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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonOur alumni

Siri Ofstad MSci Oceanography, 2015

PhD student at the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE)

Siri Ofstad's Photo

Studying at the NOCS was truly an invaluable experience for my career in research.

I started my MSci Oceanography degree in 2011 after completing a one year Science Foundation year course at the University. Towards the end of the degree it became evident that research was the right path for me. I became inspired by the enthusiasm of Dr Jessica Whiteside while taking her module, Paleoclimate Change. It was then I discovered the immense value of studying foraminifera and geochemical proxies in order to understand climate.

Being from Norway, I responded to an advertisement on a Norwegian vacancy website for a 4 year PhD at the Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate (CAGE), a Norwegian centre of excellence at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, which is located in Tromsø. I am certain that having an Oceanography degree from the University of Southampton based at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) was an advantage due to their stellar reputation in ocean and earth science. I believe studying at the NOCS gave me a solid foundation for oceanographic research, thanks to a wide range of modules, taught by world renowned experts.

My PhD project is the first PhD project at CAGE focusing on ocean acidification (OA), and a part of the ongoing OA research. The current working title is: 'Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide and Methane Induced Ocean Acidification in the Arctic Ocean, effects on modern planktonic foraminifera'. Our main hypothesis is that anthropogenic induced OA and methane induced OA reduce the foraminifera calcification rate, causing a decrease in shell weight, and we expect planktonic foraminifera living above active methane hydrates to be lighter than at non seep sites. Sampling for my project includes plankton net and water samples above methane flare sites and reference sites, in addition to marine sediment cores for paleo-pH reconstruction using boron isotopes and other proxies for ocean carbonate. Being at UiT has a number of advantages, we have our own research vessel and easy access to the area of study, which allows bi-annual (summer and winter) sampling. Secondly, the researchers here are experts on the geology and oceanography of the Arctic Ocean, the region most sensitive to climate change.

Studying at the NOCS was truly an invaluable experience for my career in research. Now that I am at a different institute, and interacting with scientists from around the world, I realise just how highly regarded the NOCS is in a global context, and the significance of the work done by NOCS scientists. I look back on my time as an MSci Oceanography student at the NOCS with great fondness.


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