Florence Schubotz 2007-09-09
Report of GLOMAR PhD student Florence Schubotz about her participation in the International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (IMOG) in Torquay, UK, 9-14 September 2007
The International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (IMOG) takes place every two years and is an important platform for scientific exchange in this field of research. Thanks to GLOMAR I was able to participate in this years IMOG conference, which was held in Torquay, England, from September 9th to 14th.
Since the scientific community of organic geochemists is rather small, usually everyone who impacts the field participates in the IMOG, hence there are good chances to meet the scientists who are important for ones research.
I presented a poster on tar mounds and oil seepage in the southern Gulf of Mexico, discussing my investigations on the biogeochemistry and the associated benthic community. There were some people who work on similar topics as mine and it was very useful for me to discuss their projects with them in person. I was also delighted that my poster board was close to the poster of J. Michael Moldowan, a well-known scientist in the field of organic geochemistry, who wrote numerous papers on oil geochemistry and was co-author of the book “The Biomarker Guide”. He was very interested in my study and had helpful remarks for my ongoing work.
Poster sessions occurred twice a day in-between the oral presentations, this gave me sufficient time to discuss my results and to visit other posters. A novelty of this years IMOG was the possibility to participate in short courses during lunch break. These courses cover all important aspects of modern day organic geochemistry such as stable isotope research, paleoenvironment reconstruction, and petroleum system evaluation, and are taught by the most renowned scientists in the field. I participated in two short courses, which were most relevant to my work: “Stable Isotope in Biogeochemistry” and “Bugs, Biodegradation and Biogeochemistry of Heavy Oils and Tar Sands”. In my opinion these courses were a huge success, they gave a short but detailed overview on the state of the art in each field of research and were taught by expert scientists. I felt lucky to have been able to participate.
Another highlight of the conference were the various talks. One of them was the presentation of my supervisor Kai-Uwe Hinrichs where he presented some of the results from my master thesis. I was happy that well-known scientists, such as Jan de Leeuw and Keith Kvenfolden were highly impressed by our data.
For me it was interesting that members of the oil industry such as Shell or BP were presenting results of their research as well. It was interesting to see which methods they use and it was encouraging to see that they are seeking the exchange with the scientific community.
Personally, I thought the conference was very successful because I had the opportunity to introduce myself and my research to scientists from all over the world. I appreciated the close exchange with PhD students from other universities, especially with the ones that work on similar topics as me. For example, by chance I met a mathematician who works on geo-relevant topics, presenting new statistical methods to visualize and evaluate multidimensional geochemical data sets. His work represents an important link between the two disciplines, and it seems very likely that we will collaborate together on future and on-going projects.