Louisa Watts

Education and Outreach

LouisaI have a degree in Chemistry, and a MSc. and PhD in Oceanography (from the University of Southampton/Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban).  After my PhD, I carried out seven years of post-doctoral research with plenty of sea-going trips on British and international research ships and was lucky enough to present my work and teach in different countries, including teaching Oceanography with the Open University (OU). My research mainly focussed on the uptake of nitrogen by phytoplankton (oceanic plants) and its relationship to carbon fluxes in the ocean, which is important for estimating the degree to which the oceans can act as a sink for atmospheric carbon-dioxide, and understanding their relationship to climate.  During this time, I spent an exciting two years at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Canada, where I worked on numerical relationships (algorithms) to link optical and growth properties of phytoplankton with ocean properties that can be detected by satellites; this allowed us to further develop the computer modelling of phytoplankton growth on ocean-basin scales.  I have always been keen on communicating my research to the public and have given many talks at science festivals and to school children.


Returning from Canada, I worked for several years as Science Communications manager for the newly formed National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and on various aspects of science programme development with the Natural Environment Research Council, including building partnerships with Non-Governmental Organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).  During this time I also took on the role of editor for Challenger Society’s newsletter, which developed my writing and cajoling skills!

With a hankering to get back into education, I volunteered as a helper in adult maths evening classes at my local Further Education college.  This fuelled my interest in adult teaching and the psychology of learning, and resulted in me studying for a part-time Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in adult teaching, at Master’s level. Since graduating with my PGCE, I have been teaching adult maths courses and study-skills sessions at various colleges and in community settings.  I recognise the empowerment and individual wellbeing brought about by education and am a passionate advocate for increasing the accessibility of education to all people from all backgrounds.

I am delighted to be back on board with the Challenger Society, working on outreach and education; I am looking forward to combining my oceanography background with my experience of education in different settings.  I am particularly interested in promoting numerical, scientific and technical skills amongst learners of different ages and raising awareness of the exciting career opportunities that abound in the marine world!

Latest News

MARELEC 2017

Marelec17
The world’s foremost conference on marine electromagnetics incorporating an exhibition and poster session.

Read More


AMBIO VIII registration and abstract submission open!

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) are pleased to invite you to Oban for the Advances in Marine Biogeochemistry (AMBIO) VIII Conference 6 - 8th Sept 2017. The conference will present state-of-the-art research and technology in UK marine biogeochemistry.

Read More


Vacancy: Regius Professorship of Ocean Sciences

The University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, are on the search to fill one of the most prestigious roles in academia, a Regius Professorship.

Read More