in memoriam - Joselito Arocena (1959-2015)
Joselito (Lito) Arocena passed away on Sunday 20th December 2015, at the age of 56, a few months after he was diagnosed with cancer. He had a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Philippines-Los Baños, an MSc in Soil Science (Soil genesis and classification) from the University of Ghent (Belgium), and a PhD from the University of Alberta (Canada). He was a founding member of UN British Columbia (Canada) and became its first Canada Research Chair in 2001.
Although he was mainly a soil mineralogist, his research covered almost all fields of soil science, from unravelling the mechanisms of mineral weathering to the study of the alterations of soil properties after fire or to decipher soil-biota interactions. He also did applied research on plant nutrition, and soil pollution and remediation of mined and polluted sites. He had a strong micromorphology formation, after his MSc at the U. Ghent.
Thanks to him we can successfully apply methodologies of removal of Fe and Mn on thin sections in order to study their distribution and to unmask previous clay illuviation features.
He was an enthusiastic soil scientist and soil micromorphologist, who fostered these disciplines and demonstrated their usefulness for other fields of science, including forensic sciences, and for the well being of human kind. We can say that we lost an outstanding scientist, but above all, a very good friend and person who always had an answer and helped everybody, from undergraduate students to old professors. I will always remember his permanent smile and our e-mail chats on all subjects of life, in particular on soccer (he was a strong FC Barcelona supporter!). We will miss him in so many ways.
I want to express my sincere condolences to his loving wife and children. Rest in Peace.
By Rosa M Poch