This year’s Ameriflux Annual Meeting began with something different. The Early Career Network (FLUXNET-ECN, previously FLUXNET-YSN) kicked off the meeting a day early with hands-on workshops. Roughly 40 participants joined us in Boulder, CO, and ~15 joined remotely for a full afternoon of programming. In the first session, Manuel Helbig introduced AmeriFlux’s renewed focus on early career community members and Gavin McNicol summarized Year of Methane activities. In the afternoon, the group split to participate in different tutorials (available below) followed by a tour of NEON’s facilities and dinner social at a local brewery.
If you couldn’t make it to the ECN workshop or Annual Meeting in person, here’s a recap on the events and topics covered:.
- ECN-Flux Workshop materials are now available!
- Early-Career Panel highlights
- NEON Headquarters tour
- AGU ECN-Flux Social TBA
Early-Career Network Workshop Materials Now Available
Data tutorials and break-out sessions were held concurrently and shared live via Zoom links. We are grateful to our leads for volunteering to organize these events. Materials are now available at the following links:
- Surface-atmosphere exchange (NEON). Leads: Chris Florian, Claire Lunch.
- PhenoCam data analysis. Leads: Bijan Seyednasrollah, Andrew Richardson.
- Exploring methane data and gap-filling approaches. Lead: Gavin McNicol.
- Google Earth Engine create your own site description. Lead: Gabriela Shirkey.
NEON Headquarters Tour
Following the workshop, ECN members toured NEON’s Headquarters and learned about the on-going initiatives of large-scale research programs. The tour included a visit to the calibration/validation lab, airborne observation platform (data demo and lab), and the tower + mobile deployment platform.
NEON encourages all researchers to utilize data collected from their 20 ecoclimatic domains, which partitions the continental US, Hawaii and Puerto Rico into distinct regions of vegetation, landforms and ecosystem dynamics. To find more information on site and data availability, visit their website.
Early-Career Panel Highlights
Later during the workshop, early-career members met with faculty Trevor Keenan, Kim Novick, Housen Chu, Peter Blanken, and Marcy Litvak over lunch and connected over early career questions. Highlights from the panel included discussions and advice on career and work-life planning as well as the transition from PhD to postdoc life, such as:
- What is the appropriate length for a postdoc? The consensus was that there is no correct time spent, but rather work produced (i.e., publications). As long as you have a productive postdoc, there is no concern for the length of time. Post-doc appointments are opportunities to expand your knowledge and network before electing a permanent appointment. Always consider your personal stage in life. Having kids, long-distance relationships, or closeness to family members can be important factors influencing an individual’s career decisions.
- How much should you prioritize service (for example to research networks like AmeriFlux) early in your career as a faculty member? Trevor Keenan replied to this question, indicating that the priority for many pre-tenure faculty is research output and that service normally refers to activities within the home department or University. However, both Trevor and Kim recognized the great networking and research opportunities offered via active membership a network like AmeriFlux.
- How to best prepare for job interviews for faculty positions? Ask your peers and mentors for advice and do as many practice talks as possible. Learn about the department that you are interviewing for. Knowing about the research conducted at the department will help you to connect to your interview partners. Expect all sorts of questions and be prepared to improvise. Make sure you ask questions too, since you should feel comfortable with your new potential work environment.
Upcoming AGU FLUXNET-ECN Social
Find us at AGU 2019 in San Francisco, CA, for a FLUXNET-ECN social. Date and location are to be announced. If this is your first AGU, we have members willing to meet with you throughout the week and introduce you to the multiple sessions and posters as well as the Ameriflux Townhall meeting.
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