Cécile Carpentier and Kevyn Raynal were both working through their Master’s Degrees in Ecological Modelling at the University of Rennes when the time came to find a final internship before completing their degrees. Most of the students in their program find internships within France, but both Kevyn and Cécile wanted to get outside of France and experience a different country, language, and way of working. Kevyn was particularly interested in coming to Sweden and Cécile was looking around at possibilities within Scandinavia, and they both independently found Icelab’s Sebastian Diehl and decided to reach out to him about coming to Icelab to work with Sebastian on modeling food web dynamics in lakes.
They’re only been in Icelab two weeks, so most of their time is currently spent exploring and understanding the two models they will work on, and eventually extend, for the next six months. Cécile will work on a model of shallow lake ecosystem dynamics developed by Sebastian and Francisco Vasconcelos and published in 2018 . The model describes how bottom-dwelling and planktonic algae compete for nutrients and light. Cécile will extend the model to include grazers and fish and explore how nutrients and organic matter in run-off water affect the dynamics of the lake food web.
Kevyn will study interactions of phototrophic and mixotrophic algae and bacteria in the plankton. Phototrophic algae fix carbon exclusively by photosynthesis, whereas mixotrophic algae can do that but also feed on bacteria. Depending on the environment, the three types of organisms can be competitors or mutualists. Kevyn will explore their interactions with a model developed by Sebastian and Sierra Cagle from Texas A&M University, who visited IceLab last year.
Cécile, from Normandy and the University of Rouen, began her research trajectory with an internship in Namur with Natagora, out in the field and the lab finding crested newts in ponds using environmental DNA approaches. Now she’s left the ponds behind and developed an interest in modelling ecological systems. The coding makes her feel powerful, and she loves that she can change and investigate every aspect of a model. It’s hard to observe as many effects when working in the field!
Kevyn is from Provence and studied in Marseille, and his first internship was an experimental setup to investigate how plant communities respond to increasing levels of drought, a likely future scenario for the south of France thanks to climate change. With a shift towards more modelling and simulation, he’s been enjoying the extensive exploration and quick feedback he can now get – change a few parameters, run a simulation, and see what happens!
While in Sweden and in Icelab, Cécile and Kevyn hope to spend time in nature, explore the north of Sweden, and get to know what real life is for those of us living here in Umeå.
Welcome to Icelab!
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