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Ro Allen


Job title and place of work

PhD Candidate, Department of Botany, University of Otago.

What is your role in the CARIM project? What work package are you contributing to?

I have been working on the CARIM mesocosm project (RA3) to characterise the responses of microalgae, which form the basis of coastal marine food webs, to ocean acidification and warming. 

What do you do on an average work day?

An average working day is difficult to define. It could involve seawater sample collection from mesocosms, working with DNA in a molecular biology laboratory, or analysing DNA sequences and writing over a cup of coffee.   

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

Coastal environments are important regions economically, and contribute disproportionately to global primary production. As a result, the effects of acidification on coastal environments will have direct ramifications for humans.      

What study did you do at high school? And after high school?

I studied Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Spanish at A Level. I went on to complete a B.Sc. in Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology, followed by an M.Res. in Marine Biology at Plymouth University.

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

CARIM will provide understanding of coastal responses to acidification on a national level, which will help inform management strategies.

What excites you about working on this project?

CARIM is a particularly exciting project as it brings together scientists from a wide range of research fields. This creates a platform to characterise the structure and function of ecosystems in high resolution. 

Where do you think your contribution to CARIM and your experience as part of this project will lead you to?

CARIM has been an excellent opportunity to meet leading researchers and develop technical skills whilst working alongside them. I think that the relationships formed between researchers during CARIM will lead to a future of productive collaborations.