Welcome to Colombia

Hi OSSers!

I was part of the OSS last year, and just graduated in April. I got a lucky placement almost right away on a CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) funded internship through Dalhousie University. The placement is for 6 months and based in Cartagena De Indiaas in Colombia. I have been here since the start of July, but work has been quite slow until just recently.

Casa del Marques de Valdehoyos, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

My new office

I wanted to stay in touch and contribute to the club somehow, so I am helping Ellyn get the blog going. I will also try to post regularly for the remainder of my time here.

So I suppose no time like the present!

The first couple weeks of my placement my boss was on holidays and then at a conference. Furthermore he isn’t actually based in the same city as me. So getting direction and things to do from him were a little tricky to start. However he has just brought in a new contact for me who will be more hands on and give me things to do. My new task is going to be finding data sources for meteorology and temperature stations from locations all around the Caribbean sea.

(Note, the Global Ocean Observing System – it is more about providing data and large scale organisation of data and data collection than actually going out into the field and collecting it ourselves – I personally, would like to be out in the field but you have to start somewhere…)

This past week was the most exciting, and busy work week I’ve had yet. Another group in the office I’m in is working the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME)’s, Information and Management System (IMS) and Regional Ecosystem Monitoring Program (REMP). Their project closes at the end of the year, and this week they held a small brainstorming workshop to come up with measurable ecosystem indicators. My boss also plays a large role in that project, and I was invited to participate/observe.


A sloth hanging out in a tree outside the conference centre. (It’s kind of hard to see, but it is the greyish blob right in the middle of the frame)

The workshop was 3 days, and included about 20 participants from around the Caribbean. There was live translation as about half the participants spoke either only Spanish or only English (myself included – though I am learning Spanish while I’m here). A large part was breaking into smaller groups to discuss specific points – such as ecosystem valuation, benefits of data integration, and small scale fisheries.

It was very interesting to be a part of, but no immediate results were obtained. The project organisers are currently putting together a draft report which will be sent to all the participants for review.

If you would like further information on anything I have mentioned don’t hesitate to contact me and ask (I may be a little delayed in replying, but usually have time for this kind of thing on weekends). Or try these links:
The Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem website – http://clmeproject.org/portal/default.aspx
The event page for the conference (hosted on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s website) – http://ioc-unesco.org/index.php?option=com_oe&task=viewEventRecord&eventID=1173

I hope this has been an at least somewhat interesting start to the OSS’s new blog. I will try to post regularly, however it is hard to know if I will actually have much of interest to add most weeks.


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