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Internship at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Lindsey Roche, a participant to the graduate study program M.Sc. Global Change Ecology, at the University of Bayreuth completed her internship starting from February 26, 2018 to May 26, 2018, at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Lindsey Roche completed a three-month internship at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in the OPEN Project on Planetary Opportunities and Planetary Boundaries under her advisor Dr. Holger Hoff. There are nine planetary boundaries that are used to define a safe operating space for humanity: climate change, biosphere integrity, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, biogeochemical flows, land-system change, freshwater use, atmospheric aerosol loading, and chemical pollution.

Her work in the OPEN project was focused on the planetary boundary for biosphere integrity which has been identified as one of the core boundaries along with climate change. She did an analysis in free and open-source computer language programming, R and free and open-source geographic information system, QGIS using data on the global crop harvest area for 19 major crop groups and a global biodiversity intactness index (BII) which is used as a measurement for the planetary boundary on biosphere integrity. The aim of her analysis was to assess how intact the biodiversity of current crop harvest areas is and how critical this was in relation to the defined planetary boundary.

It was a good experience working for a research institute. Lindsey Roche gained perspective on how such institutes operate, the work environment, and the way research is conducted. Her time at PIK included coordinating with other institutions and scientists to obtain and use their data for her own project. This was an eye-opening experience because it allowed her to see how time-consuming data acquisition in a research project can be.

Text and picture: Lindsey Roche

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