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Sydney Lundquist

Sydney Lundquist

MPhil Student

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building
Office Phone: 07712338740

Biography:

New to the UK, I am a Master's student pursuing an MPhil in Zoology through the study of freshwater mussels in the Medway River with Dr. David Aldridge. In addition to my love for Biology and fieldwork, I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, running, sporting, and reading in my hammock. I am originally from Virginia Beach in the United States and plan to work with the Virginia Beach Aquarium's marine conservation program in the future.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in Biology, Ecology, and Zoology and have recently been leaning toward marine conservation. I am passionate about conservation and sustainability practices aimed at establishing healthy ecosystems that can benefit human beings as well as the native wildlife.

During my undergrad at Washington and Lee Univeristy, I studied how the current population of bison and their subsequent grazing and excrement affect the ecosystem health in Yellowstone National Park. My work included analyses of soil, bison urine, and bison dung samples using KCl extractions (quantifying Nitrate, Ammonium, and Phosphate levels), PCR, mass spectrometry, 96-well Eco plates, and mason jar incubations (using HCl titrations to quantify CO2 levels). This research not only provided me with experience on various lab techniques, but also gave me the opportunity to work in the field during the summer of 2016. In Yellowstone, I was able to set up field experiments, collect soil and dung samples for analyses in the lab, and experience the native wildlife- studying their behavior and adapting my work so as not to disturb their natural ecosystems.

During my time spent at the University of Cambridge, I have the unique opportunity to study two British waterways (the River Medway and Thames) during river draw-downs. Using government-run chemical analyses, I will investigate the ecological impact of freshwater mussel populations and their corresponding distribution and abundance. Measuring mussels’ biomass, filtration levels, population counts, distribution, age, length, and individual weights will allow me to create a model system for further studies performed in nature.

Ultimately, I want to lead a research team focused on restoring ecosystems by re-establishing wildlife, nursing food webs back to health, and implementing sustainable land and water use techniques. This will require involving local people in our projects to ensure their understanding of the land and its maintenance. This type of restoration and education will help alleviate poverty by giving people access to fruitful land, healthy water, and knowledge about the environment's resources. Through the research of efficient, sustainable conservation efforts, I will be able to combine my love of wildlife with my desire to provide humans with environmental benefits. Eventually, I aspire to start a non-profit organization in which volunteers, especially high school and college students, spend weeks on conservation, restoration, and preservation projects aimed at creating better living environments for people and animals alike.