Antarctic Flags, 2019-2020
Prior to my PhD I studied for a BSc in animal science and an MSc in animal behaviour in which I studied intra-specific aggression within resident killer whale social systems. Moving my research towards plastics in the Polar Regions, my PhD focuses on the individual impact of nanoplastic, plus the synergistic impact of both nanoplastic and ocean acidification on key zooplankton species of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
Entering the second year of my PhD, I aim to assess physiological responses of zooplankton to these anthropogenic stressors and explore how responses are influenced by nanoplastic type i.e. surface charges and polymer type. As well as toxicological experiments, my PhD focuses on assessing levels of nanoplastic in-situ in the Southern Ocean with samples both from the water column and sea ice.
Luckily, my research has taken me on a Southern Ocean expedition, mainly around South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and in-between data collection and running experiments I was fortunate enough to see some of the amazing Antarctic wildlife! I’ll be heading back there this season giving me the opportunity to fly some of this year’s Antarctic flag entries.