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From plankton to policy in the polar oceans: The role of science in mitigating climate change

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Abstract Understanding the uptake of carbon in the ocean is vital for our climate, yet the question is, how much do we need to know? In this talk, I’ll explain the importance of ocean biology in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with a particular focus on Antarctic krill, and why their poo matters. I’ll discuss the importance of this work, but also question what level of detail we need in order to make informed policy decisions. I’ll give some examples of how science at British Antarctic Survey has informed policy, including the success of the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer leading to the Montreal Protocol. The hope of the talk being to spark some interesting discussion amongst the group about the role of science in policy.

Bio I studied an undergraduate degree in Oceanography at the University of Southampton, taking the opportunity to do a study year abroad at the University of Washington in Seattle in the USA . After spending a couple of years working in South Wales as an oceanographic surveyor, I returned to the University of Southampton to do a PhD, studying the flux of carbon in the deep ocean, particularly in the region of South Georgia, Antarctica. I’ve spent the last few years working at British Antarctic Survey as a post-doc researcher, and have just started another 2 year post. Here I work as an Ecological Biogeochemist looking at the role of biology in the transfer of carbon from the atmosphere to the deep sea. I’m particularly interested in krill and krill swarms, and for the next couple of years I will be involved with the long term monitoring site we have in the Scotia Sea.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Sciences Group series.

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