Meet the Team 

Laura Taylor

  • Please introduce yourself.

I’m Laura Taylor, a PhD student at BAS working on Southern Ocean biogeochemistry. My work involves exploring the interactions between the carbon and silica cycles across Southern Ocean environments, particularly in relation to different sources of nutrient input to the ocean from ice. Before starting my PhD and joining BIOPOLE, I completed my undergraduate and masters degrees at UEA

  • What do you do within BIOPOLE?  

Within BIOPOLE, I am in work packages 1 and 2, with the majority of my PhD work being included in these areas. My main contribution to the project so far has been organising the biogeochemical cycling on the Southern Ocean BIOPOLE I cruise, where I coordinated a group of PhD students to collect samples across 12 parameters as we completed a transect from the open ocean into the sea ice. 

  • What have you enjoyed about BIOPOLE so far? 

So far, the cruise has been a massive highlight, but I have also really enjoyed being a part of the BIOPOLE community, especially the ECR Network which is a brilliant space for getting to know researchers in other areas. 

  • Tell us about a skill or trait unique to you that you would like to share? 

I’m not sure I have any particularly unique traits, but when I’m not doing science I love to go scuba diving as much as I can (although less in landlocked Cambridge), finding good local coffee, and gardening. 

Laura Taylor from British Antarctic Survey 

Launching the BIOPOLE Mentoring Scheme

The BIOPOLE mentoring scheme is ready to launch and aims to support BIOPOLE’s Early Career Researchers (ECRs) with their academic progression and/or professional development.

Academics who have been mentored are more likely to be promoted, demonstrate increased self-efficacy in teaching and research and obtain more grant income (Shellock et al. 2023). Mentoring was also highlighted as a key strategy for retaining women ECRs in academia and forging a path for women to take up leadership positions (Shellock et al. 2023). It has also been highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed opportunities for ECRs and mentoring is one way to expand skills and networks that were more challenging to develop throughout the pandemic (Fisher et al. 2021). This was part of the motivation for starting the BIOPOLE mentoring scheme as well as to provide an opportunity for ECRs to engage with mentors outside of their home institution and subject-specific networks to experience different perspectives on their career development and trajectories.

The BIOPOLE mentoring scheme is open to all BIOPOLE’s ECRs (self-defining) and will be coordinated by the BIOPOLE ECR network and the Executive Board. We are very keen to engage BIOPOLE stakeholders in the mentoring scheme, both to act as mentors or for stakeholders ECRs to engage as a mentee. We are also in the process of connecting to other broader mentoring schemes – watch this space!

The mentoring scheme will be flexible depending on the aim(s) that the mentee would like to work towards and we advise that during the first meeting the mentor and mentee agree the frequency of meetings, the aim(s) to focus on and the length of the mentoring period. We suggest a minimum of a 3 month mentoring period. We are encouraging mentees to develop an initial aim to allow for a good match to a mentor and this can be revised during the first mentoring meeting. The mentee should be proactive in the process, such as scheduling meetings and setting an agenda. The meetings can be held virtually or in person depending on the locations of the mentor/mentee. If it is found that the mentoring isn’t working for either party then the mentoring period can be ended early. In contrast, if the mentorship has been beneficial the mentor and mentee can agree to extend the mentoring period either formally and informally. There are three documents prepared that include further guidance, a form to complete at the beginning of a mentoring period and a feedback form to complete at the end of the formal mentoring period.

We are hoping for the BIOPOLE mentoring scheme to be a great success and a memorable achievement of the project! If you would like to sign up as a mentor or mentee and/or would like to access the BIOPOLE mentoring scheme documents please get in touch with the BIOPOLE ECR representative (2023-24) Chelsey Baker at

The authors of the blog – Chelsey Baker (National Oceanography Centre) and Amy Swiggs (Northumbria University)


Amy Swiggs

I am a PhD researcher with the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds. I’m also the BIOPOLE ECR Representative for 2022-2023. 

In my PhD I use satellites to study trends in Arctic sea ice thickness, and investigate how these changes will impact climate, ecosystems, and the economy. In particular I use satellite altimetry to measure the elevation of sea ice, which can be converted to estimates of sea ice thickness. In BIOPOLE, my role is to provide sea ice data and particularly sea ice thickness estimates. Currently I also represent the ECRs on the Executive Board and help to maximise engagement with BIOPOLE ECRs. 

Outside of my PhD, I love scuba diving and am always trying to save up for my next trip! I’m originally from Southwest England but have loved living in Yorkshire for the past 5 years, having done my undergraduate and master’s degrees in Sheffield. Living so close to the Peak District has really developed my love for hiking and I go as often as I can.

Chelsey Baker

I am an early career researcher working in the Marine Systems Modelling group at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. I have a background in observational marine biogeochemistry and switched to marine biogeochemical modelling after my PhD. My main interests are focused on the global carbon cycle, with a specialist interest in the Southern Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, and long-term carbon sequestration and how it may shift under future climatic changes. My research within the BIOPOLE project is focused on three main strands: 

  1. Analysing IPCC class models to investigate how primary production and nutrient fluxes from the polar regions changes in future centuries. 
  2. Undertaking high-resolution particle-tracking model simulations to determine how nutrient pathways might change out to 2100.    
  3. Undertaking high-resolution particle-tracking model simulations to determine the fate of carbon transported by the seasonal migration of high-latitude zooplankton to the interior ocean.  

I am excited to get stuck into these various scientific questions throughout BIOPOLE and hope to help increase of understanding of the sensitivity of the nutrients in the polar regions to climatic changes. 

Outside of work I enjoy spending my time reading, gardening, and spending time outdoors.

Jen Freer 

I am an early career researcher working within the Ecosystems Team at the British Antarctic Survey. As Ecosystem Modeller, part of my job involves bringing together multiple types of data, from oceanographic (such as sea temperature) to biological (where a species is found for example). Using these data within models can help us to understand the factors driving species distributions and abundances, how these biological processes contribute to ecosystem function, and how environmental change may impact them. 

For BIOPOLE, colleagues and I will collect specimens of small zooplankton species (mainly copepod crustaceans) and use statistical models to map their distribution in the Southern Ocean. Knowing their preferred location and depth during both summer and winter is really important information for modellers to be able to predict how much carbon they help sequester into the deep ocean. We will also team up with colleagues who study the seafloor to look at how the overwintering population of copepods overlap with the distribution of organisms living on the seabed, as these interactions are poorly understood.  

The aims and objectives of BIOPOLE necessitate a truly interdisciplinary team of researchers which I am really excited to be a part of. When not in the office I am happiest on or by the sea, so in my free time I make as many trips to the coast as possible to surf, swim or stroll! 

Anne Braakmann-Folgmann 

I am a final year PhD student with the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds. My work focuses on satellite remote sensing of icebergs. Giant icebergs hold vast amounts of ice together with terrigenous nutrients and can drift for multiple years before they disintegrate. Therefore, the goal of my PhD is to quantify where how much freshwater is released into the Southern Ocean from giant icebergs.  

Within the BIOPOLE project my role is to contribute these estimates of iceberg freshwater flux. I am excited to collaborate with a wide range of researchers in this project and to learn more about the impact that icebergs have on their environment. 

In my free time I like to go climbing and enjoy walks out in nature – especially by the coast.