On Monday, the 11th of June, the Marine Animal Ecology group was honoured with a visit by our Rector Magnificus Arthur Mol and director of the Animal Sciences group Martin Scholten. In preparation of this visit, we had called the whole MAE band together and organised an afternoon of talks and exhibitions followed by a BBQ. It was great to work with the whole group together, consisting of staff members, guest scientists and PhD students.
After a brief introduction of the history, team members and research lines of MAE by Tinka, in a series of short pitches our main research projects were presented. This revealed the variety of talents and areas of expertise in our team, and showcased the mixture of fundamental research and applications. Not only science for science but also science for impact.
During the break a video made by Ronald presented a taste of our work. It ranged from tropical to arctic, and from lab to field. After the break the methods and technologies we use in our group were presented. Of course the education provided by MAE was an important part of the presentation. A lot of modern teaching methods are employed to be able to provide students with personal attention even when they come in greater groups. These methods include thesis rings, flash lectures and online self-tests for groups of students with very different backgrounds, MOOCs for online education, and Feedback Fruits to facilitate interaction with larger audiences. Mischa had prepared some questions for Arthur and Martin to experience Feedback Fruits themselves.
The last question was: are you prepared to inaugurate our new MAE lab? And fortunately Arthur and Martin were! After ‘opening’ our new lab, Arthur and Martin could check out the growth of cultured corals, and Arthur planted a new piece himself. They also could check out under the microscope how plain sand from 300 m deep (from a fjord in Spitsbergen and collected with a submarine in Curacao) actually contained a lot of animals, especially foraminifera and nematodes. In the lab we also displayed examples of ‘MAE in the news’ with subjects ranging from marine lakes to deep sea research and TTX in shell fish.
At the end of the official part of the day it was time for a barbecue organised by Christiaan. Notwithstanding the gloomy weather forecast it turned out dry and sunny. All BSc and MSc students of MAE that still were in Wageningen were invited for the BBQ as well, and this made for some very nice informal conversations between the guests, staff and students. Both Martin and Arthur said they were impressed on how quickly our group has grown, and how diverse our areas of expertise are. After this very nice day we are looking forward to a bright future of MAE!