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Dr Aditee Mitra

Dr Aditee Mitra

Research Fellow

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Email
mitraa2@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 76828
Campuses
Room 1.37, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a botanist by first degree, an ecologist by virtue of my MSc degree and a systems dynamics modeller of plankton ecophysiology via my PhD and research activities. My background allows me to interface with a wide science base both for research and teaching.

I have a keen interest in working at the interface of science, governance and the public. Thus, I have worked as Managing Editor for the Journal of Plankton Research (Oxford University Press), as Climate Change Research Consultant on a WLGA funded project, as Biodiversity Officer for Bridgend County Borough Council, as a British Science Association Media Fellow with BBC Countryfile.

More recently, in research, I have been a key driver of the new mixoplankton-centric paradigm in marine ecology championing the cause of nature’s “Perfect Beasts”. I authored a Scientific American article on the Perfect Beast (March 2018). This was selected for the Scientific American Revolutions in Science Special Issue (July 2018) as one of the “13 discoveries that could change everything”. This article has also been translated into French and German.

Biography

EDUCATION

  • PGCertHE (2018) Distinction. Swansea University, Wales
  • PhD (2006) Zooplankton Growth Dynamics: A Modelling Study. Open University, based at Scottish Association for Marine Science Oban, Scotland. 
  • MSc (1999) Ecosystems Analysis and Governance. Warwick University. Dissertation: “Modelling conservation of species through vaccination”. 
  • BSc Botany Hons. (1998) First Class; Allied subjects: Chemistry, Zoology, English First Division, Presidency College, Calcutta University, Kolkata, India 

Honours and awards

  • Yuva Rattan Award, NRI Welfare Society India (2020) 
  • Visiting Professorship, Ecology of Aquatic Systems Group, Université Libre de Bruxelles (2018 – )
  • Visiting Fellowship, University of Technology Sydney, Australia (December 2019)
  • British Science Association Media Fellow at BBC Countryfile, Bristol, UK (2014-2015)
  • Welsh Crucible participant (2012)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA

Academic positions

  • 2018 – 2019  Senior Lecturer Research, Biosciences, Swansea University, Wales UK
  • 2017 – 2015  Lecturer Research, Biosciences, Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • 2011 – 2014  Plankton Systems Dynamics Modeller FP7 project “EuroBasin”, Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • 2010 – 2011  Algal BioFuels Modeller on Carbon Trust funded project based at Swansea University, Wales, UK
  • 2008 – 2010  Review of Consents Officer and Biodiversity Officer, Bridgend County Borough Council
  • 2008              Climate Change Research Consultant, Welsh Local Government Association funded project
  • 2007 – 2005  Managing Editor of the Journal of Plankton Research. Oxford University Press, UK.
  • 2006 – 2004  NERC UK RA, Quantifying & modelling growth efficiency in zooplankton. Swansea University, UK
  • 2000 – 2002  NERC-UK RA, Biological modeller; NERC special topic “Marine Productivity”. The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Oban, Scotland, UK

Speaking engagements

  • Invited Seminar: Living with the “Perfect Beast”; challenges for modelling mixoplankton. Jadavpur University, India (2020)
  • Invited Seminar: Why plankton modellers should reconsider using the rectangular hyperbolic descriptions of predator-prey interactions. Indian Statistical Institute, India (2020)
  • Invited Seminar: Living with the “Perfect Beast”; challenges of modelling mixoplankton. University of Technology Sydney, Australia (2019)
  • Invited Special Symposium: Living with the Perfect Beast, ISOP-ECOP, Rome, Italy (2019)
  • Selected mini-symposium: Plankton Dynamics, Mathematical Models in Ecology & Evolution, Lyon, France (2019)
  • Invited Seminar: The Perfect Beast & the New Paradigm in Marine Ecology. University of York, UK (2018)
  • Invited Lecturer: Bridging Methods in Marine Science: From Lab to Models, Hjort Summer School, Hjort, Norway (2017)
  • Invited speaker: Recent advances in modelling plankton ecosystems. Mathematical Models in Ecology & Evolution Conference, City University of London, UK (2016)
  • Invited Lecturer: Microbial Oceanography Complexity vs Simplicity in Microbial Ecology. Hjort Summer School, Hjort, Norway (2016)
  • Selected Workshop Convenor: Paradigm shift in plankton ecology: the central role of mixotrophic protists. IMBER OSC, Bergen, Norway (2014) 
  • Oral presentation: The rise and dominance of mixotrophic protists in a changing world; redefining the functionality of the biological and microbial carbon pumps. IMBER IMBIZO III, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India (2013)
  • Invited Rapporteur: EuroBASIN EU-US Synthesis Workshop, Lisbon, Portugal (2012)
  • Invited Research seminar: Eat to live or live to eat… impacts of food quality & quantity in marine systems. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Australia (2007)
  • Invited Rapporteur: Parameterisation of Trophic Interactions in Ecosystem Modelling. EUR-Oceans, Cadiz, Spain (2007)
  • Invited Seminar: Impacts of food quality and quantity on zooplankton models. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK (2006)
  • Invited Keynote: How not to model flow of carbon through planktonic predator prey models. OCB workshop, Woods Hole, USA (2006)
  • Invited Seminar: To eat or not to eat… impacts of prey quality & quantity on zooplankton in models. Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Copenhagen, Denmark. (2006)
  • Oral presentation: Impact of food quality and gut passage time on predation kinetics. 10th International Copepoda Conference, Hammamet, Tunisia (2005)
  • Oral presentation: Formation of harmful algal blooms through predatory activity. GEOHAB, Baltimore, USA (2005)
  • Oral presentation: Models of Pelagic Micro-/ Meso- Zooplankton for Placement within Multinutrient Marine Food Web Simulators GLOBEC, Qingdao, China (2002)

Committees and reviewing

  • Grant reviewer; EC-H2020, NERC UK, BBSRC UK, NSF USA, Danish Research Council, Austrian Research Council. 
  • Journal reviewer, various including Ecology Letters, Limnology and Oceanography, Journal of Plankton Research, Biogeosciences  
  • Managing Editor, Journal of Plankton Research, Oxford University Press (2005-2007)

Publications

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2010

2009

2007

2006

2005

2003

I am a marine plankton ecologist. My research can be broadly classified into the following categories:

  • Stoichiometric ecology (C,N,P flows in ecology) with an emphasis on exploring the interactions of food (prey) quality and quantity on consumer growth and thence on trophic dynamics and biogeochemistry.
  • Marine Systems Dynamics with a focus on the major drivers of life in the oceans that cover 2/3rds of our planet – namely the protist plankton.

I have been involved in various projects funded through the EU FP7 programme (e.g., Euro-BASIN), by Leverhulme Trust and RCUK investigating a variety of issues ranging from sustainable use of water to the impact of human behaviour on the global oceans. 

More recently I have been a key driver of the new mixoplankton-centric paradigm in marine ecology, which rewrites over 100 years of understanding of marine ecology. This highlights the importance of the microbial planktonic “Perfect Beasts” that photosynthesize (contributing to ca. 50% of the oxygen we breath) and also eat in the one cell. I authored a Scientific American article on the Perfect Beast (March 2018). This was then selected for the Scientific American Revolutions in Science Special Issue (July 2018) as one of “13 discoveries that could change everything”. This article has since been translated into French and German.

Current grants:

MixITiN: I am the Project Coordinator of the €2.88 H2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Innovative Training Network MixITiN. This 4 year project which started in October 2017 is training an innovative team of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to develop new methodologies for researching, monitoring and managing our marine environment according to the recently revised paradigm for marine pelagic production. MixITiN brings together world-class European research and training centres from 9 different countries, with skillsets from molecular biology, physiology and computer modelling, to marine and coastal zone management, public and media engagement.

MixoHUB: I am the project lead on the Welsh Government funded Sêr Cymru Capacity Building Accelerator Award entitled “Living with the Perfect Beast; establishing MixoHUB, a centre of excellence for mixoplankton research in Wales”. My vision is to build and establish MixoHUB as a dynamic cross-disciplinary research group of international excellence based in Cardiff University. Through establishment of a unique and impactful research group, for combined empirical and in silico research on the new mixoplankton paradigm, this project will develop national and international capability at Cardiff University, in a globally important arena. This 3 year £0.5 M project started in June 2020 and will employ two post-doctoral level researchers and also support procurement of equipment to enable establishment of the MixoHUB.

Microbial Carbon Pump (MCP): I am a co-Investigator on a NERC-UK funded Microbial Carbon Pump project. This project led by Dr Luca Polimene will conduct laboratory experiments to provide the physiological information and understanding needed to develop the first ever model describing the MCP and its relationship with nutrient concentrations and temperature. This will be the first critical step towards the simulation of the MCP in present and future oceans. The project brings together a multidisciplinary team of internationally recognised scientists, from chemical analysts to system biology and ecosystem modellers. 

Supervision

  • Mixoplankton Ecophysiology 
  • Marine Systems Dynamics Modelling
  • Plankton Predator-Prey Dynamics

Past projects

  • Co-supervisor (50%) Dr Suzana Gonçalves Leles; Brazil Science-Without-Borders funded PhD studentship, Swansea University (PhD awarded 2019)
  • External advisor (6%) to Michelle Lin, PhD student of Prof Patricia Glibert at Horn Point Laboratory, USA (PhD awarded 2018)
  • External advisor (6%) to Caroline Ghyoot, PhD student of Prof Nathalie Gypens and Prof Christiane Lancelot at Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium (PhD awarded 2015)

Impact

  • Guest presenter in The Welsh Coast Series 2, Pwll to Kidwelly episode in Weatherman Walking; first screened on 3 April 2020 on BBC One Wales.
  • ITV Newsweek Wales Contributor, studio interview to talk about uptake of STEM subjects by girls in schools (broadcast October 2017)
  • Radio Wales' BBC Science Café, Contributor discussing the importance of mixotrophs in oceans in the episode entitled "Shipwrecks and microscopic bodysnatchers" (broadcast September 2017).
  • Participant in video for WISE Celebration of Talented Women in Wales (March 2017)
  • Invited Media Panel Member at Welsh Crucible Lab 1 (May 2017, 2016 & 2015)
  • Participant in launch video of the report on “Talented Women for a Successful Wales” (March 2016).
  • Invited Panel Member on “Women in Academia in Wales” at the University of South Wales’s International Women’s Day 2016 Celebration; event funded by the Learned Society of Wales (March 2016).
  • British Science Association Media Fellow (2014-2015); media host: BBC Countryfile, Bristol.
  • Welsh Crucible participant (2012)
  • STEM Ambassador (2012 - present) Delivered various outreach and public engagement activities to a wide audience range from primary school children (5+ years old) to adults in the UK and abroad; conducted mock job interviews for 16+ yr olds; coached junior school pupils to participate in Lego league competetion.