PhD student’s super seagrass speech
Nasim Shah Mohammadi, a PhD student with the University of Technology Sydney Climate Change Cluster (C3), has been awarded Best Oral Presentation at the 13th International Seagrass Biology Workshop (ISBW13) in Singapore after presenting her project ‘Molecular investigation of heavy metal stress in the seagrass, Zostera muelleri.’
ISBW13, the main event of the World Seagrass Association, was held at the National University of Singapore from 11-17 June in conjunction with the World Seagrass Conference (WSC).
“ISBW13 was a good opportunity to share my findings and for networking with professionals in the same area,” Nasim said of her success.
“I was pleasantly surprised and I was happy that I could communicate well with the audience in my presentation.”
The aim of Nasim’s PhD is to examine how excessive levels of heavy metals can affect the health of seagrass through its effect on photosynthesis efficiency, cellular pathways and related gene and protein expressions.
“This knowledge can provide valuable information for identification of applicable biomarkers and subsequently, implementing more effective conservation strategies for seagrass,” Nasim said.
Australia is home to the largest diversity of seagrasses, which are a crucial part of the marine ecosystem as the main food source for many organisms.
Unfortunately, seagrasses are declining worldwide at an estimated rate of over 7 per cent each year, with Z. muelleri in particular threatened by coastal development.
Through her project, Nasim aims to better understand why seagrass meadows are declining globally and identify some of these stress markers.
An international student from Iran, Nasim knew she wanted to be an environmental scientist at a young age, when she was always reminded of the importance of protecting the environment.
“I believe by doing research in climate change I can play a part to provide evidence and increase public awareness about the urgent need to make fundamental changes,” she said.
Nasim is currently focused on completing the final six months of her PhD, but has big dreams for the future.
“In my dream job, I would want to work as a molecular biologist, where I could work with like-minded people who help each other both professionally and personally.”
Nasim is thankful to UTS and C3 for their ongoing support throughout her PhD and providing financial aid for her to attend ISBW13.