Apr 19 2010 Posted: 00:00 IST
Ms Merry Zacharias, a PhD student at NUI Galway in the Discipline of Botany and Plant Science within the School of Natural Sciences will represent the University at the National Science Speak Competition to be held in Dublin on 27 April 2010. Science Speak is an annual inter-varsity science communication event involving all seven Irish universities where postgraduate research students are challenged to present their research work to the general public in non-expert language. The talk on 'Marine Algae: the missing link to cloud formation? Investigations on the emission and exudation of organic compounds' won the local heat of the competition. Merry's PhD focuses on the responses of marine algae (seaweeds and microscopic phytoplankton) to environmental stresses and the key role algae play in climate change research. Algae release organic compounds into the air and seawater which can make a significant contribution to the formation of clouds over the oceans and thereby affect our climate. Merry is conducting her PhD in the Algal Research Group in Botany and Plant Science under the supervision of algal expert Dr Dagmar Stengel. Her research is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a larger interdisciplinary project on climate change entitled 'Exchange at the air-sea interface: air quality and climate impacts' at the Centre for Air Pollution and Climate Change at NUI Galway. Before starting her PhD in Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway, Merry completed an MSc in Environmental Science at Bharathidasan University in India and worked as a project assistant at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India). She was also employed as a research assistant at the Environmental Change Institute, NUI Galway. Merry Zacharias is one of 20 PhD students currently conducting research within the Discipline of Botany and Plant Science at NUI Galway.