Credit Eleanor Church

Dr Emily Duncan is described on the Forbes website as “a sea turtle's hero”. Image courtesy of Eleanor Church

Exeter sea turtle expert on Forbes 30 Under 30 list

A University of Exeter researcher has been chosen for the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of innovators in science and heath across Europe. 

Dr Emily Duncan, 26, studies the impact of plastic pollution on marine life including sea turtles.

Described on the Forbes website as “a sea turtle's hero”, her work has taken her all over the globe, from Cyprus to the Ganges River to Australia.

She is now conducting research on young turtles through a grant from National Geographic, as well as her post-doctoral projects looking at plastic pollution and its wider impacts in the Mediterranean and the Ganges River system. 

"I am extremely chuffed about this,” said Dr Duncan, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“I am very grateful – now more than ever – to have had the opportunity to work with amazing people all over the world on the issue of plastic pollution." 

Dr Duncan’s current projects include INDICIT II, which is developing standardised tools for monitoring impacts on marine fauna as bio-indicators using loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean.

She is also part of National Geographic’s Plastic: Sea to Source, which uses river expeditions to better understand and document how plastic pollution travels from sources on land to the marine environment.

Professor Brendan Godley, who leads Exeter Marine, said: “We’re really proud to have excellent researchers like Emily as part of our team at the University of Exeter.

“The fact that Emily is a double graduate of the university is extra cause for celebration.”

The Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe: Healthcare and Science list contains “a collection of thinkers, dreamers and innovators from across Europe who are driving innovation and discovery from genetics to outer space”.

It includes talented people working within Europe, as well as Europeans who have taken their skills around the world.

  • Dr Duncan studied BSc Conservation Biology and Ecology and completed her PhD on the impact of plastic pollution on marine turtles, both at the Penryn Campus, before taking her current role.

Date: 18 March 2020