After completing my BSc (Hons.) at Flinders University I began my PhD in the Mitchell Laboratory in 2011. I am based at Monash University in Professor John Beardall’s Algal Ecophysiology Lab. When I am not in the lab I like to try to run (the key word here is ‘try’), attend live sporting events (AFL and tennis), cook and travel!
My PhD research is a collaborative effort between Flinders University and Monash University. Diatoms are the dominant marine primary producers, generating approximately 40% of the ocean organic carbon. They have an absolute silicate requirement for frustule formation. My research investigates the idea that the silica in the frustulemay be a buffer for external carbonic anhydrase (CAext). CAext plays a crucial role in improving the supply of CO2 for use by RubisCO, the rate-limiting step in carbon fixation.
By joining together the fields of diatom biochemistry and ecology I hope to gain an insight into the factors that give diatoms a competitive advantage over other phytoplankton species in aquatic environments.