Candidate for Member at Large: Mina Bizic

Mina Bizic

Ph.D. 2014 (Aquatic Microbial Ecology, University of Oldenburg and the Max-Planck Institute of Marine Microbiology, Germany)


Biographical Information

I always loved water and aspired to study the life in it. I graduated my BSc in biology and MSc in hydrobiology and environmental protection from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, after which I worked as a research assistant at the Kinneret Limnological Laboratory in Israel. Following a period of 3 years where my thirst for knowledge could not be quenched, I pursued my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany and continued to a postdoc at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, near Berlin, Germany, where I am currently an independent researcher. More in this podcast on women in science.

My broad interests in aquatic microbial ecology cover freshwater and marine environments, addressing the oceanic carbon cycle, the oxic methane paradox, and aquatic/terrestrial coupling. Currently my work is divided between succession of microorganisms on organic aggregates, focusing on individual particles, and my discovery of photosynthesis-associated methane production by phytoplankton. I enjoy working at the interfaces of different disciplines, developing new experimental tools, alongside molecular analyses, and bioinformatics.

I am part of ASLO’s early-career committee, ECR representative to OSM, and a founding member of our institute’s diversity, equality, and inclusion group.

Candidate Statement

I am humbled to be considered for the position of Member-At-Large on the ASLO Board of Directors. I look forward to contributing to ASLO’s mission to foster interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge at the forefront of all aquatic sciences.

I aim to be an ambassador of ASLO and its mission in places where aquatic sciences are not a priority of the education system. I will achieve this by making use of my multicultural background, my interdisciplinary research, and my determination to actively work towards making science more inclusive. Despite a desire for global representation, many countries continue to be under-represented in ASLO. This likely does not reflect a lack in extent and quality of aquatic research, but mostly a gap in awareness of the benefits ASLO membership provides to advancing limnological or oceanographic research. Had I known of ASLO during my bachelor studies, I would have joined then. Increasing the global representation of ASLO is not a one-person job, but I intend to make efforts in places where my background serves as an advantage.

ASLO values diversity in Aquatic Sciences, and in this respect, I feel at home!

Learning about diversity, equality, and inclusion as well as resisting implicit bias and stereotyping is a lifelong work and one must constantly strive to improve. Therefore, strategies to consciously mitigate implicit bias should be included in new literacy measures, and I hope to help ASLO’s continuous efforts in building diversity in its ranks. With lifelong experience, I bring the multicultural equity lens to all the different "hats" I ‎wear, and as a mother and spouse of a fellow scientist, I give a strong example that gender equality begins at home and how it truly looks in action.

ASLO works to bridge cultural gaps and improve the connectivity between aquatic scientists. As part of ASLO’s EC committee we are running a new webinar series, ‘Amplifying Voices’, promoting the work of early career aquatic scientists from underrepresented groups in our global community. I hope to continue enhancing this line of activities on ASLO’s Board of Directors.

ASLO as a hub for year-round mentoring for aquatic scientists

During the 2021 ASLO Summer Meeting, I initiated and co-organized an interactive mentoring workshop. There, over 100 participants had the opportunity to consult and discuss with leading researchers, in small intimate groups, on various important umbrella issues hovering above the research activity of early-career scientists.

As a mentee in the Leibniz Mentoring Program (Germany) I experienced the importance of surrounding oneself with established individuals, and to the power of guidance. I want to bring this experience to ASLO and create an all-year round mentoring environment for early-career aquatic scientists, building on the experience of the acclaimed ASLOMP and, other conference-specific, mentoring programs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online video meetings, and courses have become a routine. Embracing this new mentality and reality will enable matching perfect mentor-mentee tandems regardless of geographical location.

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