I have a Bachelors degree in Aquatic Eco Technology from HZ University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. During my undergraduate work I developed a passion for marine life and an interest in sustainable fishereies with an eye for nature conservation, aquatic health, commercial interests (commercial fisheries and aquaculture) and marine resource management. I had two internships at marine research institutes during my undergraduate work. In my first internship I investigated the use of ecosystem engineers, like oyster reefs (Crassostrea gigas), for the protection of the intertidal zone in the Oosterschelde. During my second internship I studied the effects of water temperature on the vertical distribution of sea gooseberries (Pleurobrachia pileus). Afterwards I started my Masters programme in Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management at the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands. I wrote my Masters thesis on the effects of beam trawlers on growth and condition of flatfish plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and sole (Solea solea). Following this, I worked on a six-month internship at the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University in Wales. Here I focused on habitat preferences of juvenile crustacean brown crab (Cancer pagurus) and European lobster (Homarus gammarus) in Welsh waters.
I finished my Masters degree in February 2015. In April 2015 I started my PhD at the School of BEES at University College Cork. Here I will continue working with the organisms that started my passion for marine life: Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). My PhD is part of the REPOSUS project: "REducing the impact of Pathoges and disease in the Irish Oyster industry to support the SUStainability and growth of the sector". My supervisors are Professor Sarah Culloty and Dr Sharon Lynch. The Pacific oyster industry is of high economic importance to Irish aquaculture. Pacific oysters have suffered mortalities of up to 90% since 2008 and 2009 in different European countries, including Ireland. Ostrid Herpes Virus-1 μVar has been detected since 2008. Additionally, in France Vibrio aesturianus has been associated with significant mortalities since 2011. Recently pathogenic strains of the bacterium Vibrio aesturianus have also been identified in Irish oysters. The purpose of this study is to characterise any pathogens isolated, determine the impact of varying environmental parameters and to investigate the capacity of these pathogens to spread and to maintain themselves in the environment. Furthermore, husbandry methods and antiviral compounds will be developed to counteract these pathogens and diseases. This research will contribute to and support the future sustainability of the Irish Pacific oyster aquaculture industry.