Meet our Team
To plan an international event, we have assembled an international team with members from all over the world. Our team consists of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) who are active in plastic pollution research, policy and community engagement.
Post Doctoral Researcher
I am a physical oceanographer and post-doctoral researcher at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. I work in a team called TOPIOS or Tracking of Plastic In Our Seas, which aims at modeling where plastic ends up in the ocean. I am also working half-time on a material flow analysis of Dutch plastic waste to estimate how much ends up in the environment. I am the co-organiser of Ocean Plastic Webinars (live monthly online research talks). I co-ordinated the global Ocean Visions summit 2021 and co-founded OceanBRIDGES (co-hosting this workshop) that connects early career ocean professionals to experienced ocean professionals. I am always seeking news ways to get involved in public/stakeholder engagement and science communication project and events.
Kara Lavender Law
Sea Education Association
I study the sources, distribution, behavior and fate of plastic debris in the ocean. Trained as a physical oceanographer, I have more than 12 months of sea time on oceanographic and sailing research vessels, including in the eastern North Pacific and western North Atlantic Oceans where plastic debris accumulates in regions dubbed, “garbage patches”. My current research interests focus on the sources of plastic to the marine environment, understanding how ocean physics determines the distribution of plastic and other marine debris, and the degradation and ultimate fate of different plastic materials in the ocean. I am passionate about sharing our current scientific understanding of plastics in the environment to inform actions that will address this global pollution problem.
University of California
My capstone project is centered on understanding & co-addressing the impact of marine plastics (mainly microplastics) on key sea turtle nesting sites at Kenya's South Coast.
Associate Research Professor
Mississippi State University
I am a physical and satellite oceanographer with research interests in microplastics, ocean currents, ocean salinity, air-sea interactions, ocean data management, and ocean leadership and capacity building. I currently lead and manage NOAA’s marine microplastics database.
Isabela de Carvalho
University of São Paulo
I am an oceanographer with a Masters in Coastal Management. I am currently a PhD Candidate in Environmental Science at IEE/USP and a research scientist at the NOSS/USP focusing on public policies to solve the problem of plastics in the oceans.
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies & Centre for Marine Socioecology
My PhD looks at the physiological impacts of plastic ingestion on seabirds. I am part of the ECOP working groups on DEI and industry engagement.
Norlaila Mohd Zanuri
Centre for Marine and Coastal
Studies (CEMACS), Universiti Sains Malaysia
My current research focuses on marine pollution, mainly in microplastics, heavy metals and organic contaminants impact to marine organisms and ecosystem.
María Belén Alfonso
I am a biologist and an Associate Professor at the Center for Ocean Plastic Studies, a satellite institute of Kyushu University in Thailand. My work has focused on addressing the abundance, distribution, and transport of microplastics in aquatic systems, including the improvement of analytical techniques for its study. I am also a member of the Argentina network SEPIA (SciEnce for Plastic Impacts Argentina), which aims to coordinate plastic pollution research efforts and enhance relationships with decision-makers, NGOs, and society.
Norwegian University of Science
My research focuses on analytical chemistry applied to environmental science. I work with a diverse team of toxicologists but my focus is mainly on analysis of plastics in the environment and development of new methods for high throughput sampling and analysis.
Post Doctoral Researcher
University of KwaZuu-Natal
I have a PhD (2020) in marine ecotoxicology from University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. My research interests are in marine and estuarine ecotoxicology; and environmental impact on biodiversity and the environment. I am also interested in reducing Ocean Pollution for Climate Change Adaptation and mitigation.
Institute of Marine Sciences - National Research Council (ISMAR-CNR)
I am an Early Career Researcher with a PhD in Marine Ecology. I am a research scientist at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Italian Research Council (CNR-ISMAR) in Lerici, Italy. Since 2013 my work has been focusing on the spatial and temporal patterns of abundance, distribution, composition, transport and accumulation of plastic litter in the marine environment as well as on the harmonization of survey methods and sampling techniques for macro and microplastics in marine ecosystems.
National Institute of Marine Sciences & Technologies (INSTM)
A committed ECOP, a Fisheries & Environmental Engineer at INSTM working on H2020-CLAIM project and holding a MSc in operational oceanography. I am currently working with IOC Africa to coordinate & moderate the African regional kick-off conference (13-15 Dec) to develop an ECOP regional node within the UN Ocean Decade. I am also an active BlueMed Ambassador, dealing with citizen science and science diplomacy to tackle marine litter. I organized and moderated the global 24 hour-livestream event "Virtual Early Career Ocean Professional day (VECOP DAY)" in Timeslot 6. I am currently developing a start-up “Cyber Litter”, which was the winning project in the BlueMed Hackathon team challenge: tackling marine litter by gamification.