How financial experts changed the ocean to study plastic pollution

A former mortgage brokerage assistant who gave up her job to follow her call in seabird research recently received the highest academic honor at her college after mapping the Tasman and Coral oceans.

The University of the Sunshine Coast is a university medal with a degree in animal ecology, recognizing Bianca Keys’ efforts in the previous semester. She achieved an almost perfect average score of 6.95 out of 7.

“It was a decisive moment for me to quit my full-time job to pursue my true dream, and I’m sure it was one of the best decisions in my life,” Keys said. Said.

For Keys, mapping seabirds across the ocean floor to discover the degree of plastic pollution for animal protection was a more attractive carrier.

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BirdLife Tasmanian Winter Waders Bianca Key in the field during the count. (Caitlin O’Reilly)

Both her mother and grandmother were financial experts. Keys enjoyed working with numbers, learned finance, and began working on mortgage management.

However, her true passion from an early age has always been cooperation and conservation with animals. Therefore, she decided to resign and return to the study of animal ecology.

“Now I find it fun to work with numbers in another way, statistics,” Keys told The Epoch Times.

“I loved all the growing animals, but the birds were very special to me and I bred quite a few ducks and chickens over the years,” Keys said. rice field.

She was also a competitive swimmer at the state and national levels, so she spent a lot of time in the pools and beaches.

“So, in my heart, seabirds give me the best of both worlds. They are birds and live in the ocean,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
Short-tailed share water dissection at the Polar Science Museum. (Jennifer Lovers)

In the final year of his research, Keys led a month-long expedition on a research vessel. A team of student observers mapped more than 3,300 seabirds in the North Tasman Sea and the South Coral Sea.

The voyage was not always a smooth voyage.

“Especially when sailing for the first time, we had to deal with the rolling of the ship, the harsh sun and wind conditions, and even seasickness,” says Keys.

Seabird mapping helps protect and protect seabirds. This includes recording species details such as behavior, relationships with other marine features, and human impact on the marine environment.

“I have experience investigating terrestrial birds, but identifying seabirds is very different when dealing with the vibrant and ever-changing nature of the ocean,” Keys said.

Other purposes of the expedition include mapping underwater landscapes, collecting magnetic data on the ocean, and filtering seawater to investigate microplastic pollution.

Epoch Times Photo
Seabirds provide a useful signal of change and shift further down the food chain. (Miguel Medina / Getty Images)

“Seabirds are the premier predators of the ocean and act as an early warning system or surrogate for the state of marine ecosystems to provide signs or signals of changes or changes further downstream of the marine food chain.” Said Keys.

“Because we utilize both land and sea, we can use these signals in future management plans to understand the impact of pollution and other human impacts.”

Keys chose to focus on the Short-tailed Shearwater because, unlike the Flesh-footed Shearwater, it has not been well studied. They are also bred in Tasmania and help researchers understand plastic pollution problems near their homes.

“One of the highlights of this experience was learning different types of seabirds, some of which you won’t encounter unless you’re on a voyage, a distant reef, or an island,” Keys said. Says.

Jesse Chan