What is your role in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme?
I am a senior analytical chemist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and lead the CEH’s centralised analytical chemistry laboratories. I lead on specific PBMS studies, undertaking data analysis, ensuring that the methods that we use are appropriate, and that analyses are of high quality and delivered on schedule. I present our findings at conferences and through papers, and supervise PhD students. My current focus is on persistent organic pollutants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls and perfluorinated compounds) and on the use of stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, sulphur) as a proxy measure for diet.
How did you get involved in the PBMS?
I completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Aveiro University, Portugal before undertaking a PhD in Marine Biogeochemistry at Bangor University in North Wales. After completing a subsequent post-doctoral fellowship at Bangor, I joined CEH at Monks Wood as an analytical chemist in 2006. I immediately became involved in working on the PBMS, both in terms of analysing samples and working on certain research studies. The analytical laboratories and the PBMS subsequently relocated from Monks Wood to Lancaster and I likewise moved to the north-west in 2008.
What is your favourite bird of prey and why?
I am not sure I have a favourite bird of prey as such, but my PBMS research to date has centred most heavily on gannets. I have been interested in characterising time-trends in pollution in this species, and have published work on their long-term exposure to PCBs and mercury. In another study we found that time trends in the contamination of gannets with brominated flame retardants closely mirrored trends in the European production and use of these products (see Scientific papers). Future research will focus on threats from emerging contaminants such as pefluorinated compounds.