Exploring ecosystems in Sweden

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology graduate: William Ashworth

Will Ashworth graduated from BSc (Hons) Marine Biology.  He is currently studying for a PhD with the Swedish University of Agricultural Science.

Studying at Plymouth

The main reason I chose to study marine biology at the University of Plymouth was the off-campus opportunities. 
The combination of practical work at the marine station and around the coast of Plymouth, field trips within the country, and international field trips were both rewarding and enjoyable, and also provided me with the hands-on practical experience.
The extensive field and lab experience has already served me well, and I anticipate will continue to do so throughout my career. One example that comes to mind, is that I was able to fix an issue within my fieldwork methodology by using equipment I had been taught to use at Plymouth (van veen grab). 

Plymouth is a very modern and progressive university, set in a beautiful and lively city. 

Studying there allowed me to refine my career aspirations. Before I started, I was eager to learn more about the field of marine biology but was lacking direction. My time at Plymouth allowed me to understand what it means to be a marine biologist, and furthermore explore the many career paths that were now available to me.
Marine station
Marine biology students on a beach
Aerial view of Plymouth Sound

Life since graduation 

After I graduated, I travelled to Sweden to study a masters in sustainable fisheries and aquatic ecosystems with the Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU). I then did a second masters in ethology with Stockholm University, and have now started my PhD, back at SLU.  
For my PhD, I am studying an interdisciplinary project, combining aquatic ecology/marine biology with agricultural animal nutrition.  The goal of the project is to use reeds from coastal ecosystems as feed for farm animals. 
Harvesting of the reed is beneficial for coastal biodiversity and can be a drought resistant source of food for livestock, which have in previous droughts had to be euthanized due to a shortage of animal feed. 
My research allows me to work with aquatic and terrestrial environments, exploring one of many links between the two. This is both interesting and an important, as these links can often be understudied.
The experience of living in Sweden is both fantastically fulfilling and exciting on a personal level, but also professionally. Between the differing research environments, and the Baltic sea offering a new ecosystem to explore, I believe that moving here has expanded my perspective of the natural world, and the international research community.
University of Plymouth alumni student, Will Ashworth
University of Plymouth alumni student, Will Ashworth
Image of lake in Sweden from University of Plymouth alumni student, Will Ashworth

Study marine biology at Plymouth 

In this hands-on degree, one of the best in the UK and with an international reputation, you’ll explore the diversity of marine life from coastal margins to the deep sea and gain an in-depth understanding of the biology of marine organisms. 
Teaching takes advantage of the South Devon coast as well as some of Europe’s best marine facilities – so you’ll have the opportunity to not just experience marine biology but to practice it at the highest levels in both the laboratory and out in the field.
At the beginning of their second year, Marine Biology students go on an experimental field course to Portugal