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Looking after the small things

Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2011

Marine biologist Ceri Lewis is studying how pollution affects small marine invertebrates. Can these creatures really respond and adapt to environmental change?

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Ceri Lewis, Marine Biologist
My name is Dr Ceri Lewis, I'm a NERC Research Fellow at the University of Exeter in England.  At the moment out here in the Arctic I'm doing ocean acidification research, but back in the UK I also look at how pollution, environmental pollution, affects small marine invertebrates in terms of their reproduction. 

Well I wanted to be a marine biologist since I was 14, and when I was doing my marine biology degree, climate change was just starting to be a bit of a hot topic and it just really interested me, and I've been researching how small marine invertebrates respond to environmental change for over 15 years now, and my interest just keeps on growing in it.  For the next year I’ll be continuing my ocean acidification research.  I'm, for the next five years, I suspect it will continue to be a combination of ocean acidification, temperature change and pollutants, and I have no idea what the hot topic will be in ten years’ time, but I suspect it will be looking at still how your environment affects small animals and how they respond and evolve to those changes. 

Well I'm a natural optimist by nature, and I have seen first-hand how amazing nature is at adapting to environmental change.  I've worked on a small population of worms which have evolved to cope with very high levels of pollution, so I'd like to think that nature will come up with a solution of its own to live with polluted and changing environments, however I do worry how much damage we are doing to the environment and it would be nice if we could look after it a bit better.







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