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Promotion Alice Burridge

Posted on 04-12-2017 by Toine Baken

We present to you: the promotion of Alice Burridge, 7 December!

 Promotion Alice Burridge

Thursday 7 December 2017 
14:00h sharp
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 229-231,

We are happy to announce the promotion of Alice Burridge on Thursday December 7th! The past years, Alice has been conducting fundamental research on zooplankton, specifically on pteropods (sea butterflies). She has been focusing on the following three research goals:

  • Reconstructing the evolution of pteropods based on genetic and fossil data;
  • Using integrative taxonomy to distinguish between species in the two pteropod genera Cuvierina and Diacavolinia;
  • Studying and describing the relation between ocean zones and gradients and the appearance of different pteropod species along a transect across the Atlantic.

In 2014, Alice has spent 7 weeks on a research vessel in the Atlantic Ocean to collect samples. She collected morphological and genetic data as well as data on pteropod species compositions, density and biomass. She also studied material from collections around the world and added data from previous studies on these groups. In her results, she presents a phylogeny for shelled pteropods, an integrative method of identifying species within the genera Cuvierina and Diacavolinia using geometric morphometric and genetic data, and pteropod species distributions showing distinct zones for species based on biogeochemical provinces in the Atlantic Ocean, such as temperature gradients and chemical composition of the water.  

“The research is a fundamental addition to our knowledge of zooplankton and an important foundation for new research on these groups”, Alice explains enthusiastically. “It is also of importance for research on climate change and ocean acidification, since knowledge of zooplankton species distributions is essential for monitoring the effects of climate change on marine life”. This knowledge is also useful to create public awareness on what resides in our oceans. “People are unacquainted with plankton, which is a shame”, she adds. 

To a question about any nice research expedition anecdotes, Alice replies: “I have two! On an English ship, English traditions are not thrown overboard. At dinner time, fancy waiters served our soup in deep plates, instead of more stable bowls. This sometimes led to hilarious scenes, especially 40 degrees south of the equator and more since those waters are rough. You’ll find the soup anywhere, except on your plate. Another tradition is a so-called “Crossing the line” ritual: when someone crosses the equator for the first time, the other crew members get to throw some very questionable substances at the person. I knew this would happen, so I hid in the cargo hold. They could not find me, so they called out on the speakers for me. They even thought I had jumped overboard!”

Most of the chapters of Alice’s study have already been published in ‘Progress in Oceanography’, ‘PLoS ONE’, ‘BMC Evolutionary Biology’ and ‘ZooKeys’.