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"The environmental management part of the Master's Degree in Biodiversity, Landscapes and Sustainable management has been core topic to enter The Zebra Fish Lab."

Mikel Queralt (Bio 11 and MBPGS 12) has not yet finished writing his thesis on ectomycorrhizal fungi and is already working on this one. laboratory

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Mikel Queralt
PHOTO: Courtesy
19/05/17 15:00 Laura Juampérez

At the end of doctorate, when the not so simple task of summarizing all the research done during the last 3 or 4 years is ahead of him, Mikel Queralt found an offer from employment and tried his luck.

It turns out that the knowledge acquired at Degree in Biology and at Master's Degree in Biodiversity, Landscapes and Sustainable management on management environmental and molecular biology have made the difference in the interview, and have opened the doors of laboratory The Zebra Fish Lab for him, even before he had finished doctorate.

- After the Master's Degree you started the doctorate at School. How did the postgraduate program help you to choose the topic of research?
It all started with the work end of Master's Degree. Then, together with my thesis director, we decided to go for the doctorate. The work end of Master's Degree is very useful because it allows you to enter fully into the world of research, learn how a department works and apply all the knowledge obtained, both in the Degree and in the Master's Degree, in a work of research. In addition, in our case, the work end of Master's Degree was published in a scientific journal and received aaward as the best work of research young in an international congress .

- You are about to finish writing your doctoral thesis . Could you give us a preview of its conclusions?
One of the main objectives of the thesis has been to determine the composition of the ectomycorrhizal fungal community at vegetative level (ectomycorrhizae and mycelium) in forest ecosystems with high productivity of edible fungi (black truffle and Boletus edulis). In some pine forests of Soria, with different silvicultural management , we have been able to observe which fungi resist better after logging or other disturbances. Also, during the thesis I did a doctoral stay at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment of the Western Sydney University (Australia), where I was able to characterize the functionality of mycorrhizae in plantations by means of enzymatic activity. 

- How do you consider that the Master's Degree has helped you, in addition, to get a work in the laboratory The ZebraFish Lab before finishing your thesis ?
The business The ZebraFish Lab is a start-up located in the CEIN incubators that is dedicated to the management of environmental quality through programs of study of ecotoxicity (rivers, sewage treatment plants, pesticides) using the Zebrafish as model animal.

In my case, I was lucky to find an offer from employment looking for a person with knowledge in environment and, in addition, with skills in molecular biology. Precisely the last module of Master's Degree is focused on the environmentalmanagement , both in administrations and in companies, which financial aid much to know firsthand the real status of the environmental management beyond the classroom. And that knowledge on the programs of study of environmental quality has been, I believe, core topic to differentiate me in the selection process.

- If you had to highlight three strong points of the postgraduate program, what would they be?
From the first part of the Master's Degree in Biodiversity, Landscapes and Sustainable management I would highlight the dynamism and interdisciplinarity with which it is developed and that allow you to know and understand the landscapes both from a biological and anthropic point of view.

I also really liked the module of management, as it facilitates the application of all the knowledge acquired throughout the Master's Degree and to know how companies and administration work in this field.

Finally, I would like to highlight the variety of professionals you meet, because apart from university professors, there are also strategic professionals in the sector.

- Would you recommend the Master's Degree in Biodiversity, Landscapes and Sustainable management to a graduate who wants to work in the environmental area ?
According to my own experience, whether you want to dedicate yourself to environmental management or to research, this is the ideal postgraduate program . Because of its interdisciplinary nature, the variety of experts you meet and because the work that it requires will also make you grow as a professional.