I am a marine biologist and I’m interested in the effects of chemical pollution on environmental health. My research is focussed on trying to understand what effect persistent pollutants have on the health of cetaceans and predicting how this will impact populations around the UK coast.
The impact of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on wildlife health has concerned scientists for some time. Cetaceans are long-lived and feed at a high trophic level and therefore accumulate some of the highest levels of POPs in wildlife. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a class of POPs, are known to have endocrine disrupting effects and there is a growing weight of evidence linking high levels of exposure to PCBs with increased disease prevalence and suppressed reproduction in cetaceans. However, a limited amount of work has been done to quantify toxicity thresholds and determine the effects of PCB exposure at population level.
My PhD research aims to model the spatial and temporal trends in POP blubber concentrations to assess the current state of pollution levels in the UK. I will also build population dynamics models to understand and predict the long-term effects of PCB exposure alongside other threats, such as by-catch.
It is imperative that the threat from PCBs is studied, beyond individual level, to inform policy decision making so that the necessary disposal and clean up legislation can be implemented.
My work is funded by the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership.
Dr Paul Jepson (Institute of Zoology)
Professor Susan Jobling (Brunel University London)
2016 – present: PhD Researcher, London NERC DTP, Institute of Zoology and Brunel University
2013-2016: Digital Data Analyst, Barclays Bank PLC, London
2012-2013: Research engineer, Fathom Systems Ltd, Aberdeen
2008-2012: MEng Chemical Engineering and Sustainable Technology (First Class), University of Manchester