Iwalaye (Ayo) Oladimeji. PHOTO: RICH BLENKINSOPP

Since January, CLEAR has hosted Iwalaye (Ayo) Oladimeji, a PhD student from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She is a Fellow with The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)  Blue Charter fellowships, which aim to support world-class research and innovation in marine plastics by providing 38 academics with short-term placements at member universities across the Commonwealth.

Memorial University, where CLEAR is housed, has recently written an article about Ms. Oladimeji’s work:

“Ms. Oladimeji’s research investigates the influence of increasing temperature and microplastics concentration on microplastics ingestion and retention in marine invertebrates

“I saw a link in climate change contributing to more microplastics in the environment,” she said. “Ultraviolet light from the sun and an increase in wave action from sea level rise can break plastics down faster. Both are leading to an increase in microplastic concentration in our oceans. I want to know if, as temperature (due to increased metabolism) and concentration increases, animals will uptake and retain more, or not.”

Since arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ms. Oladimeji has been able to undertake fieldwork at Quidi Vidi Lake  – a new area for the lab — and work with lab members on a methodology for processing samples for microplastics analysis.

“We’ve never done that before, and we should have, so she’s filling an important gap,” said Dr. Liboiron. “As a member of CLEAR, she’s been carrying forward our mission in a way that’s very in line with the lab.”

Ms. Oladimeji will be co-authoring several papers with Dr. Liboiron and CLEAR and she’s hoping to return to Memorial to do more work with the lab once her PhD is complete. In the meantime, they’re hoping she’ll continue to be a member of the team, planning to Skype in with other virtual members for team meetings.”

CLEAR members are looking forward to our continued relationship with Ayo in the near future!