Bethanie Carney Almroth: I study the effects of pollutants in aquatic environments
We've sat down with Prof. Bethanie Carney Almroth, researcher at the Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, and asked her a bit about his research.
Bethanie, what does your research focus on?
I study the effects of pollutants in aquatic environments, focusing on microplastic particles, chemicals and effects in fish. Microplastics are discussed a lot in different situations and contexts, but which we still have quite a few unanswered questions. Scientific research is a team sport, and environmental research is particularly interdisciplinary; there are so many important skills needed to be able to tackle problems. One of my strengths is that I enjoy collaborating, even when it's challenging! As a biologist, I can put my knowledge in a larger context by collaborating with social scientists, economists, lawyers and others outside the academy. I also find research to be very fun and exciting.
What is a project you are currently working on?
I have a few different projects that are currently running, and many of them are connected to plastics, chemicals in plastics, or microplastics. I am researching the toxicity of new biodegradable plastic materials, chemicals in recycled plastics, food packaging materials, and fibers in textiles and cigarette filters. I am also working with researchers in interdisciplinary groups looking at large scale collective action, planetary boundaries, and solutions oriented work.
Rumour has it that you've just been appointed professor? We have to congratulate you of course, but also ask the classic sports question - how does it feel?
In many ways, I will continue as usual. I continue to research, write articles, teach, lead my research group. But as a professor, I will have stronger a platform on which to stand, a recognition of my competence and expertise, which can help me reach out even better with my knowledge. I’ve already served as an expert in a few different contexts, contexts, ranging from coordinating Environmental Science Education in our department, to advising the Swedish EPA to coordinating a working group of experts on marine pollution for the UN. It has of course also been a personal goal to reach this position, so one thing to cross off the bucket list. And now, from a stronger position, I can help younger researchers develop their skills and careers.