Student Spotlights 2020: Discover the next generation of natural historians

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
0207 434 4479 ext 211
Linnean Society Student Conference

DAY MEETING 10:00–17:30 Friday 7th February 2020

Come and listen to the next generation of natural historians speak about their research.

In this public-facing conference we will be testing research students’ engagement skills through both oral and poster competitions. Support these up-and-coming scientists and learn about the latest natural history research. The conference will end with a guest lecture last year's speaking winner, by Alexandra McGoran, NHM & Royal Holloway, University of London.

Selected speakers include:

  • Sabhrina Aninta - Queen Mary University of London
  • Meg Cathcart-James - University of Reading
  • Imogen Cavadino - RHS, Newcastle University
  • Maude Grenier - University of Edinburgh
  • Tomos Jones - University of Reading
  • Louisse Mirabueno - NIAH EMR, University of Reading
  • Stephanie Skipp - University of East London
  • Chawatat Thanoosing - Imperial College London, NHM

Selected posters include:

  • Lizzie Jones - Royal Holloway, Institute of Zoology
  • Galina Jonsson - NHM, Imperial College London
  • Andrea Parisi - Middlesex University
  • James Rowland - Harper Adams University
  • Sabrina Schalz - Middlesex University


Whats on the Menu? Plastic Ingestion by animals in the River Thames area

Alex McGoran

The Thames is reported to be heavily contaminated by plastic, with thousands of items rolling along the riverbed. Despite this pollution, the Thames Estuary is a diverse habitat full of wildlife including over 125 species of fish recorded in the tidal Thames. Recent research, however, indicated that fish are ingesting plastic, mainly fibres. But are they the only aquatic species in this catchment being contaminated and can they be used as a reliable indicator species for plastic contamination?

Two species of brachyuran crab (Eriocheir sinensis and Carcinus maenas) were sampled from Erith, Kent in the upper Thames Estuary. Their gills, gastric mill and digestive tract were examined separately to determine the amount of plastic contaminating these crustaceans. Almost all the crabs sampled had ingested plastic, many containing tangled balls of plastic made up of over 100 fibres. Does this volume of plastic have an impact on the fitness of the crabs and are both species equally affected?

Stranded megafauna are a common occurrence in the UK and the Thames is no exception. What can these animals tells us about plastic pollution in our waters?

Alex McGoran is a London NERC DTP PhD student investigating the movement of plastic up the food web, using the Thames Estuary as a model system. Alex was the winner of the speaking competition at the 2019 Linnean Society Student Conference.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Registration is essential. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The day includes lunch, refreshments and a wine reception.
  • Doors will open at 09:45.

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