Welcome to the family?

You know what? When I was a kid I wanted to be Indiana Jones.

Well, I changed my mind when I turned into a teenage (history lessons were too boring) and decided that I will be a rock star. In the meantime, I discovered rock’n’roll with a life changing experience listening to “High Voltage” from ACDC. The second track of this fantastic album released in 1976, “rock’n’roll singer” was really inspiring:


Sam Dupont capturing a sea urchin larvae microscope picture. Photo: Maike Nicolai, GEOMAR

My Daddy was workin’ nine to five
When my Momma was havin’ me
By the time I was half alive
I knew what I was gonna be
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll singer
Gonna be a rock ‘n’ roll star”

But it did not work so well. I practiced a lot on my electric guitar, even give it a try in a band (kids, do not drink and play !!!) to realize that I had no talent and no chance in the music business.

Today, I am a marine biologist.

What’s wrong with me???

Actually, it is not so bad. I am closer to my original “Indiana Jones” goal. I am travelling the world, explore the unexplored, try to unravel the mysteries of life.

So I’ll never be a rock star but today is a good day for my ego. Together with Hans Pörtner of the AWI, we have a comment paper published in Nature continuing the fight to promote ocean acidification science: “Get ready for ocean acidification”

Of course, I am happy (if you see me today, it is likely that I’ll have a stupid smile on my face) but on the other hand this is not something that I am particularly proud of. It is easy to have an opinion (and I do have opinions, you can ask my wife), it is good to take the opportunity to fight for the cause but what really make a difference is the science.

On the other hand, I am extremely proud to have been involved into the KOSMOS mesocosm experiment, even if it was as an outsider.

As a matter of fact, in the same issue of Nature, the Kristineberg mesocosm campaign is beautifully highlighted in the News: “Floating tubes test sea-life sensitivity, Ocean labs probe effects of ocean acidification on ecosystems”

Thanks to the KOSMOS team, I have collected a unique dataset. We confirmed some of the effects observed in the laboratory (larval development is delayed when exposed to ocean acidification but are less picky regarding where to metamorphose into a juvenile). We also had some unexpected effects that opened a world of new questions and opportunities and we are now performing side experiments to understand the mechanisms.

This is Science-with-a-big-S. This is what I would like to publish in Nature (but more likely will publish in an average journal). This is what I am proud of. But more importantly, I hope that I passed the first test and will be part of the KOSMOS family.

By Sam Dupont