Research Officer, Wetland Science

l.smith@wwt.org.uk

About me

I am what you would call an ‘early careers conservationist’; freshly graduated with a BSc in Zoology at Swansea University. I have always been fascinated with nature and how I can discover more about it. Annual trips to the coast of Pembrokeshire with a bird loving physicist grandmother and microbiologist grandfather lead this fascination to flourish. This, along with biology being my favourite subject throughout school, became a main motivator for choosing to study zoology at university. There, I was lucky enough to have many wonderful experiences, the highlight being picked to go to Borneo to undertake a small research project and experience first-hand the effects (both negative and positive) humans are having on the amazing wildlife and their habitats. After graduating in summer 2019 I decided to take a year out of education to gain a year of experience, amazingly I was chosen to become WWT’s Conservation Evidence placement volunteer.

Work

One of my main roles is analysing water samples from all of the WWT centres, I analyse the water from various points in the water systems through the sites for levels of nitrate, ammonia, phosphate and suspended solids, and currently working on refining the method for measuring the biological oxygen demand (BOD). I also work in the field monitoring aquatic invertebrates at NFM sites via riverfly, and helping to implement other monitoring techniques. My desk based research so far has included writing literature reviews on habitat restoration, digitising spatial data and creating maps in GIS for a catchment level project.

Skills

  • Digitising and analysing spatial data using QGIS
  • Taxonomic identification of freshwater benthic invertebrates
  • MoRPh trained
  • Laboratory procedures