Researcher Spotlight: Eleni Christoforou

Eleni Christoforou spotlight article picCan you tell us a bit about your background?

I was awarded a BSc in Marine Biology and a BA in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and an online Aquarium Management Certificate from ACS Distance Education. While pursuing my studies, I carried out experimental work with hermit crabs in Corsica, France and Santa Cruz, USA (paper under preparation); tracked sea otters as part of a USGS-UCSC collaboration in Moss Landing, USA; participated at MEDITS biodiversity data collection project; assisted APMarine Environmental agency in an ecological impact assessment of a marine hatchery in Cyprus; created a 3D map of a new scuba diving location in Cyprus and was a marine invertebrate laboratory assistance.

What can you tell us about your PhD?
Through my PhD I aim to quantify the ecosystem services provided by mussels by testing their response to different algal concentrations. I am also planning to test whether these ecosystem services can be compromised by microfibers, light pollution and the combined effect of the two.

Why did you decide to do your PhD in IBACHM/UofG?
After rigorous research on PhD programs and supervisors at different universities I came across University of Glasgow and my current main supervisor Sofie Spatharis. After visiting the university premises, meeting with her and discussing the topic of the project, I was certain that this was the best choice for me.

What do you find most interesting about your work?
I would say the most interesting part is the fact that no day is the same with another, facing new challenges and accomplishing new tasks. Additionally, I feel constantly motivated to further understand my model species and improve the procedures for studying them as much as possible.

What has been the most positive aspect so far?
I really like what I am doing so I see everything with an optimistic eye. Since my arrival here, I feel that I learn new things every day, I develop a variety of skills and I also feel intellectually stimulated and challenged.

What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
Analysing my data and trying to understand what the link could be between my experimental findings and the processes that occur in the natural marine ecosystem.

What advice would you give to anyone doing or considering PhD?
It is important to know that a PhD requires great motivation, hard work and persistence, thus they should make sure that they are really passionate for their chosen topic.

Tell us about your plans for the future
I would first like to focus on my PhD as I still have a few more years. After completing my project I would like to work on an aspect of marine biology either in academia or in the private sector contacting research or educating stakeholders on current issues, with the sole purpose of doing the best in my capabilities for the conservation of the ocean. 

First published: 1 May 2018