What specific effects on marine ecosystems are you most interested in?
AR: I’m most interested in seeing how global warming will change environmental factors, such as temperature and nutrient availability, and how this will affect the marine microbial food web — and in turn, biogeochemical cycles.
How did you photograph the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent?
AR: I was on the helicopter on the way back to the ship after collecting ice cores and was able to capture this photo. I glanced out the window and caught a glimpse of the vessel surrounded by fractured ice and it made me realize the precarious state of the Arctic sea ice.
What’s it like aboard a ship in the Arctic?
AR: It’s quite different from anything else I’ve experienced. Our connection to the outside world was pretty sparse. The internet access was on and off so it’s one of the few places where you don’t see everyone’s faces focused on their phones and social media.
We worked around the clock but it was one of the most interesting and exciting experiences of my life. I met amazing scientists who had been working in the Arctic for decades. It was great to be able to interact with and learn from them.
Where are you at with your studies at Concordia and what are your plans after graduating?
I would like to pursue a career as a research scientist for the Canadian government so I can continue monitoring changes in the Arctic Ocean. I would also like to be involved in Canadian science policy because I think it’s really important to include scientists in decisions concerning conservation and biodiversity.
What would winning the NSERC Science Exposed contest mean to you?
AR: It would mean a lot, mostly because I would have achieved my goal of increasing awareness of how global warming is affecting the Arctic. I think that it’s hard for people to fully comprehend how severe the sea ice melt is because they’re not able to see those changes with their own eyes.
My image illustrates the dire situation by showing all the cracks and the consequences that accompany them in the Arctic.
Why did you choose to do your NSERC-funded research at Concordia?
AR: I chose Concordia, specifically the Walsh Laboratory, because we are at the forefront of microbial research. We have state-of-the-art facilities that allow us to generate high throughput data and answer questions about how climate change is affecting northern aquatic ecosystems.