Hello everyone! My name is Joanna or in short Asia. It might sound confusing, but it is an interesting fact about Polish naming customs.

After graduation from a master’s in biology at the University of Gdańsk, where I specialised in plant ecology and nature conservation, I joined an environmental consulting company. My work there focused on environmental impact assessments and management planning for nature conservation. During that period, I have realised that with climate change challenges and deteriorating natural habitats, it is crucial to incorporate state of the art technologies from all possible arenas into environmental research. Hence, I decided to join an international master’s degree that would allow me to collaborate with people from different countries and domains. Erasmus Mundus in European Forestry provided such a fantastic platform. Thanks to this programme, I was able to study and gain valuable experience at the University of Finland, the University of Freiburg and the University of British Columbia. The degree was finalised with a thesis at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research, where I combined data analysis, remote sensing, and machine learning techniques within one study framework by exploring drought patterns in beech stands.

Recently, I have relocated to the sixth  country in my life – Belgium. The Marie Skłodowska-Curie action and FutureArctic project offered this excellent opportunity to conduct doctoral research. In my PhD (ESR 2), protocols and algorithms for RGB and multispectral UAV imaging will be developed to determine spatio-temporal variability of plant and vegetation traits and species composition in grasslands. These algorithms will be applied in the natural ecosystems of ForHot sites in Iceland to assess changes in ecosystem functioning along the temperature gradient. But also, in Belgian agro-systems to enable specific management measures based on the assessment of grassland biomass production, quality traits, and composition.

Successful completion of an internationally coordinated initiative like FutureArctic will surely assist in better understanding of changing ecosystems and underlying functions and processes. I am glad to be a part of such a team that helps to build a global network of transferable skills and knowledge.