Niek Verschaeren

Student visiting from Wageningen University (Netherlands)

Niek Verschaeren is a Dutch student from Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Neterlands). He will do his master thesis here at our research group, within the European project Diverfarming. This project aims to find a way how farming can be both profitable and sustainable. Within this project valuable intercrops are planted, which can reduce erosion. The coming months he will do research on this subject and will look at how these intercrops affects erosion. He will measure erosion with 3 different methods: 1) erosion pins (see image), 2) mapping of erosion features and 3) drone images. Erosion pins will measure erosion very accurately on a small scale. Mapping of erosion features will help to estimate erosion at larger spatial scales. Drone images will be used for getting insight in the connectivity of the area and will also be used to measure differences in the future for different scales. He will perform his research at our group until the end of December and finish his thesis in Wageningen. Supervision and guidance from our group is provided by Maria Martinez-Mena, (Pedro Perez Cutillas) and Carolina Boix-Fayos.

Student visiting from Wageningen University (Netherlands)

Bram Koning, a MSc-student from Wageningen Univeristy and Research (WUR) specialized in Hydrology, is currently doing fieldwork for his MSc-thesis at CEBAS-CSIC for a three month period (September-December 2017). His work consists of an erosion assessment at an agricultural property near Cabeza de la Plata (Circa 15 km west of Murcia). He will map and quantify soil erosion features for different land management strategies and, subsequently, will try to upscale his findings using GIS software. The research is done under supervision of Jantiene Baartman from the Soil Physics and Land Management group (SLM) of Wageningen Univeristy. Supervision and guidance from CEBAS-CSIC is provided by Maria Martinez-Mena, Pedro Perez Cutillas and Carolina Boix-Fayos.

Visiting PhD student from Italian National Research Council and University of Basilicata

Italian PhD student, Civil-environmental Engineer with a MSc in Hydraulic Engineering and Violinist.

Antonella Dimotta comes from the Italian National Research Council and University of Basilicata (School of Agricultural School Forestry, Food and Environmental Sciences). Her PhD Program is on land, environmental and forestry science. At CEBAS-CSIC she will study the soil erosion process as affected by land use change, by using the Soil and Water Conservation Research Group’s experience with different environmental modelling and assessment approaches. Antonella applies the InVEST model to model soil erosion and various other incidences on the environmental economic scope at a regional scale (Basilicata, South Italy).

For this purpose, the main goals of her PhD research are the following:

  • Soil erosion modeling and methods application in the Mediterranean areas
  • On-site and off-site effects due to the soil loss by erosion
  • Economic and environmental assessment of the soil erosion effects and impacts
  • Economic and environmental impacts on the agricultural productivity
  • Landscape evolution and transformation in relation to different territorial scales
  • Land Management and Land Use Policy: insights and potential developments.

Visiting scientist Dr. Wei Ren from China

We welcome Dr. Wei Ren (Lecturer at the Southwest University at Chongquin, China), who is joining us as a Visiting Scholar funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for one year, starting in December 2016. Dr. Ren is interested in the application of stable isotope techniques to plant ecophysiology research in karst ecosystems threatened by desertification.

MSc thesis KU Leuven students

Recently  two students of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven, Belgium) performed their MSc thesis research in the Upper Taibilla catchment in collaboration with researchers from our group.

Both students now successfully presented their MSc thesis with the following titles:

Wim Verhoeven: Hill slope dynamics in a first order Mediterranean river catchment: Comparing long-term vs short-term erosion rates.

Noël Ghammachi: Soil carbon dynamics in a Mediterranean catchment. Assessing the influence of erosion and deposition on carbon sequestration.

MSc supervisors were G. Govers (KULeuven), C. Boix-Fayos & J. de Vente (CEBAS-CSIC). They were further assisted by B. Campforts and M. Van de Broek (mentors KULeuven) and P. Cutillas (CEBAS-CSIC).

The students performed intensive fieldwork during the summer of 2015 that included soil and deep sediment sampling after which they applied a range of state-of-the-art techniques to determine the sediments age, erosion rates, soil organic carbon stability, and assess the long-term human impact on soil erosion and carbon sequestration.

Congratulations Wim and Noële!

MSc. degree Maria Francesca Cataldo

The 10th of March Maria Francesca Cataldo received her MSc degree with the maximum qualification for her MSc thesis entitled:

ANALYTICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF THE HYDROLOGICAL RESPONSE OF SEMI-ARID BASINS IN SOUTH-EAST SPAIN.

Her supervisors were: Dr. Demetrio Antonio Zema, Dra. Carolina Boix Fayos and Dr. Giuseppe Bombino.

Francesca studied at the University of Mediterranean Studies of Reggio Calabria (Italy) and worked at our group on her MSc thesis between September 2015 and February 2016 supported by an Erasmus + fellowship. Her research analyses the hydrological response of a nested catchment in the Upper Segura River at different temporal scales.

The master thesis was developed between de Department of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Reggio Calabria and the Department of Soil and Water Conservation of CEBAS-CSIC.

Congratulations Francesca!

Visiting scientists from Italy

Between September 2015 and January 2016, our colleague from the AGRARIA Department of the University of Reggio Calabria (Italy), Dr. Eng. Demetrio Zema stayed at our group to work in the project Characterization and modeling of the hydrological response of semi-arid watersheds in southern Spain: integrating geomorphological and hydrological responses” supported by the Seneca Foundation (Research Agency of the Region of Murcia) with a senior visiting scientist fellowship. He has been working on the hydrological modelling of the Upper Taibilla and Rogativa watersheds together with members of our group (Carolina Boix-Fayos and Joris de Vente). IMG-20151211-WA0000

The cooperation between the Italian AGRARIA and the Spanish CEBAS group started in 2012, sharing experiences in the study of the hydrological and geomorphological response of Mediterranean watersheds, under different climatic, land use and management conditions. This collaboration already resulted in joint publications in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecohydrology.

In the framework of this cooperation, and supported by an Erasmus+ fellowship, Maria Francesca Cataldo, an MSc student in forestry, also stayed at our group during the same period to undertake her MSc thesis entitled: “Analytical characterization and modelling of the hydrological response of semi-arid watersheds in southern Spain”. Francesca demonstrated to be a very efficient and promising student and the colaboration with Demetrio and Francesca has been very productive and satisfactory. Francesca will defend her Master thesis next 10th of March in Italy.

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Two visiting scientists

Two guest researchers are currently staying at our group:

Maiby Pérez

Maiby Y. Pérez Darniz is an agronomist from the ‘Instituto de Ingeniería Agrícola, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad Central de Venezuela’, Maracay, Aragua. She is professor in the department of agricultural mechanization and machinery for the agricultural production of pre and postgraduate studies since 1996. Her research focuses on physical and mechanical properties of the soil, tillage systems, interaction soil – machine, and indicators of soil physical quality postharvest. She will stay at our group between May and August 2015.

Francisco Bautista

Francisco Bautista Zúñiga, biologist (PhD in biology, ecology and environmental sciences), working at the CIGA (Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental), de la UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Morelia, Michoacán. He is professor since 1988, currently in Geo-pedology, formerly in environmental impact, soil science, ecology and environmental sciences. He performs research on evaluation of land and planning in rural and urban environments, the soil magnetic properties and their applications: pollution, classification, mapping and use of fire in agriculture. He will stay at our group from April 2015 until February 2016.