eXXpedition North Pacific crew member and TV researcher Beccy Finlayson introduces us to crew member, marine scientist and developing nations bursary recipient Laura Leiva

“Introducing Laura Leiva – marine scientist and all round inspiring lady who is dedicating her time to better understanding our marine environment and forwarding conservation efforts. Laura originally hails from tropical Honduras where she spent her summers on the coast swimming in the Caribbean sea and taking in the delights of the meso-american reef. At eighteen she boldly decided to study biology with a minor in marine ecology in Taiwan for five years taking all her courses in Mandarin. After that Laura spent two years in Panama where she studied sea urchins and crabs to better their evolutionary history. During her field studies she was shocked to see  beaches full of plastic which reminded her of the similar problems back home and its effects on ecotourism. 

With English and Mandarin already under her belt, and a native Spanish speaker, next stop for Laura was Germany where she took on her masters in marine paleobiology. In August 2018 Laura is moving to the small island of Helgaland off the German coast to start her PhD in lobster biology. With her experience on eXXpedition Laura intends to focus on the impacts of plastic on the lobster population to see if and how they are being affected and if so what can be done to help. 
On board Sea Dragon she’s been a friendly and reliable watch buddy, always up for a chat in the early hours, sharing stories from her travels and what the best dishes are in Honduras. We’ve seen her methodically collect and analyse sediment samples, carefully cut 30 strands of hair from each of us from mercury analysis and even conduct an interview on National Columbian radio in the middle of the night whilst fighting a strong bout of seasickness- what a trooper!
Beyond her PhD Laura has big ambitions to bring back this knowledge to her home country of Honduras and implement marine science education into schools and perhaps set up her own outreach programmes around the bay islands. With her vast knowledge base and excellent communication skills I have no doubt that we will see big things from Laura in the future.”