Help Junior researchers to Symposium in Corfu!

Vera de Ruijter Start Date: May 5, 2018 - End Date: Jun 8, 2018
  • Corfu, Greece

My Travel Story

by: Vera de Ruijter Start Date: May 5, 2018 - End Date: Jun 8, 2018
Hello there! We are Vera and Vítor. We are honoured to have been invited to the 12th Panhellenic Symposium of Oceanography & Fisheries in Corfu coming June to present our research. This opportunity will enable us to contribute to the current body of knowledge required to help conserve our planet. In order to do this we need your help!

First, let us introduce ourselves:

Vera: I recently graduated from the University of Utrecht as a Marine Scientist. For the last 18 months I have devoted myself to researching Microplastics. Microplastics (< 5 mm) are ubiquitous in the marine environment and are a growing concern. Plastics have a long lifetime. However, through processes such as wave abrasion, UV radiation and microbial activity they will eventually breakdown forming microplastic particles. These particles will descend to the bottom of the aquatic environment as they aggregate with organic matter. Here they become available to small animals living on the seafloor or riverbed. Knowing this, it raises a few questions: How much of these microplastics end up at the bottom of a body of water? How well can benthic organisms, such as barnacles and worms, and living tissue such as muscles cope with this form of anthropogenic pollution? I conducted my first research project at the University of Wageningen, where I studied the effects of microplastics on freshwater ground-dwelling macroinvertebrates. I found this experience very rewarding and chose to continue this research by joining the marine conservation institute Archipelagos in Samos, Greece. As a junior researcher I investigated the occurrence and spatial distribution of microplastics and developed a cheap and easily repeatable method.

Vítor: I am a junior researcher recently graduated from the University of Madeira in Biology. For the last 2 years I have researched invasive algae in the Mediterranean Sea. Invasive species are defined as species that are not native to an ecosystem and cause harm to the environment, human health or economy. Species that grow and reproduce quickly, and spread aggressively with the potential to cause harm are labelled as ‘invasive.’ Invasive algae are rapidly outcompeting seagrass meadows in the Mediterranean Sea. Seagrass meadows are one of the most important ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea because they function as nursery grounds and stabilize nutrients and currents in the water. For these reasons, I dedicated my time studying the factors and consequences of the distribution of the most invasive algae in the Mediterranean Sea, commonly known as Grape Algae. I started studying this algae in the Canary Islands while at the University of La Laguna. After this project, I continued my research in Lipsi, Greece. Here I joined the marine conservation institute Archipelagos as a junior researcher/volunteer. I investigated the drivers behind the occurrence and spatial distribution of the Grape Algae.

Archipelagos is a non-profit and non-governmental organization committed to researching and defending the biodiversity of the Greek seas and islands, as well as the entire eastern Mediterranean. In order to successfully conserve the marine environment and raise awareness, gathering knowledge is vital. We both managed to successfully finish our research projects in Samos and Lipsi, Greece, respectively. Sharing our knowledge is as important as conducting the research itself. We are honoured and excited to have the opportunity to share our findings at the 12th Panhellenic Symposium of Oceanography & Fisheries coming June. During this three-day annual event we will be able to share and discuss our work with leading researchers in these fields, while hopefully gaining insight on how to continue and improve our research successfully.

Due to budget constraints Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation is unable to fund this trip. We have created this crowdfunding campaign with the hope that you can help us poor, but smart junior researchers fund our way to this awesome Symposium!

  • Corfu, Greece