Student Spotlight July 2020: Sebastian Stroud

Our monthly spotlight on the work and lives of the next generation of water@leeds researchers.

This month we introduce Sebastian Stroud

PhD title: Ecosystem services associated with aquatic plants in urban landscapes
School: Biology, Faculty of Biology
Supervisors: Dr Chris Hassall, Dr Julie  Peacock

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I grew up in Tunbridge Wells in Kent and spent a lot of my time racing around the local woods staring at beasties and climbing the ancient oak trees. I have had some odd and varied jobs, from working in medical publishing to being an underling for celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager. You may remember her from the timeless ITV classic “Ladette to Lady”.

Why did you choose Leeds University?

I did my MSc at the University of Leeds. It offered a really excellent selection of modules in subject areas I was keen to develop. For my PhD I mostly chose Leeds for the supervisor, I knew Chris from my MSc. He was instrumental in helping to draft our research proposal to NERC and my supporting me through the subsequent application.

What is your research about?

My PhD research proposes to examine the various mechanisms by which cities, and the urban environment more widely influence aquatic plant distribution and function. One particular interest of mine is the use the of green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and people’s perceptions of the services and functions they serve. Aside to my PhD topic I am also incredibly passionate about reinvigorating undergraduate curricula with plant ID and ecology options – something which has been neglected in recent decades.

What did you wish you knew before starting a PhD?

I apologetically emailed a previous PhD from our lab group for some advice on some survey questions- she immediately reminded me “First off never send work over and apologise in advance – you’re the expert remember, so have more confidence in your work”. This struck a strong chord with me.

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