by Christophe Le Gall |
Who are you ?
I work at the Earth Science department of the Pisa University, where I’m an associated professor, teaching geology and micropaleontology. I’ve got my master degree at the University of Bologna, working with the Marine Geological Institute (CNR). For my PhD in Earth Sciences, I worked in Bologna and at Bordeaux University for 3 years, and after, I had a position of assistant researcher at Ancona University, which is a biological Institute. Then I spend 5 years as a senior researcher at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.
Can you describe us your job ?
I’m a specialist in planktonic and benthic foraminifera. I’m able to work both on living (modern) foraminifera and on the fossil ones. I use a microscope to identify different species, count them, and when the sample is analysed, I perform statistics helping to reconstruct the paleoenvironment, and other paleooceanographic parameters. I’m also teaching to students; from the younger ones who just begins their bachelor degree, to PhD students (One of them is also on board, Viviana GAMBOA SOJO, from Costa-Rica).
Why did you choose this job ?
I like to study geology and in particular, I like microfossils, and trying to understand how the ocean works. Reconstructing our Earth’s history is a fantastic work. When you are on a cruise like this one, it’s fantastic because everybody onboard does the same work and shares their passion.
What will be your tasks during the cruise ?
My task will be to sample sediments, to study living and fossils foraminifera, and to try to understand the development of anoxic conditions (loss of oxygen in the bottom water) in the Kveitola trough. We will use some staining techniques, for example adding Rose Bengal to the samples, to recognize the living microfauna from the dead ones. Then, we will compare our data with the physical data like bottom currents to understand the life on the sediment.
What do you like (most) in your work ?
I like the microscopy part. Being able to observe these tiny microorganisms is fantastic. I also enjoy comparing my results to other scientist’s works. There is always something new, something you don’t know and you discover. Micropaleontology relates to many other subjects, like e.g. biology, oceanography, sedimentology…