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Photo: Anya Freeman © 2020

Plankton in The River Thames

Sep 2014 - 2019

During my research in the chemistry of lake/river eutrophication, I understood how dissolved oxygen, silicon, phosphorus, forms of nitrogen and chlorophyll can indicate trophic changes in aquatic ecosystems, but there was a missing link! Life. Organisms. What were they doing when the environment was changing. In 2014, I started a PhD at the University of Reading and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology studying plankton ecology in the River Thames on a catchment scale.


Plankton identification

  • Freshwater zoopkankton (rotifers, microcrustaceans, heterotrophic protists, insect larvae)

  • Freshwater phytoplankton (diatoms, chlorophytes, chrysophytes, cryptophytes dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria)

  • Compound light (inverted/upright), digital and stereo microscopy,

  • Experience of FlowCam

  • Experience of confocal, electron microscopy.

  • DNA extraction. PCR.

Data analysis

  • Programming in Python (advanced) and R (advanced)

  • Data quality control,

  • Exploratory and standard analysis,

  • Interpretation of results,

  • Data limitation assessment.

Research and Communication

  • Organised and delivered my own research projects and worked as part of the bigger group.

  • Confidently work with large numerical datasets (e.g. climate, hydrological, ecological, water chemistry)

  • Actively participating in public engagement activities (Pint of Science presenter, BeesNeeds 2018)

  • Presenting research projects at national and international seminars.
    Won several awards for best oral and poster presentations.

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