My PhD research focuses on the conservation management of elasmobranch (sharks and rays) populations in the wild and in captivity. I will be using molecular techniques (microsatellites and mitochondrial CO1) to identify species sold in markets as well as genotype populations of sharks in the Pacific and Caribbean. My research will also look at pollutant concentrations in sharks as a health concern for shark populations as well as humans. During my masters degree, I did some work on the public perception of sharks, I will also be doing some survey work similar to this during my PhD. I will be surveying local fisherman to find out their knowledge and opinions of sharks and their conservation.
As illegal fishing of protected shark species is an ongoing threat in many countries, part of my PhD research will focus on this illegal trade in Ecuador and Colombia. We will be designing a ‘Lab on a Chip’ to detect the presence of threatened shark species from a small sample of tissue. We will also be tackling the mislabelling of sharks sold in markets by creating another chip that will indicate whether it is shark meat (elasmobranchs) or meat from a bony fish (osteichthyes).
I have been at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for over 5 years now, completing both my bachelors (BSc) in Animal Behaviour and masters (MSc) in Conservation Biology here. I am originally from the Netherlands, but I spent most of my life living abroad. I was born in Indonesia, moved to Hong Kong when I was two and then lived there for 12 years before moving to the Netherlands for four years.
Alongside my studies I also work part time as a supervisor at the student’s union Salutation Pub, where I have worked for almost 3 years now. But during my studies I also volunteered at Sea Life Trafford centre for over two years, which gave me the amazing opportunity to work with many different fish species, sharks, rays, octopus and eels!