This week I have made a short trip to see NERC collaborator Gabriel Perron at Bard College. (Gabe visited the ECEHH last year, see here.) Bard is a small liberal arts college located in the beautiful Hudson Valley about an hour and a half north of New York City by train. Colleges like Bard do not really exist in Europe and so it was a very interesting place to visit! Scattered in the large wooded campus lie a mix of old and very modern buildings, including a concert hall (designed by Frank Gehry), art museum and small baseball stadium. The focus is on undergraduate teaching (there are about 2000 students) which is faciltated by a new state-of-the-art science building where labs, teaching labs and lecture spaces are seamlessly integrated. One of Gabe’s projects is monitoring water quality in the Saw Kill stream adjacent to the campus using molecular biology and chemistry methods. The campus has its own waste water facility, which will allow for sampling strategies that are otherwise generally not possible. (For this project, Gabe is using some of the approaches developed by Will Gaze’s group, see here.) It was great to see the students present their work, walk along the stream where they were doing their sampling (spotting a baby snapping turtle on the way) and talk about new ideas. I gave a presentation on our antimicrobial seaweed extract work (I will post on that soon btw) and the production of antimicrobials in nature was another topic that Gabe and I have been philosophizing over. On to some grant writing to extend this trans-atlantic collaboration!