Marine Biology Personal Statement
During my work experience at the Marine Biological Association of the UK, I carried out electrophoresis on the DNA of Emiliania huxleyi. This was the first time that I had a chance to see marine biology on a professional level. The practical was part of a session demonstrating the significance of this coccolithophore to not only the oceans, but to the entire planet.
Learning the importance of coccolithophores as CO2 sinks and as indicators of ocean acidification, I realised the importance that marine biology has on a global scale, especially as the urgency to combat climate change increases.
Having a nature-loving father really sparked my interest in biology. From catching frogs in the temperate rainforest of the Fowey valley to finding land hermit crabs in the mangroves of the Florida Keys, my dad has always shown that if you look closely, you will find much more than what first meets the eye.
His logic extends into rockpooling, which at the age of eighteen I still enjoy as much as ever. The coasts near where I live are some of the most biodiverse in the UK, with an abundance of seagrass, kelp forests, and rocky reefs. My favourite find was a Sepiola atlantica, noticing its chromatophores changing shape as I examined it.
Areas that fascinate me include coastal ecology, cephalopod morphology, and migrating patterns of cetaceans. I am a student member of the Marine Biological Association of the UK and find their monthly journal fascinating and a welcome challenge to read. Using the internet I have found access to some great journals, with Penry, Cockcroft and Hammond's "Seasonal fluctuations in occurrence of inshore Bryde's whales in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa" being one of the most interesting.
One of my favourite books is "Cephalopods A World Guide" by Mark Norman. It has provided me with an insight into the diversity of cephalopods and their behaviour as well as serving as an identification guide; on one occasion I encountered and recognised an Octopus briareus while snorkeling in Cuba. My strong affiliation with wider biology has led me to achieving a gold in the British Biology Olympiad, which was one of the best moments during my time at school.
Other academic competitions I have taken part in include the geographical "Plymouth World Wise Challenge", where my team won twice. Snorkeling, swimming, and free diving are three aquatic activities that I absolutely love, because they give my mind a rest while staying active and seeing marine life.
Three of my proudest extracurricular achievements are swimming in the Blue Mile event, competing in the Plymouth MAD cycle race, and completing the 45 mile route of Ten Tors. For the latter two, the ability to work as a team was essential, especially making fair decisions and maintaining a consistently positive attitude throughout. In my spare time I play the piano, which I find to be an emotional outlet as well as just being brilliant fun, with the challenge of learning a piece by ear often keeping me busy for hours.
I love to cook: especially Italian, Asian, and French food, and cook for my family and friends regularly. Learning to cook is a useful skill I have gained, and I believe it's one of the most important steps to achieving independence. I have kept coldwater, tropical freshwater and tropical marine species successfully over the years: from the common goldfish to the finicky Linckia laevigata.
Keeping marine species has not only allowed me to gain knowledge of their behaviour and morphology, but also a great understanding of tropical marine ecosystems such as mangrove forests, coral reefs, and seagrass beds. I found mangroves in particular to be fascinating, and I believe they could play a huge role in a sustainable future for tropical countries.
I think that sustainability is key for the successful continuation of humankind on Earth, and I hope that my future career in marine biology will play an important part in our path to achieving this.