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Francesca Bulian (ESR 1) – Universidad de Salamanca (Spain)

Hola! I was born in Croatia in a city on the Adriatic Sea, consequently I grew to be fascinated by all the mysteries that the deep blue ocean holds. I choose my path accordingly and I dedicated my studies to marine geology and micropaleontology. Currently I am studying Foraminifera, small shelled organisms that can be found in marine environments from the present and past. With their help I will try to better understand the connectivity between the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean during the Messinian Salinity Crises.

Hanneke Heida (ESR 2) – IJA-CSIC Barcelona (Spain)

Hola! My name is Hanneke Heida, based at ICTJA-CSIC in Barcelona. I am working on modelling the isostatic motions that occurred as a result of loading by evaporites and sediment in the Mediterranean. The goal is reconstructing the geometry of the basin during the Messinian Salinity Crisis and providing insight into the driving mechanisms and progression of the crisis. I’m a big fan of the outdoors and baking.

Fadl Raad (ESR3) – Université de Montpellier (France)

Salut!! My name is Fadl, born and grown up in Baalbeck, a small city in Lebanon. Currently I’m living in Montpellier (France), employed by CNRS and working in the University of Montpellier.My work will focus on the Messinian Salinity Crisis deposits in the Balearic Promontory, aiming to reconstruct the architecture and history since the formation of the Mediterranean Salt Giant there.For this research, i will be applying multi-disciplinary approaches.I am a sport lover in general and football in particular. Mountaineering is my second obsession.

Athina Tzevahirtzian (ESR 4)- University of Palermo (Italy)

Passionate about our Blue Planet, I studied Physical Geography. I quickly ended up in Oceanography specializing myself in Sedimentology and Paleoceanography, in order to explore the deep seas. From the Bahamas Bank to the Comorian islands, I decided to land back to my beloved Mediterranean Sea. The objective of my work is to better understand the evolution of the Mediterranean Sea to the Messinian Salinity Crisis, and therefore the geodynamic evolution of the Sicilian Basin. Besides Science, I love hiking and African dancing, and I enjoy the good food.

Federico Andreeto (ESR 5) – Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Grew up in a small city of northern Italy between sea and mountains, I decided to deepen the mysteries of nature. After 5 years of Geological Sciences in Turin, I moved to Utrecht, where I will try to figure out the Lago Mare conundrum, the final phase of the MSC when is inferred that the Mediterranean turned into a big brackish lake. I am a lover of mountain walks, spearfishing and sport in general.

Laetitia Guibourdenche (ESR 6) – Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (France)

Native from Marseille in France, I grew up in front of the Mediterranean sea and never expected that this big paisible salty swimming pool could lead to so much debates in the scientific community. I will try to understand how is it possible that so much gypsum could have precipitate in apparently non saline marginal basins. And to answer this mysterious question, I will use my favorite tool as a geochimist : Isotopes !

Ronja Ebner (ESR 7) – Utrecht University (Netherlands)

I grew up in beautiful Frankonia and only saw open, majestic waters once a year. When I was 16 I stumbled over a mind-boggling red folder, that explained how dull the life as a Oceanographer sometimes could be. I was amazed! Now I am using computer models to understand processes in the very old Mediterranean. I am following my path!

Simon Rouwendaal (ESR 8) – Universitat Hamburg (Germany)

Ever since I was young, I have looked up to the night’s sky in awe and wonder. Who will go to Mars, or the Moon? Certainly geologists, cause rocks are the history book of a planet. So now I look at rocks who tell me how microbes used Messinian salt rocks to live in an environment without oxygen. Could microbes maybe have lived this way on Mars too?

Maria Magliulo (ESR 9) – University of Essex (United Kingdom)

What is the secret of life? This question led me to a graduate career in Molecular Biology. Each trace of evolutionary processes found in the DNA made me realize that to satisfy my scientific curiosity I would have needed to “zoom out” from this “micro” perspective, so I improved my studies in Microbial Ecology. Microbes are awesome on at least three counts: first life form to have originated, biogeochemical machines and inhabitants of extreme environments. From Naples to UK to work with immortal-salt-lover microbes. I’m looking for the secret of halophiles’ longevity entombed in halites, and examine through this lens salt deposits on Mars: here, any salt crystals could preserve or record the existence of life – as we know it.
On my free time I play piano and ukulele. 

Simon Blondel (ESR 10) – Instituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Esperimentale (Trieste, Italy)

Born in France, I spent most of my childhood in Haute-Savoie. Mountain lover, I studied geology at the UniLaSalle engineering shool in Beauvais (FR), before joining the IDEA LEAGUE Applied Geophysics Programme (TU Delft, ETH Zürich, RWTH Aachen) in 2015. After a year working as a GIS & data coordinator for TOTAL in Pau, I am excited and honoured to join the SALTGIANT ETN Fellowship. Any place in the world is good for me as long as it is close to the mountains, where I can enjoy skiing during the winter, while climbing and hiking during the summer.

Jimmy Moneron (ESR 11) – Geological Survey of Israel (Israel)

Originally from Dijon in France, I always wanted to explore the unknown,  to discover new things and solve scientific unanswered questions. After studying in Tromsø, Bergen and Paris, I finally ended up in Israel to embark on a new scientific adventure which is to decipher salt deformation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The main rationale of this project is to understand the general salt giant dynamics and tectonic activity during the last six million years, which is essential for a meaningful assessment of the mechanisms involved in the context of the Messinian Salinity Crisis and its aftermath.

Michael Dale (ESR 12) – National Oceanography Centre (United Kingdom)

Gaia Travan (ESR 13) – CNRS (Lille, France)

Salut! I was born in Trieste, an italian coastal city at the border with Slovenia. The love for geology was in my name, the love for geophysics began during my first survey on a research vessel. I’m currently living in Lille, studying the salt tectonics linked to the presence of the Messinian Salinity Crisis deposits. The seismic data, together with the analogue modelling, will help me to reach my goals!My passions, together with the geology, are climbing mountains and taking pictures.

Mariam Attala (ESR 14) – Science Po (Paris, France)

Beatriz M. Rius (ESR 15) – Sorbonne Université (Paris, France)

I’ve always lived in close contact with the Mediterranean Sea. Curious about marine sciences, I studied Environmental Biology, but then I changed my path to the History of Science. My goal in the project will be to write the history of this impassioned scientific debate around the Messinian Salinity Crisis, relating it with its context during the Cold War period. Besides History, I love sailing and water sports.

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