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UD marine scientists collaborate with French colleagues

June 26, 2012 — When marine microbiologist David Kirchman met a French colleague who was on sabbatical at the University of Delaware, their conversations led to nearly a decade of collaborative research. Now the two are fostering similar partnerships among others through an ongoing exchange between their respective institutions.

Ocean scientists from UD traveled to southern France last month to meet counterparts at Pierre and Marie Curie University’s Banyuls-Sur-Mer Oceanological Observatory, of which Kirchman’s collaborator, Philippe Lebaron, is the director.

The three-day meeting titled “Biodiversity and Functioning of Marine Ecosystems” was supported by a French Embassy Partner University Fund (PUF) award, which furthers research and graduate education partnerships between French and American universities.

“What’s most important is talking, getting to know each other and exchanging ideas,” said Kirchman, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies. “I think that’s the most important thing that happened in this exchange.”

Seven faculty members and three graduate students from UD joined about 40 French scientists for a series of presentations. Topics of the talks ranged from deep-ocean microbes to marine sponges to satellite data about sea ice, exposing researchers to topics outside of theirs areas of expertise.