Our Team

Name: Lizzy Cairns
Role: Expedition Co-Leader
Degree: Molecular and Cellular Biology
Year: 1

Lizzy is delighted to be co-leading the Iceland Expedition this year. She is in her first year of a Molecular and Cellular Biology degree at Glasgow University, having just returned to full time study after working and volunteering on various roles in the public and third sector over the last few years. Through this previous experience, she has learnt a number of biological survey and monitoring techniques, as well as project coordination and delivery – skills which she hopes will help to make the 2019 Iceland Expedition a roaring success! This years team will be running a number of projects in Iceland this summer focusing on seabird monitoring, invasive species and plastic pollution. Lizzy is really looking forward to seeing how these projects progress, as well as making some valuable contributions to the ongoing research at Skalánes Nature and Heritage Centre, where the team will be based. Lastly, Lizzy wishes to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the team so far – the generosity of friends, family and kind strangers is hugely appreciated, so thank you! Or, more appropriately, Þakka þér fyrir!

Agate moved to Glasgow after completing the International Baccalaureate program in Riga, her hometown. At uni, she has gotten involved with ZooSoc and ExSoc, and after meeting all the amazing and enthusiastic people in the societies, she has wanted further her engagement, and as such has applied to be a leader of the expedition this year. Agate has had various work and volunteering experience over the years, ranging from dishwashing to being a zookeeper at Riga National Zoo, to managing ZooSoc’s finances and ExSoc’s website, so she is very excited to use all of it while leading the expedition, and gain countless new, invaluable skills in return!

Name: Agate Baumane
Role: Expedition Co-Leader & Researcher
Degree: Zoology
Year: 3

Name: Erin Fowler
Role: Treasurer & Researcher
Degree: Geography
Year: 3

Erin is a third-year geography student and the treasurer for this year’s Iceland Expedition. She is also preparing to undertake her dissertation research on plastic pollution whilst out there. This is her second expedition as last year she was lucky enough to be a part of the Trinidad Expedition. Erin was able to help research turtles, bats, frogs and environmental hazards, and particularly loved working with the animals so she is looking forward to helping with the zoology projects in Iceland. In the past, she has volunteered for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and was the sub-editor of their first edition of the ‘Young Geographer’ which promotes youth involvement in environmental issues. Erin is very excited to be a part of this team and can’t wait to learn more about Iceland and its environment!

Eliška has always been curious about the world and fascinated by nature. She loves exploring new places, and that is why has joined the mountaineering club. Few years ago, she volunteered at a bear refuge in a Croatian national park, which inspired her to embark on a journey of becoming a Zoologist. Last year she volunteered for the RSPB to share her passion for wildlife with children. On her travels, she has witnessed the human impact on the environment and realised the need for conservation. She is excited to have the opportunity to carry out data collection for her Honours project in Iceland. She is hoping to investigate the impact of the marine plastic pollution on the local seabird colony. Her role in the amazing expedition team is to coordinate fundraising events. She is looking forward to experiencing the summer in beautiful Iceland and seeing the midnight sun.

Name: Eliška Kosová
Role: Fundraising Coordinator & Researcher
Degree: Zoology
Year: 3

Name: Andrew Matthews
Role: Social Media Coordinator & Researcher
Degree: Environmental Science and Sustainability
Year: 3

Andrew is a 3rd year Environmental Science and Sustainability from Kent. He is Social Media Coordinator and is hoping to bring an invasive species research project to Iceland. Andrew enjoys rambling round the varied natural landscapes of the UK and identifying as many species as possible along the way! He has previously contributed to a paleoenvironmental research project looking at fossilised pollen records preserved in peat fens and was also fortunate enough to have participated in an expedition to Sri Lanka last year which involved scientific diving to survey local fish assemblages. He will hopefully bring some of his nature-based experience to this expedition. The opportunity to study Iceland’s wildlife, contribute to conservation and possibly even scale some mountains would be impossible to refuse!

Thomas studies zoology and has been looking for a good excuse to return to Iceland since he went on vacation there just about two years ago. He didn’t have time to engage in much birding during his first visit, so this expedition gives his the perfect opportunity to do so. Outside of his course work he has contributed to projects with blue and great tits, insects, and clovers, all of which has shown him what life is like as a field researcher. Next year Thomas will take the next step in his academic career and will move to Munich for the MSci programme where he will study the evolution of taste perception in birds at the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology.

Name: Thomas MacGillavry
Degree: Zoology
Year: 3

Name: Vanessa Barry
Role: Fundraising Coordinator
Degree: Marine and Freshwater Biology
Year: 1

Vanessa is a first year Marine and Freshwater Biology student with a particular interest in ornithology. Growing up in New Zealand, Vanessa has plenty experience with wildlife and the great outdoors. Making the change in 2017 from a career in HR to follow her passion for nature, she began volunteering for the RSPB and Scottish Wildlife Trust in various roles from education and social outreach to helping on a nature reserve. At the start of her science career, she is very keen to learn new skills and gain valuable experience in research. Vanessa is very grateful to be able take part in this year’s expedition to Iceland and excited to explore this unique country and its wildlife.

Blair comes from Edinburgh on the east coast currently studying Geography and Politics with a lil’ Scottish literature on the side for his first year. Blair was instantly captivated by the expedition through his love of Iceland’s scenery and culture as well as his passion for geographical research. Whether it’s colouring in choropleth maps or colouring in land-use maps, he just can’t get enough. Blair already has some experience in field research, and also some experience in fundraising organisation, so hopes to be as much use as possible in preparations for the expedition.

Name: Blair Cunningham
Degree: Geography and Politics
Year: 1


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