamics in floodplains. In earlier work (Wantzen et al. 2006, Aquatic Conservation) we developed a conservation scheme for headwater stream catchments in the Cerrado, including the development of both, strictly preserved and multiple use buffer zones. An improved soil carbon management will help to preserve yet pristine forests, including the riparian zones of headwater streams.