GeoLog

GeoLog

At the Assembly 2019: Thursday Highlights

At the Assembly 2019: Thursday Highlights

Welcome to the fourth day of General Assembly excitement! Once again the day is packed with great events for you to attend and here are just some of the sessions on offer. You can find out more about what’s on in EGU Today, the daily newsletter of the General Assembly – download it here.

Union-wide sessions

The Union-wide session of the day focuses on Promoting and supporting equality of opportunities in geosciences (US4). Under-representation of different groups (cultural, national and gender) remains a reality across the world in the geosciences. This Union Symposium will touch on the remaining obstacles that contribute to these imbalances, with the goal of identifying best practices and innovative ideas to overcome obstacles. Join the discussion from 14:00–18:00 in Room E1 or follow online through webstreaming.

Thursday will feature two Great Debates, the first discussing climate thresholds and turning points for fossil fuel emissions: The safe operating space for the planet and how to ensure it is not passed (GDB1) at 10:45–12:30 in Room E1. The following great debate is particularly geared towards early career scientists (ECS). Head to Room E1 from 19:00 to 20:30 to discuss, in a series of small group debates, how early career scientists can prioritise their mental wellbeing. Seating is limited for both debates so make sure to arrive early to guarantee a spot!

You can tune into both sessions on Twitter using the #EGU19GDB hashtag and follow the first debate via webstreaming.

Scientific sessions

Some of today’s inter- and transdisciplinary highlights include sessions on…

There are several scientifically stimulating sessions planned throughout the day. Check the programme schedule to see all that’s on offer! (Credit: EGU/Keri McNamara)

Check the conference programme or EGU Today for details on the rest of Thursdays’s inter- and transdisciplinary sessions.

And be sure check out some of today’s stimulating scientific sessions:

Short courses

Take the opportunity to expand your skills in one of today’s short courses and splinter meetings. Be sure to share what you learn on social media using the hashtag #EGU19SC:

There are also many great pop-up events planned for today at the Networking and Early Career Scientist Zone (Red Level), here’s just a few planned for today:

  • Earth Science preprints: the What’s, the Why’s and the How’s: 13:00
  • Young Water Professionals Booth: 14:00
  • Academia is not the only route: exploring career options for Earth scientists Q&A: 15:00

Medal lectures

There’s also a number of Medal Lectures on throughout the day – here’s a sample of what’s on offer:

Science, art and society at EGU 2019

Tonight from 19:00 to 20:30 in Room L4/5 you can join an OpenStreetMap Mapathon to help put some of the world’s most vulnerable places on the map. A mapathon is a mapping marathon, where volunteers get together to contribute to OpenStreetMap – the world’s free map. No experience is necessary to take part in the event, just bring your laptop and the conveners will provide the training. In this session you will also learn more about crowdsourcing, open data and humanitarian response, as well as get tips for how to host a mapathon at your home institution.

EGU 2019 artists in residence and samples of their work (Credit: M Merlin/G Skretis/ G Anastasakis)

EGU’s illustrator (Morgane Merlin) and sculptor (Giorgo Skretis) in residence have been circulating the Assembly to share their conference experiences and communicate science. You can see their work posted daily on the EGU blog here or on social media through the hashtag #EGUart. Today Giorgo will also be hosting a short course on sculpting your research, (SC2.14) at 19:00-20:00 in Room -2.32.

EGU committees: public meetings

In addition to organising an annual General Assembly, the EGU publishes a number of open-access journals, organises topical meetings, honours scientists with awards and medals, and has a range of education and outreach activities. Want to find out more? Some of the EGU’s committees are having public meetings at this year’s General Assembly, to tell EGU members more about what we do and get feedback.

Additionally, the EGU President and Programme Committee Chair are convening a townhall on the carbon footprint of EGU’s General Assembly (TM4: 19:00–20:00 / Room -2.47). This townhall will provide information on measures taken so far by the EGU to reduce the environmental footprint of its General Assembly, as well as solicit suggestions for ways forward to further reduce the carbon footprint of the conference.

If you need a change of pace, stop by the Imaggeo Photo Exhibition beside the EGU Booth (Hall X2, basement, Brown Level). You can vote for your favourite finalists there, but be quick because the voting deadline is today at midnight! While you’re in the area, you can also take the opportunity to meet your division and Union-wide representatives in today’s Meet EGU appointments.

Have a lovely day!

The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 7 to 12 April. Check out the full session programme on the General Assembly website and follow the Assembly’s online conversation on Twitter at #EGU19.

Groundwater springs harbour hidden viruses

Groundwater springs harbour hidden viruses

In many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, groundwater springs are a vital, precious source of water. They are also a reservoir of disease. Research presented at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna reveals that groundwater reservoirs in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda contain diverse communities of viruses – including those that present a risk to human health.

The work, carried out by IHE Delft in the Netherlands and a number of local universities, is the first to find such extensive virus communities in groundwater. Amongst the 25 virus families found were pox and herpes viruses, responsible for a number of skin infections. Papillomavirus, which causes several types of cancer, was also present in the water. And this is just a fraction of what’s likely to be out there – other methods are likely to reveal many more, scientists involved with the new research say.

According to the new findings, the reason for this plethora of pathogens is poor sanitation in areas where freshwater percolates down from the surface and recharges the groundwater supply. Here, the viruses persist for several years before being discharged at the surface.

The virus communities were identified by extracting DNA from the groundwater. This graphic shows how they enter the groundwater and the local population. Credit: IHE Delft

Better sanitation and safe water supplies are needed to address the issue, but there aren’t always enough resources to tackle both. In areas like Kampala (Uganda) as much as 60% of the population relies on groundwater as a source of water. Simply switching to another source is not an option – there are none available.

In Accra (Ghana) and Kampala – groundwater systems are quite confined, covering an area that closely matches the distribution of the community. This means you can use a local approach to groundwater management, and develop something that works well for the communities living there.

Hydrogeolologist Jan Willem Foppen and his team take time to learn from the community, identifying pathways for the future together – an approach called transition management. Each pathway leads to small interventions, that the team can learn from. “When you work with a community and co-create knowledge, you get beautiful and unexpected results,” says Foppen.

For Foppen, the enthusiasm of the local population towards this approach is one of the most rewarding parts of the job: “we see this being replicated in other communities in Ghana and in Kampala, that is the biggest compliment we can get.”

This is still much to uncover about these virus communities. For example, scientists don’t yet know whether the viruses are dead or alive. 70% of the DNA found in the springs was unidentifiable. What’s more there is a whole separate group of viruses – RNA viruses – that haven’t even been studied yet.

By Sara Mynott, EGU Press Assistant

At the Assembly 2019: Wednesday Highlights

At the Assembly 2019: Wednesday Highlights

We’re halfway through the General Assembly already! Once again there is lots on offer at EGU 2019 and this is just a taster – be sure to complement this information with EGU Today, the daily newsletter of the General Assembly, available for download here.

Union-wide sessions

Communication between scientists, institutions, policymakers and the general public is widely recognised as an essential step towards a fair and sustainable society. Today’s Science and Society session Science, Politics and European (dis)integration: A conversation of Geoscientists with Ilaria Capua and Mario Monti will focus on science and politics with a global perspective, and the impact of populism on European integrity and therefore scientific research. In this session, Former Italian Prime Minister and European Commissioner Mario Monti and Former Italian Parliamentarian Ilaria Capua will outline optimal strategies that researchers can use to deliver clear scientific messages to key institutions. If you can’t attend the event, you can watch the session through the live stream.

The EGU will welcome Ilaria Capua and Mario Monti at the 2019 General Assembly during the high-level Science, Politics and European (dis)integration session on Wednesday 10 April, 12:45–14:00 in room E1.

Today’s Great Debate addresses Rewards and recognition in science: what value should we place on contributions that cannot be easily measured? (GDB4: 10:45–12:30 / Room E1). Assessments of scientists and their institutions tend to focus on easy-to-measure metrics related to research outputs such as publications, citations, and grants. However, there is a growing need for scientists to communicate, engage, and work directly with the public and policy makers, and practice open scholarship, especially regarding data and software. At the session you can listen to a distinguished panel of stakeholders discuss how can we fairly value and credit harder-to-measure, these less tangible contributions, compared to the favoured metrics. You can also follow the session on Twitter (#EGU19GDB) and catch up with the EGU 2019 webstream.

The EGU Early Career Scientists’ Forum (12:45–13:45 / Room L2) is the best place to find out more about the Union and how to get involved. Because the EGU is a bottom up organisation, we are keen to hear your suggestions on how to make ECS related activities even better. There will be plenty of opportunities during the forum for you to provide feedback. It’s also over lunch, so you’ll find a buffet of sandwiches and soft drinks half way through the session!

In the evening, the EGU will be holding a reception to launch the newest addition to its collection of open access journals, Geochronology (GChron). The reception (PCN10) will be held from 18:00–19:00 at the EGU Booth in Hall X2 on the Brown Level.

Medal lectures and awards

Mioara Mandea giving the 2018 Petrus Peregrinus Medal at last year’s EGU General Assembly. (Credit: EGU / Foto Pfluegl)

Another promising event set for today is the EGU Award Ceremony (PCN3), where the achievements of many outstanding scientists will be recognised in an excellent evening event from 17:30–20:00 in Room E1. Here are some of the lectures being given by these award-winning scientists:

Additionally, a stand-alone lecture will be given by Giulia Sofia from the University of Connecticut on the linkage between humans, precipitation patterns, and floods.

Scientific sessions

There are a host of inter- and transdisciplinary events taking place today. Here are just a sample of what’s on offer:

Check the conference programme or EGU Today for details on the rest of Wednesday’s inter- and transdisciplinary sessions.

And be sure check out some of today’s stimulating scientific sessions:

Short courses

Now on to short courses! Here are just some of the sessions you might want to consider adding to your schedule, from science communication to career development:

There is also a great selection of short courses on problem solving, managing projects, and navigating new technology and programmes:

There are also many great pop-up events planned for today at the Networking and Early Career Scientist Zone, here’s just a few planned for today:

  • Let’s talk peer-review: A chance to discuss and get ideas about how to carry out a thorough peer-review: 10:00
  • Early Career Scientist (ECS) Representatives meet-up: open to all ECS reps: past, present, future: 11:00
  • Meet & Greet with the geomorphology experts: 13:00
  • The IPCC and how you can get involved: 16:00

Perhaps you are looking for something fun and informal? Geoscience Game Night is a bring, show and share session to play some games that have a geoscience theme. Feel free to bring a game or just come along to have some fun. This short course follows the Games for Geoscience oral and poster sessions happening earlier today.

Finally, remember to take the opportunity to meet the people behind EGU in the day’s Meet EGU sessions.

Have an excellent day!

The EGU General Assembly is taking place in Vienna, Austria from 7 to 12 April. Check out the full session programme on the General Assembly website and follow the Assembly’s online conversation on Twitter at #EGU19.

Explore the Exhibition at EGU 2019!

Explore the Exhibition at EGU 2019!

Don’t forget to visit the Exhibition at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly!

Exhibition booths for companies, publishers, scientific societies and many more are scattered throughout the Brown (basement), Yellow (ground floor), and Green (first floor) Levels of the Austria Center Vienna. See the General Assembly website for a full list of who’s attending and where to find them.

Make sure you don’t miss EGU and Friends in Hall X2 on the Brown Level, where you can find out more about the EGU and its partners! Plus, the EGU Booth will be flanked by large booths housing NASA, ESA, and Google. Liven up your visit to the basement levels by stopping by!