QAEHS in Focus: Steve Burrows

4 Jan 2021

QAEHS in Focus shines the spotlight on QAEHS staff and students to showcase the expertise and talent within our Centre.

Why did you choose QAEHS to study with?

On top of being set in a gorgeous part of the world here in Brisbane, QAEHS has built up a great reputation for environmental science within academic circles, as well as working with industry and government organisations. Given the chance, I jumped at the opportunity to come and study here!

What is your research about?

My work looks at microplastic pollution with quite a broad lens. At one end of the scale, I’m looking at microplastic behaviour, how variation in their surface characteristics impact how they interact with chemicals in the environment, hoping to contribute to our understanding of how microplastics are interacting with aquatic ecosystems. At the other end of the scale, I’m looking at how the public perceive microplastic pollution in the context of other environmental issues, looking to see how we might look to improve how we communicate environmental science to encourage more positive action!

How do QAEHS academics assist with the development of your research?

Our group at QAEHS spans an awesome breadth of subjects and home countries. This diversity, not only provides a significant range of expertise, meaning if you have a problem no doubt you can find someone here with a solution, but also means if you’re looking to develop a new project there’s a great mix of people to draw on for ideas!

What has been the best advice you have received about coping with the move to Brisbane?

Air conditioning is your friend.

What is your favourite movie?

I’d like to say something cultured like Citizen Kane, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Chicken Run. I can recite it word for word. You know it took a week to film every minute of that film? It’s art.

Random fact you would like to share about yourself.

My favourite animal is a vampire squid. What’s a vampire squid? I’m glad you asked reader.

It’s one part squid, one part octopus and one part gelatinous deep-sea hedgehog (curling into a spiky ball when threatened). It also has these big blue eyes which are apparently the largest, in proportion to their body (max 30cm), in the entire animal kingdom. Also, despite their pretty intense name, they actually just eat marine snow, which they collect with two retractable feeding filaments (which they have instead of the two feeding tentacles squid usually have along with their eight arms). In conclusion, they’re pretty cool.