Freya Sykes

PhD Candidate, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø (UiT)

I am a climate scientist who is currently undertaking a PhD in paleoceanography and marine ecology at UiT, Norway, with a focus on trace element analysis of the microscopic zooplankton foraminifera for use in reconstructing past (sub)polar climate change at the North Atlantic – Nordic Seas – Arctic Ocean interface. To this end I am carrying out culturing experiments on (sub)polar foraminifera, to see how chemical uptake in their calcium carbonate shells responds to different environmental conditions. The results of this research will increase fill in significant knowledge gaps of how high latitude seas react to current warming, critical for understanding current Arctic climate change.

Outside of my own research project, I have a passion for integrating climate and environmental science within the modern social and political sphere, and public outreach. My interest in shaping and directing scientific studies based on local community needs led to me hosting a workshop on Ethical and Sustainable Arctic Research, supported by APECS Sweden, which in turn resulted in being invited to speak at the Young Friends of the Earth Climate conversations: environmental racism seminar. Volunteering as a sea-scout leader in Stockholm, a large focus of the programme was on conservation of nature and the Baltic Sea. Through our weekly meetings and sailing trips I held several lectures and excursions based around these themes, with the aim of engaging our scouts in environmental issues. A key goal in scouting is training children in leadership skills, and it was important to me and the rest of the leadership team that this included making them aware of the changes our planet is currently undergoing, and giving them skills and knowledge required to tackle these changes.

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