Amy Gray

Loughborough University


Reconstructing Svalbard ice-mass evolution and dynamics since the last glaciation


Jeff Evans and Dave Ryves

PhD Summary

Arctic ice-masses are highly susceptible to the effects of climate change. Rapid atmospheric warming, changes in the ratio of solid-to-liquid precipitation, loss of snow and glacier ice mass, and permafrost thaw are resulting in a shift in the magnitude, timing and constitution of freshwater runoff. Resulting changes in glacial melting patterns have the potential to have a profound effect on freshwater lake environments in the high-Arctic. My project focusses on the use of paleolimnological and chemical records to look at the ecosystem responses to climate-driven environmental changes in the high Arctic since the last glaciation.

What inspires you

I can’t remember what first sparked my wonder at the natural world – I feel as though it is something that has always been within me. But whatever it was has encouraged me to follow an incredible life-path and experience some of the awe-inspiring things this planet has to offer. It’s my love of the natural world that attracts me to projects that will help me safeguard it for future generations.

Previous activity

I have done a rather diverse range of things in my time before starting my PhD. I’ve been a black-bear researcher in Canada, a teaching assistant, a school departmental administrator/technician, a volunteer on a nature reserve, and most recently a policy adviser for the National Farmers’ Union. I hope that all these life experiences will have equipped me with the skills to help me succeed at my PhD.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

I had come to that point in my career when I wanted a change and was searching for an opportunity to undertake a grand adventure! I kept coming back to the fact that I’d always wanted to do a PhD and I was attracted to the idea of developing my skill-set so I could work towards a career that helps tackle some of the planet’s most profound environmental issues.

Why did you choose CENTA?

I was attracted to a CENTA studentship because it offers a varied and interactive approach to doctoral research. The funding provides the much-needed security needed to undertake doctoral research, but the CENTA studentship is so much more than that! Its comprehensive training programme guarantees an opportunity to learn from experts across different academic institutions within the CENTA network and develop expertise in some of the key skills gaps for the sector. The CENTA studentship effectively trains you up to become an industry leader in environmental science, tackling some of the planet’s greatest challenges and carving a way for a more sustainable future.

Future plans

I want to make the most of this opportunity as a CENTA student at Loughborough to develop my knowledge and reputation in the field of climate and environmental change. The CENTA studentship gives me all the opportunities that I need to begin that process. Ultimately, it is my goal to influence policy and public thinking on global environmental issues.