This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

[IOP] A community website from IOP Publishing

environmentalresearchweb blog

PAGES young scientists find mountains, reservoirs and inspiration

by Yoshi Maezumi and Vachel Carter

IMG_6114They came by land, sea and air. The Spanish city of Zaragoza was hit by poster tubes, rubber-tipped keens and rapid-wicking travel clothes – the garb of a scientist. It was a sunny May morning as 80 early-career researchers from 23 countries, including us – Yoshi Maezumi and Vachel Carter – congregated in the Plaza de Pilar for the 3rd PAGES Young Scientists Meeting (YSM). We met our bus convoy en route to the remote eco-village of Morillo de Tou in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees. Our journey that day wound through the picturesque olive groves, farmlands and vineyards of the Aragón region. Upon arrival in Morillo de Tou, the crisp mountain air refreshed us, white clouds of cottonwood fluff blew in the breeze, and the glacial blue waters of the Mediano reservoir glistened in the afternoon sunlight. It was a paradise found.

During the three-day YSM, we were continually impressed by the calibre of the talks and poster presentations. They ranged across current “hot topics”, including ecosystem and climate dynamics, human-climate-ecosystem interactions, abrupt change, and climate modeling. We were further stimulated by keynote presentations and breakout groups that discussed the pertinent issues of research funding, open-source data sharing, and effective science communication to policy makers and the general public. In addition, several participants had the opportunity to test their scientific communication skills for an Aragón TV documentary on global climate change.

IMG_6101In the hope of formalizing the collaborative camaraderie fostered at the YSM, the PAGES team proposed an early career researcher (ECR) group to promote participation in the broader palaeoclimate community. We came up with themes for the new group, agreeing that effective scientific communication is essential to convey the importance and relevance of palaeoresearch to non-scientific audiences. Strategic planning for the PAGES ECR working group is already underway.

The warm reception from the local community further enhanced our stay in Morillo de Tou. This small, remote community is all too familiar with the consequences of extensive land management, climate change and landscape degradation. The first evening we enjoyed star-gazing with members of the Huesca astronomical society, who showed us the moons of Jupiter, and the craters on the surface of the Moon. The following evening we danced the night away with traditional local dances accompanied by live music from a band from the Aragón region. Our final day culminated in a guided geology tour of the lovely mediaeval village of Ainsa.



One of the major take-home lessons of the YSM was the power of an optimistic, engaging and fun working environment. The conveners strove to provide this in all the activities, talks, and discussions. By the end of the three days, we found ourselves not only amongst colleagues, but amongst new friends, with seeds planted for numerous future collaborations. Uniting the powers of proxy-science with data modeling is the future of palaeoscience. Combine that with capable young scientists, and the future of climate change research looks bright indeed. The YSM was an excellent reminder of the power of optimism, co-operation and collaboration to combat the global climate challenges of the 21st Century.

As early career researchers, the YSM provided us with an excellent opportunity for networking, interdisciplinary collaborations and to stimulate potential research projects. Our positive experiences left us compelled to reach out to the broader scientific community, hence our first-ever science blog, documenting our memorable trip. If you are not already involved, we highly recommend joining one of the 18 diverse PAGES working groups. If you are an early career researcher, make sure you take part in the next YSM; it is science-fun version 6.0! And if you mentor students, send them along, we assure you it will be well worth their time. The PAGES community is palaeoscience you want to be part of.

About the authors

Yoshi Maezumi is a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Exeter, UK, investigating pre-Columbian human impact on fire and vegetation change in the Amazon.

Vachel Carter is a post-doctoral research associate at Charles University in the Czech Republic, researching Norway spruce dynamics, specifically factors that affected the timing of spruce establishment, long-term spruce-disturbance linkages, and ecosystem response and recovery rate in central Europe.


This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author 

Leave a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text