This February, Marine Phytoplankton Ecology and Applications had the pleasure of welcoming researcher Javi Alegria to the group. Javi’s interest in ecosystem dynamics in a changing climate makes him a perfect addition to EcoCHANGE. He has begun working with Hanna on her picocyanobacteria research, and will undoubtedly be a key supporting figure in other MPEA projects, led by his supervisor, Catherine Legrand. Javi graciously answered a few questions so that we could all get to know our new colleague a little bit better.
Where did you grow up and how did that influence your interest in aquatic ecology?
I grew up in Bilbao, a city that is very close to the sea in the Basque Country (Spain). Since I was a kid I spent the summers in the coast, and very often I used to go fishing on my uncle’s boat. However, I was more in love with the mountains than the sea, and wasn’t until I got to university when I started to know what happens below the waves when I decided my future would forever be tied up to the oceans.
How did you learn about our program and what made you decide to come to Kalmar?
After I finished my master in Netherlands I came back to my hometown with the goal of finding a PhD that could suit my interests. Not so long after that, I found an offer to come to Kalmar and I took it.
What project will you be working on and can you tell us a little bit about it?
I will be working as part of the Ecochange project, which tries to throw some light on how the climate change is going to affect to the ocean ecosystems. I will contribute to this project by studying how more nutrient availability (as consequence of climate change) will affect to the phytoplankton communities. Phytoplankton are unicellular algae that are on the base of the trophic chain; so any climate variation that would affect to it would consequently affect to the rest of the ecosystem.
What do you think of Kalmar so far?
Apparently I have arrived to Kalmar on the coldest period!! It was so amazing for me to see the sea completely frozen. The city is very nice, and seeing everything under a snow layer only increases the charm of it. I am so looking forward to see more about this city and make some interesting trips around this beautiful country. It is going to be an amazing four years here in Sweden!!