I completed my undergraduate degree in zoology at Cardiff University in 2009, and in 2011 gained a PGCE in secondary science from Canterbury Christ Church University. I subsequently worked as a science teacher and key stage leader at two schools in Kent. In 2018, after taking a year out to travel, I was inspired to pursue a change of career to focus on river ecology, conservation and education outside the classroom. I came back to the UK to join the Cardiff University Otter Project (www.cardiff.ac.uk/otter-project) and in January 2019 began a PhD. My project uses the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) as a sentinel for freshwater health, investigating the concentration of chemical contaminants, and the factors explaining temporal and spatial variation.
I am particularly interested in the impact of humans on our wildlife and the environment. My research currently focuses on how synthetic chemicals reach our waterways and the effect this has on freshwater biota.
Environmental and Anthropogenic Drivers of Contaminant Influx and Recirculation within Freshwater Systems
My PhD thesis looks at the environmental and anthropogenic drivers of contamination in freshwater systems. I will use the otter as a sentinel for freshwater contamination; determining concentrations of chemical contaminants. Specifically, I aim to analyse the temporal change of the now banned but persistent legacy contaminants PCBs, DDT, dieldrin and HCB; and the newer oil and water repelling substances (PFASs) and flame retardants (PBDEs). I will use the CUOP’s archive of otter samples to explore the drivers of temporal and spatial variation across Britain, in order to give the public and policy makers a better understanding of the issues posed by chemicals so that resources can be focused in the right areas for effective control and risk mitigation.
Supervisory team: Dr Elizabeth Chadwick (Cardiff University), Dr Frank Hailer (Cardiff University); Prof Richard Shore (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology); Graham Scholey (Environment Agency), Dr Marc Naura (River Restoration Centre).