Megan Phillips - UTS Environmental Biology
[Shot of UTS tour Building, panning to shot of Megan on science building roof]
Hi, you made it- thanks so much for coming! If you’d like to follow me.
Text: The Graduate Tour Botanical Science
[Camera fast-forwarded following Megan walking across roof]
Hey you’ll need one of these
[Megan hands interviewer lab coat]
[Interviewer]: Thank you
You’re welcome and here’s my research greenhouse
[Camera follows Megan into greenhouse which shows various potted plants]
[Interviewer]: Well this is impressive
[Interviewer]: So environmental biology- what is that?
So environmental biology is the study of the natural world so it can be anything from ecosystems and global patterns right down to microscopic cellular organisms
[Interviewer]: Right, so why is that important?
Well a lot of people really like “whys” but I’m really interested in the “hows” and how things work, so environmental biology basically explores how things work together in nature and from that you can get things like solar panels and water purification.
[Interviewer]: So what’s one thing I wouldn’t know about botanical science?
Would you like some plant trivia?
Okay so, the fastest growing plant that we know of is a species of bamboo and it can grow up to 90cm in a single day.
[Interviewer]: So what are you working on here?
This is a phytoremediation experiment, so I’m looking at plants that can extract contaminants from surface landscapes.
[Interviewer]: And if you had to simplify that a little bit more?
Okay so basically what I’m interested in is measuring how plants can absorb nasty things like heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbons from soils and then you have a look at the effects of the contaminants on the plants. So if you want to have a look at this leaf for example, can you see all those little yellow spots there?
That’s basically where there’s a lot of contaminant in that leaf and it’s starting to show signs of distress and it might die and drop off in a couple of days.
[Interviewer]: Wow, so what did you study?
I studied environmental biology and followed it up with a PhD in invasive plants
[Interviewer]: I’m guessing you studied all three sciences in high school.
I did, so I studied geography and chemistry and biology.
[Interviewer]: And what’s a misconception about science?
I think a lot of people think that science is laboratories and Bunsen burners and that’s all it is, but there’s actually a lot of travel involved and you can see a lot of the world depending on what you’re doing so a lot of my work as a botanist is in forests, but I’ve also measure coral species and fish on the Great Barrier Reef and a pod of whales swam by while we were doing that- it was magnificent.
[Interviewer]: Well thank you so much for giving us a tour, we’ll show ourselves out!
My pleasure, thanks for coming!
[camera fast-forwards exiting greenhouse]