María Toyos, a PhD. Student in Oceanography (paleoceanography) from Chile’s Universidad de Concepción, spent a two-month practicum at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), under the supervision of Research Professor Gisela Winckler.
Toyos is working with a sediment core (PS97/093-2) that was recovered in the northern part of the Drake Passage (the geographical separation between Chile and the Antarctic Peninsula), which is approximately 1.5 million years old. The main goal of her thesis is to determine how different oceanographic parameters have changed during the last 1.5 million years (i.e. current strength, fluxes, dust, paleoproductivity, sea surface temperature) and how is the relationship between these changes and climatic cycles. Her work is supervised by Carina B. Lange (from Universidad de Concepción, Chile) and Frank Lamy (from Alfred Wegener Institut, Bremerhaven, Germany).
Toyos and Winckler met last January at the DICE-PAGES workshop in Las Cruces (Chile), time at which they planned Toyos’ visit to Winckler’s LDEO sediment lab, where she carried out U/Th isotopes and elements measurements of the sediment core PS97/093-2. There, she generated a solid set of data which the team is currently analyzing, and, which will be the first study of those characteristics performed in the Drake Passage area.
According to Toyos, her experience at LDEO was extremely fruitful: “Rosseane Schwartz, the lab manager, taught me all the procedures and kept an eye on my work with inexhaustible patience; my colleagues were very friendly and helpful… Gisela was always welcoming and gave me (and still continues doing so) very good feedback”. At LDEO, Toyos had the chance to attend several interesting talks by researchers in the Earth Sciences field, who presented their current projects there. “Also, living in New York, was really awesome”, she added.