Meet the Team

Gabriele Stowasser

  • Please introduce yourself.

I am a Marine Ecologist working within the Ecosystems team at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. Over the last 15 years I have mainly worked on the trophic relationships in polar marine ecosystems and the marine ecosystems of the British Overseas Territories. I am interested in the spatial and temporal functioning of marine food webs and use a combination of biochemical analytical methods to identify key trophic linkages in the pelagic and benthic realms of the ocean. In recent years I have also been involved in work investigating the role of zooplankton and fish in the carbon cycling of the ocean. I divide most of my time between participating in cruises and analysing samples in the laboratory here in Cambridge.

  • What do you do within BIOPOLE and what have you enjoyed about BIOPOLE so far?

In BIOPOLE I am part of WP2 which focuses on biological processes that contribute to the carbon transport into the deep ocean. In November last year I had the good fortune to be part of the first BIOPOLE cruise. With a fantastic team on board, we set out to determine the dynamics, biochemical composition and structural change in the upper water column in the northern part of the Weddell Sea as the ocean moves seasonally from being fully ice covered to fully exposed. My part of the cruise was managing the deployment of our fishing nets to sample the meso-zooplankton community associated with the spring phytoplankton bloom.  

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

When I am not at sea or in the office I like to go hiking and enjoy the music and theatre that Cambridge and London have to offer.  

Gabriele Stowasser from British Antarctic Survey

Meet the Team

Stefanie Rynders

  • Please introduce yourself.

I’m a physical oceanographer working in the Marine Systems Modeling group at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. I develop models, mainly of the Arctic Ocean across different components of the system. Projects I have worked on so far range from fundamental physics to practical applications and climate scales. BIOPOLE has got me more involved in biogeochemistry and the connection between land and ocean.

  • What do you do within BIOPOLE?

I am part of WP1 and WP3. In work package 1 we look at nutrient inputs and I have calculated nutrient inputs from coastal erosion specifically. We made a model based erosion rate estimate, which should serve both for the historical period and future projections. I also check our existing biogeochemistry models against observational data, including from the BIOPOLE cruises. This has already highlighted some areas where improvements can be made. For work package 3 I’ll be investigating the connectivity of nutrient fluxes from the Arctic into the North Atlantic. The North Atlantic is expected to become more stratified in the future, hindering access to nutrients. So, a nutrient boost from the Arctic could be good for the ecosystem and support future fisheries.

  • What have you enjoyed about BIOPOLE so far?

The best thing about BIOPOLE is that it is such a well-integrated project across the centres. It is fun to hear about other people’s research in completely different areas every month. I have learned a lot about hydrology just by joining the meetings, though the complexity of molecular analysis in the lab still blows my mind! We are working together with observationalists and modellers across the fields on climate variability and missing processes in our NOC model.

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

I like swimming so I try to make use of the pool nearby NOC to go swimming over lunchtime with a colleague.

Stefanie Rynders from National Oceanography Centre

Meet the Team

Aidan Hunter

  • Please introduce yourself.

I’m an ecological modeller working with the Ecosystems team at British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge. After a Masters in mathematics I applied for various environmental research roles, including modelling the fluid dynamics of wind turbine arrays, but eventually landed a marine science PhD in fishery statistics and modelling. This involved researching fishery-induced changes to the growth and maturation of commercially important species and developing a novel fish stock assessment model. My work has since focussed on fish food: plankton, particularly in the polar regions. I’ve developed a range of marine ecology models including an end-to-end ecosystem model, trait-based copepod model, and Lagrangian (particle-tracking) size-structured phytoplankton model. As part of my work with each of these, I devised numerical methods of tuning model parameters to produce statistically optimum fits to multiple data sets – making the models match observed reality. My favourite way of doing this is via Bayesian methods.

  • What do you do within BIOPOLE?

Within BIOPOLE, I’m part of WP2, working to create species distribution models to simulate how polar copepod’s horizontal and vertical distributions respond to environmental conditions. Of particular interest is a natural carbon storage process called the ‘lipid pump’, that is, the vertical transport of carbon during seasonal diapause when copepods overwinter in deep water. My models will simulate present-day vertical carbon transport associated with diapausing copepod species and, with reference to high-resolution climate forecasts courtesy of the PolarRES project, predict changes to the lipid pump under potential future climate storylines. My work so far has involved finding and collating as much polar copepod data as I can and using it to estimate parameters useful for other BIOPOLE modellers. Though a necessary first step, data wrangling isn’t what I most enjoy. I’m really looking forward to getting properly stuck in to the actual modelling, and have been contemplating adopting Bayesian methods for this work.

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

I spend (too) much of my free time in summer juggling – six balls on a very good day. If you’re in Cambridge and the weather’s nice we can take some paraffin to the park and throw fire clubs, catching is optional. I also enjoy much merriment in the many fine old pubs Cambridgeshire has to offer.

Aidan Hunter from British Antarctic Survey

Meet the Team

Petra ten Hoopen

I am a Scientific Data Manager at the UK Polar Data Centre at the British Antarctic Survey. Before joining BAS, I have spent ten years in fundamental science working in several countries on plant hormonal pathways and stress response and then moved to a data-focussed profession. For the last ten years I work with marine data, specifically genomic data at EMBL-EBI and environmental data at BAS. In my current role, I archive, publish and integrate UK-funded polar marine data, develop databases, collaborate with other data professionals on developing the data publishing infrastructure and engage with national and international communities, such as the NERC Environmental Data Service, Southern Ocean Observing System, Polar Data Forum or Research Data Alliance.

In BIOPOLE I am the data management lead ensuring that BIOPOLE data are FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). I coordinate the development and implementation of a roadmap for long-term preservation of data from this large multidisciplinary project. I also take responsibility for the BIOPOLE data webpages, data management training and visualisation of BIOPOLE fieldwork for stakeholders and will support the BIOPOLE Antarctic cruise on the RRS SDA.

It is a privilege to work in the BIOPOLE multicultural community of friendly and highly skilled professionals and I enjoy getting to know people in the team.

I like plants, drawing their shapes, studying their physiology, learning about their impact on human history, taking care of them in my garden, simply having them around me, so won’t volunteer for a mission to Mars.

Petra ten Hoopen from British Antarctic Survey

Meet the Team

Enma Elena García-Martín

I’m a biogeochemist working within the Ocean BioGeoscience group at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. During the last decade I’ve been investigating the role of phytoplankton, zooplankton and bacteria on the marine carbon cycling, the coupling between oxygen production (primary production) and consumption (plankton respiration) processes and the influence of the community structure and environmental variables, such as temperature and dissolved organic matter, on the plankton metabolism. In BIOPOLE I wear two different hats:

a) I am part of the WP2 which focusses on the biological processes that modify the carbon to nutrient ratios in polar environments. Specifically, I run laboratory experiments with different cultured phytoplankton to determine the direct and indirect effects of warming and nutrient supply on microplankton cell size, metabolism (primary production and respiration) and biomass stoichiometry. Our results will allow to understand better the responses of polar phytoplankton to changing climatic conditions.

b) I am also the Strategic Lead for Arctic Fieldwork, and when I wear this hat, I serve as a point of contact between BIOPOLE researchers and BIOPOLE project partners, facilitating the interactions between them and coordinating the activities, to ensure that BIOPOLE maximize the resources available in the Arctic.

I was lucky to live a year in Tromsø (Norway) many many years ago, where I spent hours looking at polar plankton under the microscope. BIOPOLE has given me the opportunity to spend more time with these cold, beautiful creatures without the need of woolly hat and gloves. 

I have green fingers, not only for phytoplankton, and I like growing my own veggies. Ohh, I love how tasty they are!!!

Enma Elena García-Martín from the National Oceanography Centre