Dr Winnie Courtene-Jones
Profiles

Dr Winnie Courtene-Jones

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Environmental Biology), Biodegradable Plastics

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Biography

Biography

Winnie is an environmental scientist, whose research focuses on understanding the environmental fate and prevalence of conventional and biodegradable plastics, their effect on organisms and ecosystems, to provide  appropriate science-led interventions
Since completing her PhD in 2019 (Microplastics in the deep sea ecosystem), Winnie has worked within the International Marine Litter Research Unit, at the University of Plymouth, first as 'eXXpedition science lead' researching microplastic pollution in the ocean globally (2019-2021) and now on the NERC-funded 'BIO PLASTIC RISK ' project. Here Winnie investigates the environmental fate of biodegradable plastics and their associated impacts on organisms and ecosystem function. 
Her scientific studies have led her to research plastic pollution in a variety of terrestrial and marine environments, from the coastline to some of the most remote parts of our planet including the deep sea and oceanic gyres.
Winnie has authored a number of publications and technical reports, has spoken at International conferences and at UK and European Parliament. Additionally she has extensive and varied science outreach-communication experience, giving interviews in multiple formats including TV, radio and print, recording podcasts, as well as participating in numerous events 

Qualifications

Academic Appointments:


Since 2021, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Plymouth 
  • NERC-funded 'Biodegradable bioplastics- Assessing the environmental risk' (Bio Plastic Risk)

2020-2021
, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Plymouth
  • Technical lead for delivering consultancy, business or industrial research and innovation contracts pertaining to plastics.
2019-2021, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Plymouth
  • eXXpedition Science lead
2015-2019,PhD student, Scottish Association for Marine Science
  • Thesis: "Microplastics in the deep sea ecosystem: a case study from the Rockall Trough, North East Atlantic Ocean"

 Education: 

2015- 2019 PhD "Microplastics in the deep sea ecosystem" University of the Highlands and Islands/Scottish Association for Marine Science
2012-2013MRes (Distinction) Marine Biology, University of Plymouth
2009- 2011BSc (1st class Hons.) Zoology and Animal Behaviour, University of Wales, Bangor

Professional membership

Roles on external bodies

Peer reviewer for:
  • Scientific Reports
  • Nature
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Environmental Science and Technology
  • Marine Pollution Bulletin
  • Frontiers
  • Sustainability
  • Waste Management
  • Water Research
Teaching

Teaching

Teaching interests

I teach on the MRes Marine Biology and MSc Marine Conservation courses at the University of Plymouth.

Staff serving as external examiners

  • 2023, MRes viva external examiner, Swansea University
Research

Research

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

  • Present; BSc Marine biology & coastal ecology, Allicia Fullarton
  • 2022-2023; MSc Applied Marine Science, Holly Scott
  • 2022-2023; MSc Applied Marine Science, Sze Harmony Cheung
  • 2022-2023; MRes Marine Biology, Devyani Chakravarty
  • 2022-2023; BSc Biological Science, Maia Shillam.
  • 2022-2023; BSc Marine biology & coastal ecology- Placement, Allicia Fullarton
  • 2021-Present; ResM Marine Science, Sophie Oxley 
  • 2021-2022; BSc Biological Science, Lily Munns 
  • 2021-2022, MRes Marine Biology, Holly Slade
  • 2020-2021; MRes Marine Biology, Anna Tidy
  • 2020-2021; MRes Marine Biology, Josh Smith

Grants & contracts

  • 2023, NERC Discipline Hopping Grant, ~£14,000
  • 2021, DEFRA, Terrestrial borne litter in the marine environment (EV0496), ~£19,000
  • 2020, Blue Marine Foundation, SAFE GEAR report, ~£10,000
  • 2018, Challenger Society, Travel award, £500
  • 2018, University of the Highland and Islands, £500
  • 2017, EuroMarine, Working Group Workshop: Orienting Young Scientists of EuroMarine (OYSTER), €5000
  • 2016, University of the Highlands and Islands, Travel award, £500
  • 2016, Marine Alliance of Science and Technology for Scotland, Annual Conference, £500
  • 2015, Strategic Insight Programme Award Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, £2000

Creative practice & artistic projects

Publications

Publications

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Journals
Articles
Courtene-Jones W, Burgevin F, Munns L, Shillam MBT, De Falco F, Buchard A, Handy RD, Thompson RC & Hanley ME (2024) 'Deterioration of bio-based polylactic acid plastic teabags under environmental conditions and their associated effects on earthworms' Science of The Total Environment 172806-172806 Publisher Site , DOI
Courtene-Jones W, Clark NJ & Thompson RC (2022) 'Plastic pollution requires an integrative systems approach to understand and mitigate risk' Emerging Topics in Life Sciences 6, (4) 435-439 , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, Clark NJ & Thompson RC (2022) 'Plastic pollution: the science we need for the planet we want' Emerging Topics in Life Sciences 6, (4) 333-337 , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, van Gennip S, Penicaud J, Penn E & Thompson RC (2022) 'Synthetic microplastic abundance and composition along a longitudinal gradient traversing the subtropical gyre in the North Atlantic Ocean' Marine Pollution Bulletin 185, (Part B) , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, Martínez Rodríguez A & Handy RD (2022) 'From microbes to ecosystems: a review of the ecological effects of biodegradable plastics' Emerging Topics in Life Sciences , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, Maddalene T, James MK, Smith NS, Youngblood K, Jambeck JR, Earthrowl S, Delvalle-Borrero D, Penn E & Thompson RC (2021) 'Source, sea and sink—A holistic approach to understanding plastic pollution in the Southern Caribbean' Science of The Total Environment 797, 0-0 , DOI Open access
Liu K, Courtene-Jones W, Wang X, Song Z, Wei N & Li D (2020) 'Elucidating the vertical transport of microplastics in the water column: A review of sampling methodologies and distributions' Water Research 186, , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, Quinn B, Ewins C, Gary SF & Narayanaswamy BE (2020) 'Microplastic accumulation in deep-sea sediments from the Rockall Trough' Marine Pollution Bulletin 154, , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, Quinn B, Ewins C, Gary SF & Narayanaswamy BE (2018) 'Consistent microplastic ingestion by deep-sea invertebrates over the last four decades (1976–2015), a study from the North East Atlantic' Environmental Pollution 244, 503-512 Publisher Site , DOI
Nuuttila HK, Brundiers K, Dähne M, Koblitz JC, Thomas L, Courtene-Jones W, Evans PGH, Turner JR, Bennell JD & Hiddink JG (2018) 'Estimating effective detection area of static passive acoustic data loggers from playback experiments with cetacean vocalisations' Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9, (12) 2362-2371 Publisher Site , DOI
Courtene-Jones W, Quinn B, Gary SF, Mogg AOM & Narayanaswamy BE (2017) 'Microplastic pollution identified in deep-sea water and ingested by benthic invertebrates in the Rockall Trough, North Atlantic Ocean' Environmental Pollution 231, 271-280 Publisher Site , DOI
Nuuttila HK, Courtene-Jones W, Baulch S, Simon M & Evans PGH (2017) 'Don’t forget the porpoise: acoustic monitoring reveals fine scale temporal variation between bottlenose dolphin and harbour porpoise in Cardigan Bay SAC' Marine Biology 164, (3) Publisher Site , DOI
Courtene-Jones W, Quinn B, Murphy F, Gary SF & Narayanaswamy BE (2017) 'Optimisation of enzymatic digestion and validation of specimen preservation methods for the analysis of ingested microplastics' Analytical Methods 9, (9) 1437-1445 Publisher Site , DOI
Courtene-Jones W & Briffa M (2014) 'Boldness and asymmetric contests: role- and outcome-dependent effects of fighting in hermit crabs' Behavioral Ecology 25, (5) 1073-1082 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Books
Horton A (2023) A Review of Biodegradable Plastics from Multidisciplinary Perspectives. World Scientific Press Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Chapters
Courtene-Jones W, Liu K & Li D (2022) 'Estimating Microplastics in Deep Water' Wiley 131-149 Publisher Site , DOI
Courtene-Jones W, Clark NJ, Fischer AC, Smith NS & Thompson RC (2022) 'Ingestion of Microplastics by Marine Animals' in Andrady AL Plastics and the Ocean: Origin, Characterization, Fate, and Impacts Wiley Online Library 349-366 , DOI Open access
Courtene-Jones W, Quinn B, Gary SF & Narayanaswamy BE (2017) 'Microplastics in the Final Ocean Frontier' Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems Elsevier 117-117 Publisher Site , DOI
Conference Papers

  • Courtene-Jones, W., Penn, E., Thompson, R. C., (2020) The abundance and distribution of plastics in surface waters of the Caribbean (oral), MICRO2020 International Conference
  • Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S., Narayanaswamy, B. (2016) Microplastics in the deep: an assessment from the Rockall Trough (oral), Micro2018 International Conference, Lanzarote

  • Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S. F., Narayanaswamy, B. E. (2018), Out of sight out of mind? Microplastic pollution of the deep-sea ecosystem, a study from the Rockall Trough, (oral) Challenger Society conference, Newcastle

  • Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S. F., Mogg, A. O. M., Narayanaswamy, B. E. (2017) Microplastics identified in deep-sea water and ingested by benthic invertebrates in the Rockall Trough (oral) Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland Annual Science Meeting 2017

  • Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S., Narayanaswamy, B. (2016) Microplastics in the Northeast Atlantic deep sea: developing and validating methods, (poster) 7th Late Summer Workshop: Microplastics in the aquatic environment. Haltern am See, Germany

  • Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S., Narayanaswamy, B. (2016) Microplastics in the final ocean frontier (poster), Micro2016 International Conference, Lanzarote

  • Courtene-Jones, W., Quinn, B., Gary, S., Narayanaswamy, B. (2015) Microplastics in the deep-sea, (oral) University of the Highlands and Islands Postgraduate research conference, Scotland



Reports

Courtene-Jones W & Thompson R (2021) Terrestrial borne litter in the marine environment – evidence review and quantifying the issue. DEFRA DEFRA Publisher Site Open access
Designs

Other Publications
  1. Scientists Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty (2023) Policy Brief: The global plastics treaty: What is the role of bio-based plastic, biodegradable plastic and bioplastic? (possible core obligation 8)
  2.  Scientists Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty (2023) Policy Brief: Role of chemicals and polymers of concern in the global plastics treaty, https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7941525
Personal

Personal

Reports & invited lectures

  • 2023, Aberystwyth University, Plastic Pollution: a journey from the deep sea to our agricultural soil
  • 2022, Invited keynote 'Biodegradable plastics in the open environment' Forest Research Conference
  • 2019, Invited speaker by Prof. Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham college to speak at Rosalind Franklin STEM conference, Newnham College, Cambridge University
  • 2018, Microplastics in the deep-sea, invited lecture at Alfred-Wegener Institute, Germany
  • 2018, Microplastics in the deep-sea, invited lecture at Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Conferences organised

  • International Conference on the Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials, 2023
  • Scientific Committee for MICRO2022
  • Marine Alliance of Science and Technology for Scotland, Annual General Meeting 2018, 'Microplastics' Session convener. 
  • Session chair, MICRO2020, International Conference (online)

Other academic activities

Media coverage:

Additional information

Awards:
  • 2023; Change Maker, runner up, Surfers against Sewage
  • 2017, National Student of the Year, awarded by P1 Marine Foundation
  • 2017, Johanna Fehling Memorial Prize for research Achievement, awarded by the Scottish Association for Marine Science
Selected outreach:

Links