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Marine science personal statement

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  • Published: 22nd December 2019
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Growing up in the eastern shore of Patagonia, meters away from the South Atlantic, I developed a life-long fascination with the ocean. My childhood has played a determinant role in my interest in Oceanography which has eventually turned into my career. I have perused different careers which at times were extremely fulfilling. I have learned invaluable skills that expanded my horizons, however, deep inside I knew I was squandering my true passion for marine science.

I made my first steps at the Northern Virginia Community College and completed my B.S. in Oceanography at George Mason University (US). I was offered the unique opportunity to do an internship at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which then led to a permanent position. I served as a physical science technician at the Florence Bascom Geoscience Center (USGS) for 3 years. I had the honor to work side by side with world-class scientists and to participate in the Pliocene Research, Interpretation, and Synoptic Mapping (PRISM4). PRISM4 is an international initiative that focuses on Late Pliocene climate modelling. I worked on marine samples from the IODP Expedition 353 from the Bay of Bengal to reconstruct sea surface salinity on a global scale utilizing planktonic foraminifera assemblages and their isotopic composition. In addition, I collaborated with paleo-mapping of microbenthic communities in the Chesapeake Bay area (US). The results from this program have been featured in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. I spent a semester at the University Centre of Svalbard where I participated in a research expedition to the Arctic ocean aboard the R/V Helmer Hanssen. During my stay in Svalbard, I acquired proficiency with using multibeam echo-sounder and sub-bottom chirp profilers, collecting bathymetric measurements of poorly studied physio/biographic provinces of the Barents Sea bottomlands. I have also accrued skills in remote sensing and GIS collecting LIDAR map data of glacial landforms in the central valleys of Spitsbergen.

I have initiated an independent study that focuses on changes in Atlantic water advection into northern Svalbard during the Holocene. The two sediment cores utilized for the project were collected during the expedition HH17 to the Arctic ocean. I obtained funding to analyze stable isotope composition of biogenic carbonate samples. The preliminary results of the study were presented at two international conferences PAST Gateways in Durham, UK and AGU Fall Meeting in Washington, DC both in 2018. Currently, the manuscript is in preparation.

My research interests include coastal ecosystems, marine biota, paleotemperature reconstruction, ocean atmosphere interactions, and bathymetry. My academic background focused on environmental geology, GIS, climate dynamics, and oceanography. I am particularly interested in studying the challenging subject of climate change and its impacts on marine biota. Global temperatures are predicted to rise according to climatic simulations based on current carbon dioxide measurements. Warmer oceans and more acidic waters resulting from higher carbonic acid concentrations are expected to have dramatic impacts on marine ecosystems. In addition, progressive ocean warming will continue to reduce deep water formation slowing down the global thermohaline circulation, intensifying oxygen depletion, modifying the supply of micronutrients, altering primary productivity, triggering species range shifts, and extinctions. There is a crucial need for fundamental research into the effects of climate change on ocean dynamics and marine ecosystems. I am eager by the possibility of conducting research and broadening my knowledge of marine science, and I am certain I would make an excellent Ph.D. candidate.

The University of Southampton values in integrity, discipline, and research aligns with my academic goals and interests. The university will provide me a great opportunity to interact with a broader pool that is rich not only in scientific leadership and talents, but also in terms of gender, ethnic, and cultural equality that will enable me to acquire knowledge and develop long-term collaborations and life lasting friendships beyond academia. I am confident that I can contribute to the world-changing research, and I will be honored to be a graduate student of the University of Southampton.

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