By Meredith Theus
There are many great opportunities and experiences that occur with a research exchange. It’s an opportunity to learn new research techniques, meet other scientists, interact with a different lab group, and experience a new place.
At the University of Montreal, I have been learning how to process and analyze dissolved organic matter, working closely with a graduate student in the host lab, the Lapierre Lab. I have learned how to use new pieces of equipment and software and have talked with other graduate students as well as senior scientists about a variety of research topics and ideas, both of which will certainly further my research and the scope of my dissertation. My research focuses on the effects of plants – from individuals to communities – on aquatic C cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. So, the ability to analyze dissolved organic matter will allow me to dig deeper into the drivers of greenhouse gas emissions and how plants alter their local chemical environment.
I have also been exploring all of the neat parts of Montreal and even made it out to Quebec City (see photos)!
And while I have met the goals of my research exchange – to learn DOM related techniques, meet scientists, and explore a new place – I have run into some difficulties along the way. Driving from New York to Montreal, I got stopped at the Canadian border and had to visit the immigration office, where border patrol read through my emails to prove that I was a visiting PhD student through the LOREX program. Lesson learned: make sure that you have a short, straightforward reason for visiting and any paperwork/emails that prove why you’re visiting ready to go. I also got sick while in Montreal and had to figure out the healthcare system. Lessons learned: be ready for the unexpected, put your health first, and communicate with your host PI and lab mates.
Despite the hiccups, I have already experienced and learned so much. I am excited to continue learning more about the factors that influence dissolved organic matter while exploring Montreal!