Victoria Metcalf

Job title and place of work

Scientist and science communicator, Curiosity Communications Ltd.

I also hold a separate role as National Coordinator, Participatory Science in the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor.

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

RA7 Leader, Engagement and Outreach. I manage the engagement  aspects of what we do in CARIM, including running social media platforms, this website, and working with a range of people to look at ways to share what we are doing in CARIM and help inform people about ocean acidification.

What do you do on an average work day?

Research new popular media and scientific outputs as well as current CARIM happenings that I can share via our CARIM social media channels. This is so that people have a better understanding of ocean acidification and other ocean threats, and how CARIM is working towards better scientific understanding. I also work on website content, by collating and writing about material I've been provided from members of our CARIM team to share the work we are doing in an easy to understand manner. I also solicit new material for the website and social media from our team.

I think about ways to generate other content (e.g. material for schools) on what we are doing and work with others to create that content.

Why is studying coastal acidification important?

Ocean acidification is a major threat for our marine ecosystems. Coastal acidification has been little studied, but due to its connection to what happens in land environments and as a place where important marine species live requires much better understanding. Our coastal species are likely to be impacted by coastal acidification, so it's important to learn much more about rates and consequences.

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

Biology, Chemistry, English, Latin and Maths. After High School I decided to study Sciences at university and discovered genetics and biochemistry and was mesmerised. I did a BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry and then went on a fabulous journey to do a PhD on the molecular evolution of a major blood protein on a whole range of species, including Antarctic fish.

I secured a scholarship to Antarctica near the end of my PhD, which gave me a month on an eco-tourism ship. That led to years of research, mainly on Antarctic fish and shellfish, including ocean acidification research. And alongside that a growing interest in science communication and public engagement.

What outcomes from CARIM do you think there will be?

I think that we will make a tangible difference to understanding of ocean acidification and management of it as a threat, both within New Zealand and internationally. In addition, there will be much greater awareness of ocean acidification across New Zealanders.

Hopefully the outcomes will also include identifying adaptation possibilities within our target species. 

What excites you about working on this project?

The ocean acidification research community in New Zealand is a highly collaborative group of people, good at all doing their part to contribute to a large research project. I really enjoy working with this team and aiding them in sharing their results more broadly.

This is an important and worthwhile project to be contributing to, and its multidisciplinary approach is one of its strengths.