American private foundation supports new version of ECODIM course organized by the Millennium Institute of Oceanography

Between January 8 and 27 2018, it will be held the 10th version of the Ecology and Diversity of Marine Microorganisms course (ECODIM) at the Marine Biology Station of Universidad de Concepción in Dichato. This event it’s carried out from the year 2001 and is also part of the Austral Summer Institute (ASI). Through time, more than one hundred students from fourteen differents countries, mainly from Latin America have been participated, and more than fifty teachers and speakers have been invited.

ECODIM is an enshrined course. On 2015 was the winner of the Innovation in Science Education in the Higher Education category of the annually awards that the Young Science Foundation together with UNESCO give.

Marine microbiology is the main of the ECODIM course, which is destined to postgraduate and advance undergraduete students and the character is highly practical. With three weeks duration, the students has the opportuniity to get on a scientists boat named Kay Kay II to collect samples and after that make observations and experiments of the diversity and biogeochemical role of the microorganisms that inhabit water and marine sediments of our coasts.

ECODIM ones more will be finance by the Agouron Institute, a private philanthropic institution with base in California that supports advanced research and courses around the world, in particular microbial oceanography in Chile. Although, the course counts with the support of the Postgraduate Direction and other sponsors.

Rodrigo De la Iglesia, assocciate teacher at the P. Universidad Católica de Chile is one of the scientist that participate in the course, he says : “The main focus of ECODlM is to give to undergraduate and postgraduate students who works in marine microbial ecology, an opportunity, , to have contact with international researchers of high level who works in that area. Students of our region don’t have much opportunities to have this experiences. In that way, ECODIM helps the students to make collaborations networks, between them, as well with the different teachers that participate”

Belén Franco, Marine Biologist of the Universidad de Concepción, lived this experience on 2016. It was a great instance to go on in her professional career “The course is an excelent opportunity to acquire first-level scientific experience in Marine Microbiology field. In ECODIM we share experiences and knowledge in a theoretical and practical manner with researchers and students of differents universities of the world. That, encourages our performance in research, team work and scientific communication among peers”.

Sonia Yáñez is a phD student and participated in the 2016 edition. She admit that ECODIM helps to meet professionals of other countries, and strengthen the collaborative work.

Thanks to this experience, Sonia went to Denmark to an internship that allowed her to advance in her thesis. "ECODIM gave me a lot of knowledge on the microorganisms ecology that have been implemented during my training as a phD student, I also learned about the work in group, and why not, on the culture of different countries. During ECODIM also I made contact with Dr. Ronnie Glud, a Danish professor, who works at the Institute of Biology of the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), in Odense, Denmark. This contact, allowed me to do an internship of my phD in his laboratory, and today, this work represents a chapter of my doctoral thesis."

The course accept only 15 students each year. The directors of it are Kurt Hanselmann (University of Zurich, Switzerland), Rodrigo de la Iglesia (P. Universidad Católica de Chile) and Osvaldo Ulloa (Universidad de Concepción). ECODIM also performs an one-day open symposium on the main campus of Universidad de Concepción; this year 2018, the theme will be "Marine Symbiosis".

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