Environment Question Time: panellist biographies
An introduction to the panellists who took part in our 2016 event
Panellist: Gaia Aplington, Environmental Consultant, AECOM
Gaia has over ten years of consultancy experience working with a range of clients including local governments, industrial and energy companies and private equity firms. She currently specialises in providing Environment, Health and Safety compliance management advisory services. Gaia has also contributed to several Environmental Impact Assessments focused on offshore oil and gas projects in sensitive coastal and marine environments.
Having worked as a marine research officer for several years prior to her current consultancy position, she has a strong knowledge and interest in marine ecosystems and key issues in coastal and marine environments, particularly conservation of cetaceans and marine birds.
Panellist: Harry Barrat, Final Year Undergraduate Student, Plymouth University
Harry has been elected twice as chair of UPSU’s Environment and Sustainability Forum. He is a Student Sustainability Ambassador at the Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF) and provides a student’s perspective at the University’s Sustainable Executive Group. That’s a lot of sustainability in one sentence, so to contrast he’s also a Writing Mentor at the Writing Café – run by the Learning Development Team.
Harry has recently come back from a year’s internship at Natural England and now, when he has a spare moment, he completes his coursework as a final year Environmental Science student.
Panellist: Maya Plass, Marine and Coastal Ecologist
A Plymouth University BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology graduate, Maya is director and founder of Learn to Sea, a marine education project based in south Devon.
Maya has appeared on natural history TV programmes as a guest presenter on BBC's Autumnwatch and was recently on BBC's Coastal Path (September 2016). Maya is a regular columnist for Coast magazine and writes for BBC Wildlife and Diver magazines. In 2013 she became an author of The RSPB Handbook of the Seashore (Bloomsbury).
Maya’s passion for marine conservation and campaigning had led her to raise money in sporting events and acting as patron for two charities: Sea-changers and MARINElife. She has also been awarded the accolade of a “top 10 wildlife tweeter” by BBC Wildlife magazine.
Panellist: Elliot Shubert, Natural History Museum, London
Elliot's research focuses on phenotypic plasticity and gene expression in algae, which he uses as an analogue for the investigating the origin of multicellularity.
He is also Editor-in-Chief of Systematics and Biodiversity, a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary and international journal published by the Natural History Museum and Taylor & Francis.
As a scientist, Elliot is keenly interested in biodiversity and conservation and measures that we should be taking to preserve and protect endangered animals and plants worldwide.
Panellist: Professor Iain Stewart, Chair in Geoscience Communication, Plymouth University
Iain is professor of Geoscience Communication at Plymouth University and Director of its Sustainable Earth Institute.
His long-standing research interests are in interdisciplinary investigations of geohazards (earthquakes, volcanism, tsunamis) and the communication of ‘contested geoscience’ to the public.
As part of his geo-communication he regularly presents Earth science programmes for BBC television, including Earth: The Power of the Planet; How Earth Made Us, How to Grow a Planet, The Rise of the Continents and Planet Oil.