Meet Hella: chasing methane sources

Hello everybody, my name is Hella van Asperen. I am a PostDoc at the Institute of Environmental Physics in Bremen (Germany), in the group of Prof. Notholt, but currently live and work in Manaus. I started my studies at Wageningen University in the Netherlands with the Bachelor program ‘Soil, Water, Atmosphere’. That I followed with a Masters in ‘Soil Science’ and ‘Earth System Science’. I really enjoyed the interdisciplinary aspect of those programs. It’s fascinating to me how different living and non-living parts of the ecosystem interact, e.g. plants and microbes with the atmosphere. As part of my Master’s project, I got to visit the University of California, Davis, to help set up an experiment focusing on soil CO2 fluxes.

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Meet Milena: What is the role of oxidation products of BVOCs?

Hello everybody, I am Milena Ponczek. I am a post-doc at the Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Sao Paulo. About one year ago, I joined Prof. Artaxo’s group there.

I have a Bsc degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Campinas, Brazil. There, my first research project was to study VOC degradation process by photocatalysis on titanium dioxide. Then, I changed my research field from applied to fundamental sciences, pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of Lyon in France. My thesis focused on laboratory studies to investigate photocatalytic properties of mineral dust aerosols.

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Meet Ana Caroline: What’s the matter with soil water?

Hi, my name is Ana Caroline, and I currently work at the ATTO Project for the INPA and the MPI-BGC. I graduated from university with a degree in Environmental Management. Afterward, I obtained a Master’s degree in Climate and Environment from INPA. At ATTO I work as a scientific assistant for the Gerd Gleixner group. I collect soil water samples to analyze some of its chemical parameters, such as pH, electrical conductivity and Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC). For the experiment, we placed several plates in the soil to collect soil water from different depths. We collect the water in glass bottles inside a box (as pictured in the photo) the lab analysis.

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Meet Sebastian: MAX-DOAS around the world

Hello out there! My name is Sebastian Donner and I work in the satellite remote sensing group at the Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie in Mainz as a PhD student. 

I studied Meteorology in Mainz and then stayed here to obtain my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Already back then, I was really fascinated by the atmosphere’s composition, and by the ways and means to monitor air quality and pollution. That’s how I became involved with a method called MAX-DOAS. MAX-DOAS means Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy. This is a rather fancy method to measure the abundance of trace gases in the atmosphere and retrieved their vertical profiles.

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Meet Sam: Keeping taps on the carbon cycle

Hey, this is Sam Jones! Earlier in 2019 I finally moved to Manaus and took a job at INPA. I say finally because I had flirted with the idea for quite some time.  Now I often get asked the enduringly difficult question “What are you doing here?”. The short answer is that I’m working as a soil ‘biogeochemist’ on the ATTO project. This is a bit of catch-all jargon. What does it really mean? Well, I want to understand how interactions among the biological, physical and chemical elements of terrestrial ecosystems, particularly in the soil, influence their connection to the wider Earth system.

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