Soil related processes across chronosequence in Braila Islands LTSER site RCSES Spring School 2019
Apr 15, 2019, 8:00 AM – Apr 17, 2019, 12:00 PM
Braila, Romania

About the event

Drivers of biodiversity in wetland ecosystems: soil related processes across chronosequence in Braila Islands LTSER site

This year's edition is dedicated to the investigation of biodiversity drivers in wetland ecosystems, focusing on soil evolution, soil processes and invertebrates diversity in different floodplain sites across LTSER Braila.

Our event gathers international researchers with a long-standing experience in the field. The topics will be addressed both under a theoretical perspective and with a hands-on approach.

Braila Islands Long term socio-ecological research site (LTSER Braila Islands) is inhabited by ca. 300,000 people and comprises both modified landscapes (The Big Island of Braila) and systems under a near-natural functional regime (Small Islands of Braila), with high natural and socio-economical value. The main remnant of the formerly abundant natural floodplains are the wetlands located within the Small Island of Braila Natural Park with a total surface of 210 square km, and the floodplains between the riverbanks and dikes of almost 93 square km.



Nikolaos P. Nikolaidis, Ph.D

School of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Greece 
Director of Hydrogeochemical Engineering and Soil Remediation Laboratory,

Dr. Nikolaos Nikolaidis is a professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering and the Director of the HersLab. Prior to joining TUC, he was a professor and director of the Environmental Engineering Program at the University of Connecticut, USA. His areas of expertise include: Watershed Scale Studies and Modeling, Heavy Metal Site Assessment and Remediation, and Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Development. He is using a "holistic" approach in solving environmental problems by conducting field studies, laboratory experimentation and mathematical modeling. Dr. Nikolaidis has extensive experience on watershed monitoring and modeling in Greece, Europe and the US.


Elli Groner, Ph.D

Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Israel
Scientific Director

Dr. Groner specializes in desert biodiversity and ecosystem services. His research involves comparing arid and hyper-arid ecosystems in their structure, function and services. Elli investigates food-webs and the integrity of ecosystems and how they are self-organized differently in arid and hyper-arid ecosystems. He specializes in desert arthropods and his favorite creatures are darkling beetles (Tenebrionidae). He recently found a new species to science of weevil that was named Brachycerus groneri. Elli runs research in 2 Long Term Ecological Research sites (Wadi Shita and Ramon) and one LTSER (Socio-Ecology) in the Arava. Recently Elli started a research on climate change impact on the ecology of arid environments.


Tamir Rozenberg

Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Israel

Entomology Lab Manager 

Tamir is the lab manager of the entomology lab of Dr. Elli Groner. He completed his B.Sc. in Environmental sciences at Tel-Hai College, and his M.Sc. in Agroecology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Tamir is working mainly on soil arthropods biodiversity and on the integrity of ecosystems in 6 LTER stations spreads along the climate gradient in Israel.


Emil Dimitrov, Ph.D

Assistant Professor at the Institute of Soil Science Agrotechnology and Plant Protection “Nikola Poushkarov”, Department of Physics, Erosion and Soil Biota

Dr. Emil Dimitrov is assistant professor at the Institute of Soil Science Agrotechnology and Plant Protection “Nikola Poushkarov”, within the Department of Physics, Erosion and Soil Biota. With a PhD Thesis in Soil Science on the Spatial-Temporal Variability of the Soil Physical Properties across the Scales, he focuses his research on agro-meteorology and digital soil mapping technique, to predict agro-ecological risks, river flows and solute movement through soils and substrates. His professional skills include soil sampling, measurement and estimation of soil physical properties or prediction of hydraulic conductivity and water retention as well as incorporating ‘softer’ morphological data along with their statistical uncertainty in order to improve predictions of agro-ecological risks provoked by soil hydrological regimes, river flows and probabilities of flood risk.


Elena Preda, Ph.D

Senior Scientist at the Research Center in Systems Ecology and Sustainability, University of Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Elena Preda is a senior researcher at The Research Center in Systems Ecology and Sustainability at the University of Bucharest, having a vast scientific expertise in the field of water quality assessment, evaluation of ecosystems functions and services and biodiversity indicators. Her research activities concern: contributions to development of new scientific and technical basis for the assessment of climate change on groundwater dependent ecosystems; litter decomposition processes in different bio-geographic regions; implementation of field experiments for understanding the main ecological processes and interactions under different pressures; involvement in environmental policy elaboration and implementation, thus supporting the decision making process.


Constantin Cazacu, Ph.D

Senior Scientist at the Research Center in Systems Ecology and Sustainability, University of Bucharest and Lecturer at the Department of Systems Ecology and Sustainability

He participated in more than 15 EU funded projects (EU Framework Programme 4 to 7) and 15 national funded projects. He coordinated the project “Spatio-temporal dynamics of the ecosystems from Braila Islands LTSER under the impact of climate change”, funded by the National Council of Scientific Research. He is also the coordinator of the Romanian partnership in ECOPOTENTIAL – Horizon 2020 project.


Cristian Mihai Adamescu, Ph.D

Head of Research Center in Systems Ecology and Sustainability, University of Bucharest
Coordinator of Braila Research Facility

Dr. Adamescu's professional interests are mainly focused on the ecology of large rivers, application of systems ecology to sustainability, sensor networks and high frequency monitoring for complex systems, dynamics and productivity of freshwater ecosystems, eutrophication and its impact, the functional role of wetlands, phytoplankton population dynamics, development of integrated management plans and biodiversity conservation options and communicating science to the public.

Vasile Turcu, Ph.D


Dr. Vasile Turcu studied physics engineering for his Bachelor, at Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca, where he developed a strong sense of understanding natural processes from an analytical perspective. After a Master degree in Water Resources Engineering, he focused on soil physics and the water and gas transport processes in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum. Soil gas exchange with the atmosphere, in particular CO2 and O2, was of particular interest during and after pursuing a PhD degree at Utah State University, with emphasis on soil CO2 measurements and modeling of soil bio-geo-chemical processes.



D A Y   O N E

Monday, April  15

08 00   Breakfast and registration 

09 00   Welcome speech (Dr. Mihai Adamescu) 

09 25   RCSES Research activities - brief history (Dr.  Mihai Adamescu)

09 45   Wetland loss in the Lower Danube River (Dr. Constantin Cazacu)

10 00   Land management - Relating soil structure and soil fertility (Dr. Nikos Nikolaidis)

11 00   Coffee break

11 15   Soil structure dynamics and Carbon sequestration modeling (Dr. Nikos Nikolaidis)

12 45   Carbon cycle and the importance of CO2 soil respiration measurements – equipments protocol and technical implications (dr. Vasile Turcu)

13 15   Procedures for soil aggregate analysis and nutrient sequestration (Dr. Emil Dimitrov and Dr. Nikos Nikolaidis)

13 45   Lunch break

14 45   Site selection for field activities and existing data presentation (Dr. Mihai Adamescu & Dr. Constantin Cazacu)

15 00   Introduction to soil arthropods and setting up the Berlese funnels (Dr. Elli Groner)

16 00   Coffee break

16 15   Using the QBS index as an indicator for soil quality (Dr. Elli Groner)

17 15   Characterizing the arthropods according to their adaptation to soil: identification exercise (Tamir Rosenberg)

18 00   Discussions

19 30   Dinner

D A Y   T W O

Tuesday, April  16

09 00   Field trip and practical applications*

19 30   Dinner

* The field activity is weather dependent. Please pack proper walking shoes, water proof jacket and a water bottle for the trip. 

Bringing your own car is advised, as we can only provide room for a limited number of participants.

D A Y   T H R E E

Wednesday, April 17

09 00   Setting up decomposition experiments. Protocols, data from previous experiments and implications for Danube floodplains (Dr. Elena Preda)

09 30   Data analysis: CO2 measurements (Dr. Vasile Turcu)

10 15   LTER &LTSER Standardisation tools (Constantin Cazacu)

10 30   Coffee break

10 45   Protected areas and Ecosystem Services in Romania. Wetland cases: Romanian floodplain – scenarios for reconstruction (Mihai Adamescu, Constantin Cazacu)

11 15   Wrap-up discussions & Closing session

Details about accommodation and meals will be provided after your participation is confirmed.


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