Scientist studying seas for smallest life forms

The Advertiser Series: North Yorkshire scientist Cath Waller is spending January off the coast of Chile, studying microscopic sea creatures North Yorkshire scientist Cath Waller is spending January off the coast of Chile, studying microscopic sea creatures

A NORTH Yorkshire scientist will be spending January studying the South American oceans for some of the smallest life forms on earth.

Cath Waller, a university lecturer at the Scarborough Centre for Environmental and Marine Science (CEMS), part of the University of Hull, is starting the new year 7,500 miles from home in Chile, South America.

The Antarctic scientist will be spending January at a marine station in Las Cruces. More accustomed to the frozen waters of the Antarctic, this is the first time her research into the microscopic sea creatures, Bryozoans, has taken her to a warmer climate. One of her more recent trips involved spending eight weeks in a tent in the Antarctic.

She said: “Bryozoans are microscopic creatures that make their homes on rocks and other surfaces such as ships and pilings. They have been largely over-looked when it comes to research but how they respond to changes in their environment can have a big impact on other species. For example, it there are less Bryozoans on a piling then there could be more seaweed instead, that could mean fewer mussels are able to grow and that in turn could affect the bird population.

“It is often the smallest life forms that give us the biggest clues to what is going on in the world.”

Whilst out in Chile, Cath will be staying in touch by Twitter; @cathwaller and via her blog; http://cathwaller.wordpress.com/

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