There’s nothing like experiencing nature in real time to set learning in motion.
Going on field trips and doing voluntary lab work are great ways to unearth the area of science that best sparks your interest, says University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Associate Professor Martina Doblin. Martina (bottom right) leads the Productive Coasts research program at UTS Science, looking at the effects of warming oceans and how this will influence coastal systems and their productivity.
She led a research expedition on CSIRO’s state-of-the-art marine science vessel RV Investigator in 2016, where the researchers spent three days drifting in the East Australian Current, mapping changes in ocean microbe composition within the current.
“This was the first time anyone had documented microbes along this journey in an experiment,” says Martina.
One of Martina’s PhD students, Charlotte Robinson (top right), has always been curious to know more about the natural world. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at UTS and is now looking at the influence of light on the distribution of ocean microbes.
In July 2016, Charlotte took part in a marine science voyage from Fiji to Hobart investigating microbes and how they respond to increases in ocean surface temperature. “It was a great opportunity to witness what I was studying in real time,” she says.
Charlotte has also dabbled in electronics, statistical modelling and satellite data to map biological processes in the oceans. “My latest challenge is learning the programming language Python to process the satellite data – and I’m loving it!”
Martina recommends that students see what opportunities are available to them as early as possible. “Be inquisitive and curious, and make connections early.”
– Laura Boness