This is part of our on-going series to introduce the fantastic scientists behind the science of eXXpedition Round Britain

Let’s meet Jeanette Rotchell!

About you

Name: Jeanette Rotchell
Institution Affiliation: University of Hull
Position: Professor of Aquatic Toxicology
Web URL:
General Research Interest: Environmental toxicology

Science and plastics

Briefly describe your background:
I work in the area of toxicology, in particular how organisms are impacted by various types of pollutants. My main areas of expertise are in genotoxicology (including cancer in fish) and endocrine disruption (reproductive damage) in bivalve species.
Why are you interested in plastics (or contaminants) in the marine environment:
We are conducting a UK-wide survey of the levels of microplastics in the flesh of mussels as well as investigating the uptake potential of various pollutants that may be adsorbed on microplastics.
What’s the most interesting thing you have discovered through your research? (Plastics or otherwise!)
We have yet to find a single mussel from a UK coastal sampling site that does not have microplastic in its flesh.
What advice would you give citizen scientists?
Citizen scientists have an absolutely critical role to play in raising the wider public’s awareness and, as a result, in providing impact and pressure to convince policy makers that change is needed.

Quick-fire fun!

Who do you admire the most (dead or alive)? Rachel Carson

What’s the most delightful word you can think of? Chocolate

What gives you hope for the future of our marine environment? Our children’s generation understand the need to protect the marine environment far more than older generations.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
If your work is something you enjoy and you are passionate about it, it does not feel like work.
What’s your favourite marine creature?
The Hawaiian State fish – Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, a reef triggerfish
If you could put just one thing at the top of your bucket list, what would it be?
I wish I could dive in New Zealand, and see their seahorses and seadragons.

Thank you Jeanette – for answering our questions and for helping us with eXXpedition Round Britain!

Keep your eye on our blog for more scientist and crew interviews, as well as regular crew updates as our team sails Round Britain!