PhD graduate Aleicia has chance for project in Amazon Basin

Published:11 December 2014

PhD graduate Aleicia Holland is looking forward to an opportunity for research in the Amazon Basin.

CQUniversity PhD graduate Dr Aleicia Holland will soon be packing for the adventure of a lifetime - researching water quality in the Amazon Basin.

"Growing up, I always wanted to be a biologist - and working on the Amazon is every scientist's dream!" she said. 

For her doctoral studies, the Rockhampton-based researcher looked into the influence of dissolved organic matter on the toxicity of acid mine drainage to freshwater organisms.

Leaving in January 2015, Dr Holland will be based in Brazil, she will be examining the influence of dissolved organic carbon on the toxicity of copper and nickel in the waters of the Amazon Basin.

She'll focus her study on freshwater systems including the black waters of the Rio Negro, the white waters of the Rio Solimões and the clear waters of the Tapajós River.

Dr Holland has successfully competed for an international 'Science Without Borders' Young Talent Postdoctoral Fellowship, placing her in the top 25% of successful applicants around the world. Her trip to Brazil will be her first time working overseas, and she said the work could be important for preserving the Amazon. 

"Understanding how the introduced elements affect the toxicity of fish will help protect the ecosystems - and it's a pretty crucial ecosystem to be protecting!" Dr Holland said.

She will be based at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA) in Manaus, Brazil, working with world-renowned researchers from the INPA and the University of British Columbia, Dr Adalberto Val and Professor Chris Wood.

Adalberto Val has published more than 120 refeered journal papers and has received the Commendation of the National Order of Scientific Merit in 2002, an Excellence Award from American Fisheries Society in 2004, and the Great Order of Merit of Amazonas State legislature in 2008 and in 2013. He was admitted to the class Grand Cross of the National Order of Scientific Merit and was the director of the National Institute for Amazon Research from 2006 until June 2014.

Chris Wood has published more than 625 peer-reviewed publications, 47 book chapters, and 5 books. Major awards include the Fry Medal, Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Society of Zoologists, 1999; NSERC Synergy Award, 2001; Canada Research Chair in Environment and Health, 2001-2014; Award of Excellence, Lifetime Achievement Award, American Fisheries Society, 2002; ISI Highly Cited Researcher Certification (Plant and Animal Biology), 2002 – present; Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 2003; Appointed Lifetime Distinguished University Professor, McMaster University, 2005; 10 External Distinguished Lectureships/Professorships; Miroslav Romanowski Medal in Environmental Science, Royal Society of Canada (2007); Lifetime Award for Mentoring in Science (Canada), Nature (2010); and the G.W. Bidder Lifetime Achievement Award, Society of Experimental Biology (2012).