Hi and welcome to my ePortfolio!
My name is Mira and I am a PhD student on my first year of research with an MIBTP (Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership) studentship at the University of Warwick. I have BSc and MSc degrees in Environmental Science from the University of Eastern Finland, where I did my advanced studies in Environmental Biology and took Applied Zoology and Animal Welfare as well as Environmental Law as my secondary subjects.
I grew up by the Bothnian Sea, in a coastal city with a long and diverse shoreline ranging from miles of sandy beaches and dunes to bedrock and mudflat environments. I have always been interested in nature and environmental matters, and during my university studies I was lucky to have the opportunity to work several summers as an intern for the Environmental Administration of Finland. These internships consisted of various tasks related to aquatic surveys and water quality monitoring, including biological and physico-chemical sampling and measurements in both freshwaters as well as the Baltic Sea. These experiences, alongside with my 5-month ERASMUS student exchange at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (where I got to see the actual ocean for the first time!), sparked my decision to pursue a career in the field of marine biology and, ultimately, marine conservation.
My PhD project, titled ‘Mind the Gap: Microbe-Microplastic Interactions in the Marine Environment’, focuses on investigating how interactions between marine micro-organisms and microplastic particles might be contributing to the observed gap in particle abundance of sub-millimetre sized microplastics in the oceans. Special interest will be on microbial colonisation dynamics on plastics, the effects of colonisation on sinking rates of microplastics as well as the uptake of microplastics by marine microbes. So far, my research has contributed to characterising early-stage colonisation dynamics and microbial community succession on plastic particles in the Mediterranean Sea, and will further aim to clarify the effects of microbe-microplastic interactions on the fate and physico-chemical properties of microplastic particles by combining research methods from biophysics and environmental microbiology.
My work is jointly supervised by Dr Marco Polin from the Department of Physics and Dr Joseph Christie-Oleza from the School of Life Sciences. Funding for the project is provided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the University of Warwick.