The world is her oyster: Educational videos net award for rockpooler
Published on 4 October 2021
Life’s a beach for a University of Dundee student whose educational videos have received a coveted national award
Elizabeth Mills is passionate about the sea and the life that lives within the water. Over the past five years she has shared waves of information about marine life on her website and YouTube channel, exploring the creatures on our shores and encouraging others to do the same.
She has been named as winner of the New Researcher category of the Royal Society of Biology Outreach and Engagement Awards 2021, which acknowledges her work to inform, enthuse and engage the public.
Working under the alias Marine Mumbles, the PhD Civil Engineering student self-produces weekly videos that highlight the weird and wonderful creatures on our shores. Taking audiences on a virtual adventure through the marine world, Elizabeth’s videos educate viewers about the species that inhabit our beaches, from fish and crabs, to sea slugs and snails.
“I started these platforms as a bit of fun,” said Elizabeth. “I want to share what I know and thought it would be a good opportunity to learn some new skills. Initially I didn’t think that anyone would actually follow along or listen, and now people are listening. Now I have this amazing online community and get to share a really important message.
“When we are more connected to the ocean, we are inclined to protect it. The more we care, the more we want to make active changes.
“I'm so shocked and honoured to receive this award. It’s so nice that the work I’m doing is being recognised.”
Elizabeth’s research at Dundee focuses on the effects of concrete on biofouling – where marine life accumulates on man-made structures such as harbours. Having graduated with a degree in Marine Biology from Swansea University, she came to Dundee’s School of Science and Engineering to learn more about how human and marine life interacts.
Alongside a busy study schedule and filming and editing regular video content, Elizabeth also produces marine-themed scientific art. This year she ran online art workshops on her YouTube channel, with over 200 children and adults participating. This month she is running a scientific art challenge, posting marine artwork and facts on her Twitter account and encouraging her followers to create their own.
“I have so many ideas for the future,” she said. “This award is an opportunity to share my work further and reach even more audiences.
“I’d love to see my platforms grow and eventually move it from online to in-person, offering rockpooling sessions and interacting with more people.
“One thing on my list is to go rockpooling in Australia. They have the blue-ringed octopus which is one of the world's most venomous marine animals. I really want to see one.”
Elizabeth will present her work and discuss her public engagement experiences at the Outreach and Engagement Awards taking place on Wednesday 6 October as part of Biology Week 2021.
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