MCRN Annual Meeting begins
The first day of the MCRN Annual Meeting was devoted to presentations and discussion. The morning started with all the 42 attendees introducing themselves. In his traditional "State of the Network" address, Director Chris Jones described the growth MCRN has experienced in the last four years, and the opportunities and challenges it now faces in its fifth year. The Junior Researchers, represented by Andy Reagan, Esther Widiasih, Juan Durazo, Karna Gowda, Malte Stuecker and Julie Leifeld, listed what they found most helpful and shared their wish list for the network.
Christof Meile (Marine Sciences Department of the University of Georgia), Drew LaMar (Biology Department of the College of William and Mary) and Ken Golden (Mathematics Department of the University of Utah) presented the group with mathematical opportunities in marine ecology and biogeochemistry in coastal waters, on the seafloor and under the ice. Christof posed three key questions which mathematics can help answer: What is the best model formulation? How do we best integrate what we think/know with the data? and How should we deal with microbes? Drew discussed how the spatial dependence of microorganisms' development is often ignored. Their mortality rate is also not well understood. In general, the dynamics of microorganisms and bacteria is an open area of research. Ken showed us a video from an arctic trip in 2011 when he recorded the varying concentrations of algal blooms underneath sea ice. The largest or most productive algal bloom is surprisingly found under the sea ice.
After lunch, Co-Director Hans Kaper informed us of the Mathematics of Planet Earth initiative. He, Co-Director Mary Lou Zeeman, Antonios Zagaris and Hans Engler have submitted a proposal to the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) to form a new Activity Group on the Mathematics of Planet Earth (SIAG-MPE). The themes would be Planet Earth as:
- a physical system.
- a system supporting life
- a system organized by humans, and
- a system at risk.
A panel of Amit Apte (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India), Darryl Holm (Mathematics of Planet Earth Centre for Doctoral Training (MPECDT), United Kingdom) and Arjen Doelman (Leiden University, the Netherlands) highlighted some opportunities for international collaboration. Arjen and Darryl joined the meeting via WebEx. Amit and Arjen seek to strengthen and enlarge the collaborative research ties that already exist, and Darryl invited the MCRN members to:
- Make a guest appearance as MPECDT Wednesday speakers
- Co-supervise students in MPECDT
- Host MPECDT students in home department
- Propose shared research projects, exchange programs, workshops
- List each others as partners
Lastly, Michael McLennan, Director of the HUBzero Platform for Scientific Collaboration, presented the capabilities of HUBzero. MCRN members broke up into groups to discuss the possibility of forming a hub.