Hi, my name is Dr Anrich Kock and I am a diatom hunter! If I am not spending my days with a toothbrush in hand next to a river or wetland, I am most probably observing beautiful diatom communities through the lenses of a microscope. At times I may not be their most favourite person to see in the morning as I can make their environment quite uncomfortable, due to my mad scientist experiments on them with my ecotoxicology research. But all in all we have a great relationship.


At my home laboratory (North-West University, South Arica), I have had many diatom friends visit me from rivers, wetlands, and lakes from across the country. We spend hours and days on end talking, were they share their stories with me on the joys and threats of their homes. I have learned so much from them and their preferences for certain environmental conditions, past and present. They are also great assistants, helping me teach students about the aquatic environment and their role in ecology, biodiversity, the food web, as well as the negative impacts that we as humans have on them and their homes through our activities.


When I need a small break from my diatoms friends I usually spend my time reading, enjoying the outdoors and sometimes doing stupid stuff like jumping out of an airplane or of a bridge. I really enjoy nature and have thus organised numerous river cleaning events or fundraisers for our local animal shelter. However, the most fun activity is spending time with friends and family having a braai (barbeque) and playing some board games.


I am extremely grateful to be elected as your new early career representative and can’t wait working with everyone, sharing ideas and building new friendships. We have a lot of fun and interesting ideas that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Also feel free to get in contact (youngdiatomists@gmail.com) if you have any ideas for workshops, together (in person or virtually) or questions. Join our mailing list (youngdiatomists@googlegroups.com) and follow us on Twitter (@young_isdr) and Facebook (Diatomi discipuli) to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates.


Best wishes,