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Centre for

Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

Jordan Grigor

Jordan Grigor graduated from the Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology at HWU in 2011. Here's what he had to say about his experiences at Heriot-Watt....


And here's a quick update from Jordan on what he is up to now....

'....Since finishing my masters in Climate Change: Impacts & Mitigation at Heriot-Watt University, lots of good things have happened in my life. Although I already had my foot in the door of Arctic science before starting at Heriot-Watt (with a bachelor in Marine Science with Arctic Studies), Heriot-Watt really pushed me though. Thanks in big part to HWU, I'm now working on cutting-edge Arctic issues...

Jordan GrigorI'm currently a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, working on the ecology of small marine animals called arrow worms. The oceans are filled with them – the last time you went in the sea, you were surrounded by these guys, but you didn't even know it! In the Arctic it seems that arrow worms are important predators on even smaller animals known as copepods. But we don't really know much about them. In my PhD, I'm trying to work out what role arrow worms play in the Arctic food web.

The Arctic is changing, and it's changing fast. A recent article has been published in New Scientist magazine called "Climate Change: It's even worse than we thought". Since we already though it was bad, this has to be depressing! Many of the reasons scientists are saying this is due to recent changes in the Arctic. In 2007, there was widespread anxiety related to findings that Arctic sea ice extent (in September) was the lowest on the satellite record. In September 2012, the sea ice extent was much lower than in 2007...

Arctic plankton, like arrow worms, have special adaptations to what we call a "highly seasonal environment". In spring (and summer), there is a bloom of phytoplankton. At this time lots of food becomes available for the many animals. In winter, there is much less food available for them, for several reasons. But Arctic plants and animals are well-adapted to this situation, so that they don't go extinct when times get tough. They make the most of the rich food supplies when they're available (maybe they reproduce at this time of the year), and they migrate, hibernate or use other strategies when they're not.

CCGS Pierre-RadissonThere are currently concerns that the timing and duration of the phytoplankton bloom will change due to climate warming. Many scientists have predicted that the growth and reproduction of zooplankton could become out of sync with the bloom. Arrow worm offspring for example, may be produced at a bad time of year, which could be dangerous for the population. It's important questions like this that I'm exploring now. Find more information about my PhD here.

My masters at Heriot-Watt provided me with the perfect stepping stone into my PhD. I learnt so much about climate change during my time there. I particularly benefited from learning about how climate change could affect humans, as well as animals, but came away from Heriot-Watt with this positive notion that we can still make a difference. Now I attend a lot of conferences on a wide range of climate change issues, and try to do a bit of education though my blog.

I was also recently awarded a Bursary of Excellence for Leadership Sustainable Development from Laval

Heriot-Watt has really helped me out in my career, and I recommend the MSc Climate Change: Impacts & Mitigation to anyone who cares a lot about the future of the Arctic and our entire planet!'

Contact Jordan on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.