There has been an unfortunate lack of activity on this blog recently. I’ve been kept busy with various things, not least preparing for my PhD Viva tomorrow (the defence of my thesis). Fingers crossed that it goes well, and that the next time I write a post it will be as ‘Doctor’ Carruthers.
In the meantime, and just to fill some empty blog space, I’m very quickly putting up links to two stories relevant to my PhD. Both are from the BBC:
Toxic chemicals found in beached whales in Fife (Feb. 11th 2016)
How Northern European waters soak up carbon dioxide (Feb 25th 2016)
The first is of relevance because researchers note the high levels of mercury in the brain tissue of beached long-finned pilot whales, and mercury is one of the potentially toxic metals which my research has focused on. As a reminder, I am looking at whether the deep underground storage of carbon dioxide in sandstone rocks will leach potentially toxic metals at levels of concern to the environment. The article is a reminder that the heavily industrialised North Sea may not be a particularly friendly place for marine organisms, and that we should be limiting our environmental impact on the oceans wherever possible.
The second article explains efforts to quantify how much atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves into seas surrounding the UK, which has gone some way to mitigating our anthropogenic emissions, and limiting (so far) climate change. Carbon dioxide mitigation is, fundamentally, what my research feeds into, via artificial carbon sequestration. But efforts to capture our emissions are dwarfed by the natural system, and will continue to be until such time as we have a global carbon sequestration programme. Whether this will ever happen is currently, in my view, highly uncertain.
As with my Viva tomorrow, we can only hope for the best!