Meet Flavia: Unlocking clues from the water

My name is Flavia Durgante and I am a Postdoc in the Wetland Ecology Group of Dr. Florian Wittmann at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Germany. However, I’m mostly stationed at INPA in Manaus. Now a Forest Engineer with a degree from the UFSM – Universidade Federal de Santa Maria. Prior, I did my PhD at the INPA studying tree growth with isotopic analysis and permanent plots in the Forest Management Group (LMF).

At ATTO, our project focuses on water. We’re analyzing water isotopes from different sources such as rain, soil deeps, rivers and xylem water from trees in different habitats. Additionally, we want to recognize climatic signals as oxygen isotopes in the tree rings. To collect the data, we’re going to the ATTO site every month. There, we monitor the hydraulic potential of trees and collect water samples. With these results, we hope to understand the vulnerability of these ecosystems in the future climate change and understand the variability of the climate in the past. We expect to contribute with water cycle studies, tree growth and paleoclimate studies in the Amazon.

For me, the ATTO site is a very special place to work in. The enriching experience begins on the road, where we can observe the forest types as Buritizais and small rivers called Igarapés. Further along, we see the Igapó Forest (flooded forest) with a beautiful landscape along the Uatumã River. When we’re getting closer to the ATTO site, we are surrounded by other kinds of forest along the road as Terrace, Campina and Campinarana (sandy soils) and Platô Forest (clay soils). In just one trip we get the chance to experience the Amazon rainforest is so many variations! But the most special place is the top of the tower, where we can look over this amazing landscape. It really is a treat for me to work here!