Antarctic Adventurer: Polar Plankton Nerd
Research Assistant, Marine Biology and Antarctic Ecosystems
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies,
University of Tasmania
To me, science is just measurable magic. A wave will break, seaweed will grow, a fish will glow in the dark! All without the help of humans! So, into the ocean of science I went!
In my early days of studying, I was interested in whales, dolphins, and sharks, what we like to call ‘charismatic megafauna’ (big and interesting animals). It was not until a little later I started looking at the ocean as a bigger picture. I became particularly interested in the effects of climate change on marine species and how learning about nature on holidays and chatting to people about science can help with marine conservation.
With an obsession with the cold, I moved to Tasmania of course! During my masters I visited the north of Japan to study sea ice algae, to New Zealand and Antarctica to take part in a multi-disciplinary Antarctic course (learning everything from Antarctic poetry, politics, and penguins!) and to Ningaloo Reef where I researched how currents and plankton may affect the annual whale shark aggregation. I still have a love for the charismatic megafauna, but I have a newfound appreciation for the small stuff. Plankton! Without them the ocean would be a dire place! From forming the base of the oceanic food chain to helping us humans breathe air, they are such cool little critters!
I now spend my time researching sub-Antarctic zooplankton and when I am not over a microscope or below the waves, I work as an expedition guide that travels around the waters of Australia and Antarctica enthusiastically interpreting and describing the area’s natural landscapes and wildlife. I am an avid science storyteller and Antarctic obsessed. You can often find me at the beach in Tasmania, any time of year, preferably in winter because it reminds me just how connected Tassie is to Antarctica! I encourage you to have a think about how close science really is to magic, and I can’t wait to share my magical science stories with you!