Craig Dedman

University of Warwick


Nano-pollutants – Big Impact? Investigating the Ecotoxicological Effects of Nanomaterials in our Oceans


Dr G.L. Davies and Dr J. Christie-Oleza

PhD Summary

In this PhD project, I will investigate the ecotoxicological effects of nanoparticles upon the marine environment. Firstly, nanoparticles will be produced in the lab, and their physicochemical properties analysed, before the ecotoxicological effects of such particles are investigated through incubation studies with model marine organisms. Finally, microcosm experiments will be carried out to assess the effects of nanoparticles upon a model marine community under natural conditions.

What inspires you

My interest in the natural world stemmed from a fascination of the diversity of life that inhabits our planet. Particularly, I was interested in the marine environment, fuelled by regular visits to the aquarium and the coast with my family. Through activities such as rock-pooling and watching numerous documentaries on the subject, I soon developed a strong knowledge of basic marine biology and knew that I wanted to pursue biological sciences academically in the future. The potential for research that could be carried out upon the changes occurring within the marine environment is something that fascinates me, and such investigations are of great importance to ensure the protection of marine and terrestrial biodiversity for future generations.

Previous activity

Prior to commencing PhD research, I completed a degree in BSc Biological Sciences at the University of Exeter, where I tailored my degree to focus upon ecology, ecotoxicology and marine biology. Following this, I was offered the opportunity to complete a Masters by Research degree investigating the effects of microplastic exposure upon zooplankton. For the past year, I have worked for the Springer Nature Group, handling manuscripts for the open access journal, Scientific Reports.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

Having been fascinated by the natural world since an early age, I have grown up experiencing the dramatic impact that humans have had upon the environment. This impact, in the main, has had an adverse effect upon wild species, although many of these effects remain understudied. Through my studies and recent employment, I have found that I enjoy working within the research environment and I feel that by completing doctoral research, I will be able to gain the skills required to carry out high quality environmental research throughout my career. Hopefully, such research will go on to direct future environmental policy and have a positive impact upon the conservation of biodiversity and the ecosystem services biodiversity provides.

Why did you choose CENTA?

The CENTA studentship interested me greatly as the focus of the programme is very close to my own academic and personal interests. The excellent training opportunities and interdisciplinary nature of the projects on offer, alongside support for conference attendance, mean that I will be well-equipped to carry out high quality research in the future.

Future plans

I feel that by completing this CENTA studentship, I will develop an advanced skillset as a researcher and this will benefit me greatly as I advance in my academic career. By completing training in an interdisciplinary nature, I will be able to contribute to a number of future research projects. I aim to become a Research Fellow following the completion of this PhD, producing high quality research that will go on to conserve biodiversity by directing future environmental policy regarding the release of substances into the environment.