Javier Marco-Barba, PhD (2010)
I developed my PhD (2010) at the University of Valencia focused on the climatic evolution (sea-level changes, flood events and paleostorms) and human influence (hydrology management, rice field expansion and vegetation variability, eutrophication and heavy metals pollution) of Mediterranean areas.
My own work is concerned with the study of actual ecosystems, biogeochemistry, organisms’ biodiversity and distribution, and ecophysiology to understand the functioning of arid and semiarid systems. Largely, I use sediment cores and pollen, microcarbons, macrophytes, invertebrates (ostracoda, cladocera, chironomidae and macrophytes) and organic and inorganic geochemistry (stable isotopes and trace elements) such as paleoenvironmental proxies, to approach past species assemblages and climatic conditions (humid and dry periods).
I’m also interested on the biogeochemical cycles (water and carbon cycle), Dendroclimatology, Ecophysiology and organisms adaptations. Other research interest goes from ecological modeling, ecosystem restoration, biodiversity, and evolution.
My research falls into four major themes;
1) Climate Global Change
3) Ecology and Paleoecology
3) Geochemistry, stable isotopes and trace elements
5) Holocene climate variability and human impacts
My vision as part of an international Research Group
I have been working with many different international groups during the last few years and consider myself a good team player who can help lead and also foster collaboration. Fostering motivation and camaraderie are cornerstones of a good research team. These two features are the key for any research team to function properly, from avoiding internal feuds to fostering open discussion. I believe that the success comes from the organization of a good work plan that has a buy-in from all members. The work plan should state general and specific objectives with associated time tables for each milestones. Regular team meetings to check progress, adjust the time tables as necessary, and discuss ways of improving methods and workflows, will ensure that all team members are kept updated and motivated.
Teaching a course in Climate Change and Paleoclimatology
In my way of thinking, it is impossible that the people who devote themselves to research do not contribute to the instruction and mentoring of next generation of researchers. For that reason, I consider it very important to offer courses in which future researchers will acquire necessary knowledge in global change and paleoclimatology in order to discover more knowledge.
While working toward my PhD I taught workshops, classes on ecology and biogeography at the University of Valencia. My philosophy on education centers on an active approach as I engage my students in discussions activities, and higher-level thinking. I believe that all students can learn more than they think; therefore I have high expectations for them. I employ structure in the classroom, using routines and procedures to help students be comfortable and confident in class. I include interesting examples in my lessons to grab the attention of students and inspire them to learn. I make sure that students in my class explore meaning, engage in critical thinking, and conduct their own experiments. They can relate the theoretical ecology/paleoecology and geochemistry with the real field data and learn how to conduct research. The skills they gain will expose them to many employment and research opportunities in the area. My goal is to train students to be prepared to think on their feet and react appropriately to problems that may arise in different areas of work.