Qualification: BSc Honours Marine Biology
Current position: Marine Biology Research Assistant, British Antarctic Survey
My undergraduate degree, with a wide-range of topics and enthusiastic lecturers, gave me an excellent basis to my understanding of marine biology and after graduating from Portsmouth with a 2:1 in Marine Biology I was inspired to pursue my love of marine biology. I went on to do an MSc in Marine Environmental Protection at the University of Bangor and then spent a year as a field studies instructor for 3D Education and Adventure in Weymouth.
In 2002 I went to work for Marine Team of the Environment Agency, becoming a marine survey officer based on one of four marine survey boats. I lived on the boat during the week, conducting oceanographic surveys, collecting water samples and assessing fish and benthic communities along the Northwest coast. The job was challenging, varied and thoroughly enjoyable.
In 2006 I was successful in my application for the post of Marine Biology Research Assistant for the British Antarctic Survey. This is a 2½-year post based entirely at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. I am responsible for maintaining the Rothera Oceanographic and Biological Time-Series (RaTS). Oceanographic measurements are taken throughout the year using CTD (which records conductivity, temperature and depth) and associated fluorometer and PAR sensor. Biological and chemical parameters e.g. chlorophyll and macronutrients are measured in the laboratory on base. In addition, water and ice samples are treated and returned to the UK for further analysis where necessary.
Scuba diving has been a hobby of mine for many years; I was an active member of the University of Portsmouth Sub-Aqua Club and was able to undertake a scientific diving module as part of my BSc degree. This is very beneficial in my current position as we regularly dive for specimens, underwater surveys and photography. In the winter we are privileged in being able to dive under the ice.
During the summer I can be called upon to spend a week or more in the field assisting with refuelling planes, digging up drums of fuel, providing weather observations for the aircraft and generally assisting with the deployment of scientific field operations. This is an excellent opportunity to visit more remote areas of the continent via small twin-otter aircraft. In my spare time we are able to get off base to go snowboarding, skiing, climbing or seek out local wildlife (penguins, seals and the occasional whale). It is an extremely rewarding job and an amazing place to live and work.
For more information on job opportunities and the work conducted by the British Antarctic Survey visit their website at www.bas.ac.uk