Ben Stride

University of Warwick


Determining the fate of microplastics in riverbed environments


  • Jonathan Pearson
  • Gary Bending
  • Soroush Abolfathi

PhD Summary

The overall aim of my PhD is to improve the understanding and descriptions of key physical-chemical processes in river systems, with particular emphasis on those processes impacting on water quality and public health issues. My research will use systematic evidence-based methodologies that will entail in situ field work experiments, combined with physical model experiments to provide new knowledge of the interactions between the physical controlling effects and biogeochemical characteristics within water and sediments. Including how they are affected by physical controlling effects such as waste type (solid or solute, size, shape, and density), landward boundary (hard & soft defence types and sediment permeability) & seaward boundary (surge and surface waves). Algorithms will be developed and validated to describe the pathways and evolution throughout the catchment.

Previous activity

I was a student athlete in the United States where I completed my BSc in Environmental Science with a minor in Computer Science at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and my MSc in Geoscience at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, whilst receiving a scholarship for Tennis. During my degrees I focused on the environmental impact humans have had on different aquatic ecosystems. This included researching the physical, chemical, and biological processes in freshwater and marine ecosystems and the interactions between these ecosystems and their surrounding landscape.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

I want to undertake my own research to help mitigate the effects that we as a species are having on the world around us and inspire others to do the same. The next few decades are critical to mitigating global change and all living things need water in some form to survive. Stopping pollutants from impacting aquatic ecosystems is therefore crucial to everyone and everything around us and is why I am passionate about researching this topic.

Why did you choose CENTA?

It is unusual to have access to support from both research students and academic staff outside of fellow lab members and advisors when completing your PhD. Being part of a doctoral research programme that not only provides this but gives you funding and access to improve essential skills required as a researcher is an amazing opportunity. Developing core skills and creating new contacts is vital to progressing within your field as a researcher and is what initially attracted me to the studentship.

Future plans

Ultimately, my aim is to pursue an academic career researching aquatic ecosystems. Throughout my PhD and my time with CENTA I hope that this path will become clearer and I will be closer to achieving my goal.