Hugh O'Sullivan

Year of graduation: 2017

Current employer: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Current job title: Fisheries Liaison Officer

Current location: Lowestoft, Suffolk

Hugh talks to us about completing his masters at Plymouth

My masters project was 'Phytoplankton phenology and its effects on plaice and sandeel larvae in the North Sea'. I used a combination of old and new methods to assess the relationship of algal blooms and their importance in relation to the fisheries recruitment.

What was the most exciting element of your project?

I really enjoyed attending the 2016 Challenger Society Conference in Liverpool. It was a great opportunity to meet and talk to other scientists about my research and career interests. Attending conferences is a great way to get your name and research out there.

I also got to speak to some of the authors of papers I had referenced in my dissertation and discussed ideas for future research, as well as hearing what direction they thought the fishing industry is headed.

What have you have been doing since completing your research?

Working hard! I spend a lot of my time travelling around the UK sampling fish markets and commercial boats to provide data for our customers. This means one week I could be in Cornwall, the next Northumberland, and I love it.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

My advice would be to gain as much experience as possible, I don’t think that I would be in the position I am without my experience. Don’t feel that you have to do lots of volunteering as there are excellent funded bursaries out there. Although these are competitive, my motto would be to apply: you might surprise yourself!

How did your time at the University help you?

From the moment I entered my masters it was intense: learning new material and working hard to meet deadlines was tough. However, my confidence has increased and I now possess certain skills my colleagues do not, which allow me to be considered for other projects and positions.

Would you recommend undertaking research at Plymouth, and why?

My supervisor Dr Abigail McQuatters-Gollop was excellent; she pushed me to unlock my full potential. I can honestly look at my masters dissertation and say that I’m proud of what I have achieved. There are great facilities and personnel at the University that can cater for most research.  

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

I believe it’s all been worth it. I have a solid masters degree and I feel like I’m going places. The hard work definitely pays off, even when it didn’t always feel that way.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about our range of marine science courses within the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, please visit the school page.

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View of the sea and sands