Our Scientists

Lydia is a second year PhD student and marine ecologist working on research investigating the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem function and services in shallow coastal environments around the UK. 
Lydia is trying to quantify the feeding relationships amongst the species living in these shallow marine habitats to produce food webs. She is looking at changes in the structure of food webs, in particular relating to different locations, times and seasons. Lydia is using different methods to establish which species can be found in these coastal waters feed on, including gut analysis, stable isotope analysis and past reports from the literature.

Why she is participating: To me public engagement and science communication are part of my responsibility as a scientist. In 2013 I was leading a research expedition to Egypt. Science communication was an important priority and we documented our progress via a website, blog and Twitter, but also gave talks at a local primary school. The positive feedback we received encouraged my interest in science communication, and I attended a NERC Public Outreach Training Course subsequently. Only by engaging with environmental issues ourselves and leaning how to communicate them we can change our own behaviour, engage with the wider public and make a difference, however small it may be.
Please follow this link to find out more.

David is a first year PhD student at University College Dublin, Ireland. Having spent two years working as a professional ecologist, David has returned to academia in order to assess the level of impact on sensitive habitats and species in Ireland from atmospheric pollution emitted from intensive pig and poultry farms. David is currently using a range of hardware and software to monitor emissions from pig and poultry houses, which will be used to model the distribution of gases in the local environment and to assess the impact of pollutants on nearby sites designated for nature conservation. Check out the link to his project by clicking here!

 Example of scientific drawing 
portraying a carabid beetle.

In addition to nature conservation and science, David has always had a strong interest in art, having painted, drawn and sculpted from an early age. Skills developed through an early interest in art have proven valuable when drawing countless sketches of flowers and invertebrates in college, though these would not themselves be described as emotive or expressive.

Why is he participating: Having worked in an art gallery while in college, I am keenly aware of how art can be used to spread a message going beyond the aesthetically pleasing. As both a scientist and artist, it was this aspect of the Paper Makers that peaked my interest, as it focused on combining interpretations of scientific results by a team of scientists and artists to create works of art, which would highlight the impact of humans on the marine environment. A large number of scientific papers are produced each year highlighting the impact human actions have on the environment, these are seldom read by the public, using art to interpret and portray such papers makes for an exciting project within which to work.

Jen F - From learning to scuba dive at a young age Jens curiosity for the marine world has never left. Since then, she has studied marine and freshwater biology and had the chance to undertake research on many different projects from tropical coral reefs to Antarctic penguins.
Jen is currently doing a PhD student at the University of Bristol. Her project involves studying a group of deep sea fish called lanternfish, hoping to understand how they became so diverse and how their distributions might change in the future as ocean temperature increases. This work is both exciting (as deep sea evolution is poorly understood) and important. Lanternfish play a crucial role in the ocean as a food source for large marine mammals and endangered birds such as penguins.

Lanternfish have light organs across their 
bodies which may play an 
important role in their evolution
Why is she participating: I am passionate about engaging people in marine science and conservation. I have given talks at primary schools about coral reef biology, volunteered at the Glasgow Science Festival and organised Environmental Awareness Days whilst working in Tanzania.
I am thrilled to be part of the Paper Makers Team! To collaborate with artists and raise awareness about the importance of understanding our marine environment is truly exciting. I am most looking forward to learning from the artists and to see where our discussions and creativity will lead us…

Jen C  - found her passion for the oceans whilst learning to Dive on the Great Barrier Reef some years ago. Since then she made it her mission to learn more about this blue planet and will soon will be leaving the UK shores to start a PhD at James Cook University, Queensland Australia. Her research will be focusing on human impacts and the conservation and sustainable use of Great Barrier Reef, moving towards more socio-environmental research from her background of environmental modeling. Since her undergraduate degree Jen has been concerned about human impacts on our global environment, studying the effects of habitat fragmentation on predator-prey dynamics using model systems, modeling the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef community composition and investigating how climate should be incorporated into fisheries management models. Jen is also extremely passionate about marine education and outreach, having organised several large public events in her hometown of Liverpool.

Why she is participating: Several years ago I sat having a coffee with a friend, ranting and raving about how no one seems to care about our oceans. The problem seemed to be education, people just don’t know. Since then I have been hugely interested in education and raising awareness of human impacts on the marine environment. Initiatives like Paper Makers will make, often difficult to interpret, information accessible and more readily understandable. It also offers a unique chance for interdisciplinary collaboration between two powerful social forces, the sciences and the arts. How can we, as scientist, move outside the journal pages and news articles from an unbiased stance to somewhere that is more meaningful. The power of art to tell stories and evoke an emotional connection between the observer and the subject, I feel, offers just that space. It’s also an interesting experiment in its own right and I’m delighted to be a part of it.

Natasha is a marine biologist, having recently completed a Master of Research at the University of St Andrews. After studying human-environment interactions in a large number of marine ecosystems varying from polar to tropical settings, including time spent at the Great Barrier Reef, she developed a wide understanding of the current ecological issues rapidly altering our environments. Her main interests focus around investigating the consequences of ocean acidification, particularly in deep-sea ecosystems, which are often vulnerable and significantly biodiverse, yet receive little recognition by public bodies and policy makers. Her most recent research investigated the effects of the ocean’s increasing acidity upon the microstructural growth of Lophelia pertusa reefs; a deep-water coral which can live at depths exceeding 1000 m and supports over 1300 species in the North Atlantic alone. She is also  passionate about reducing the significant levels of plastic pollution currently found in the marine environment, one of the many activities that humans are impacting the Earth’s natural resources.
Scanning electron micrograph
of a Lophelia pertusa corallite

Why is she partcipating: I feel extremely privileged to be a part of a project that can communicate such issues to a wider audience, in the hope of bettering the quality of the environment and minimising our human footprint. Moreover, I’m really excited to be able to discuss such issues with fellow scientists and artists in order to produce an art piece that is both superbly original and highly informative!

Sally is a PhD student of archaeological science at Cardiff University. Her research focuses on whale remains from archaeological sites to understand our changing relationship with these species, and the wider oceans. Archaeological evidence suggests human and Neanderthal populations began to exploit cetacea long before the last ice age and since then whales have been exploited for their meat, blubber, bones and teeth.
Through analysis of the abundant whale remains found on British coastal sites Sally tracks biological and social patterns over time, exploring the exploitation of different whale species, while considering the significance of both their economic and symbolic roles in society. Sally couples modern biomolecular techniques (e.g. Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry) with zooarchaeological data, modern ecological evidence and the study of cultural remains to explore human cetacean interactions and trace the impact of whaling on cetacean biodiversity.
Whale bone comb from a late viking site

Why she is participating: My research is firmly focused on the relationship between humans and the marine environment and has at its core a concern with our impact on cetacea and by inference entire marine ecosystems. It is for this reason that I am particularly excited to work on the Paper Makers project. This will be a fantastic opportunity to see human impacts on biodiversity and ecology from different view points, to exchange ideas and create new perspectives for myself and the broader community.
I look forward to being involved in the creation of art which brings scientific research to a wider audience; to igniting interest in the issues expressed and creating a dialogue with individuals and communities normally beyond the reach of academic discourse. In particular I am excited to be part of a project which can get people thinking about how their individual steps join the steady march of human impacts upon marine ecosystems.

Valentina is an early career researcher with a background in animal behaviour and a passion for amphibians. In the past, she has worked as zoo keeper, a guide in botanical gardens and natural parks, and a science teacher. Valentina is also a translator, proof-reader and a swimming teacher.
She is currently working on a project aiming at developing a biodiversity indicator for Canada and has applied for funding to investigate long-term population trends of species listed on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Why is she partcipating: As scientist, I believe it is our responsibility to inform the public so that people can make better choices in their everyday life. And I believe that those small choices can make a big difference. I am really excited to be involved in the Paper Makers project as I think it is becoming more and more important for scientists to develop creative ideas to engage with the public. I am also looking forward to cooperate with professionals with a different background as I am sure it will help me looking at science from a new perspective.

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