eXXpedition North Pacific crew member and marketing professional Meg Tapp tells us more about Leg 2 lead scientist and microplastic researcher Imogen Napper…
“Where can I even begin to describe Imogen Napper?
From the second we all gathered at the harbour in Vancouver, she was raring to go, and has been a crucial member of the eXXpedition team ever since. From getting stuck in with the cleaning and maintenance of the boat, to being a patient and hugely knowledgeable lead scientist, she really has been at the centre of everything we have done.
The biggest OMG moment for us all came on Day Two of the trip – Sunday 22nd July. As part of the experience, we were all tasked with giving the rest of the team a presentation about ourselves, looking at what journey we have taken to get to eXXpedition. Imiy’s presentation was a whistle-stop tour through her absolutely remarkable achievements in her field, and all of us felt pretty starstruck by the end of it.
Imogen is a National Geographic Sky Ocean Rescue Scholar and we were all stunned to find out that Imiy and her team back at the University of Plymouth had led the research into microbeads in facial scrubs. This research contributed enormously to the legislation banning microbeads in the UK. I can remember one of my school friends sending me a screenshot of the BBC article when the legislation was passed, and having a long conversation about what a big deal this was. To have actually now met one of the leading brains behind that moment is hugely exciting, and I really do feel honoured to have met such a phenomenal young woman.
Aside from being a total genius, Imiy is an excellent leader and very patient teacher. She has been a huge help to all of us when it has come to the science, explaining very complex topics in terms we can all understand, and I think we all feel confident taking some of this knowledge home with us to share the key messages. Imiy is an accomplished sailor as well, so really it feels like there are no limits to her talents. Having said that, her artwork based on our location at anchor in the Georgia Strait was a definite work in progress, so it is actually super reassuring to see that she is in fact a human.
You would struggle to find a more welcoming, humble, and hard-working woman. She has been around the world with the Royal Navy, and assisted with the aid relief in the Caribbean in 2017, working as a military liaison officer between the UK military and a disaster response unit. She clearly cares deeply about the work she does and the impact that strong research can have on t he global plastic situation.
She’s also the best person to keep you going during a night watch while you’re battling with the rain, wind, and fog.
I’m so glad we have had Imiy on board, and I cannot wait to see what she does next. She has promised to take me surfing in Plymouth before a proper fish and chip dinner, so I’m sure I will find out more about her truly exceptional work, and hopefully stay friends for a long time to come.”
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