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Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Undergraduate Student undertakes 3 month research trip to New Zealand

Published: 30 May 2018
Zoë Thomas-Buffin
Zoë Thomas-Buffin on the intertidal flats in Whangateau Harbour, Northern New Zealand

Current BSc Marine Biology and Oceanography student, Zoë Thomas-Buffin has returned from her three month research trip to New Zealand, where she was based at the University of Auckland.

Zoë spent 12 weeks at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, which is a partner institution of the University of Southampton. While there, Zoë carried out an extensive field study to understand how the ordering of multiple stressors (nutrient enrichment, low oxygen, and sedimentation) effect the biodiversity and functioning of coastal ecosystems.

Zoë had a supervisor in New Zealand, and two supervisors from the University of Southampton, Professor Martin Solan, and Dr Jasmin Godbold.

Zoë’s trip was funded by the Northern Hemisphere Summer Research Scholarship. The scholarship is run by the University of Auckland and open to all students at the University of Auckland’s partner institutions, which includes the University of Southampton, no matter what degree course they’re studying. It aims to give current university students an opportunity to experience research at the University of Auckland, and encourage the development of, and strengthening of, research relationships with the University of Auckland.

The scholarship provided Zoë with enough funding to fly out to New Zealand, and complete her project. Originally an 8 week trip which would cover 320 hours of research, Zoë extended her stay to carry on her research and completed 12 weeks at the University.

Commenting on her time in New Zealand, Zoë said: “My short time working at the Leigh Marine Laboratory has allowed me to gain research experience in a new environment, establish contacts at an international University, and most importantly taught me to independently plan and manage an experimental setup to a publishable standard.”

My supervisor in New Zealand has been a supportive mentor and tutor, which has provided obvious benefits that come with working with a renowned contributor to the international field of benthic ecology. All of these pooled together mean that the scholarship has expanded my research experience and begun the process of establishing my research in the field of ecology.”

Prof. Martin Solan said, “I am delighted that like Zoë, our students have the opportunity to access this exciting programme as these scholarships provide unparalleled opportunities to work with internationally leading research teams, as well as first-hand experience of working within active research programmes.”

Dr. Jasmin Godbold added, “The experience Zoë gained in New Zealand gave her the opportunity to build on content taught in Southampton, and being able to put theory into practice will no doubt significantly improve career prospects and employability.”

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