Emily Kearl


PhD Researcher

E-Mail Address

Job Description

I joined the ERI in April 2016, when I started a PhD studying the potential for discarded marine plastic to be recycled as a low-cost sorbent for the removal of organic contaminants from wastewater streams. What drew me to this project was that it essentially aims to solve two problems simultaneously; an overwhelming abundance of marine plastic litter, and the unregulated release of pharmaceuticals into the environment through sewage effluent. Interdisciplinary environmental science at its finest!
This project is linked to Circular Ocean, a Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA)-funded programme aiming to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for marine plastic waste, by inspiring entrepreneurs to realise the opportunities that come with discarded fishing nets and ropes in the NPA region.

I am supervised by Prof. Stuart Gibb, Dr Neil James, Dr Mark Taggart and Dr Kenneth Boyd.


2015-2016: Teaching laboratory technician in Chemistry, University of Southampton

2012-2015: BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, Plymouth University


Turner A, Kearl ER & Solman KR (2016) ‘Lead and other toxic metals in playground paints from South West England’ Science of the Total Environment 544, pp 460-466


I graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2015 with a BSc in Environmental Science. This was focussed on environmental contamination and ecotoxicology, with my undergraduate honours project being on the bioavailability of metals in paints from children’s play areas. This research sparked international interest, and being involved in the process from start to finish made me realise that I wanted to continue in scientific research. Upon finishing my undergraduate degree, my focus turned to the marine environment. Having always lived by the coast and enjoyed the sea for recreation, I’ve been increasingly aware of marine litter and pollution, and seen first-hand the impacts caused. This PhD and the location of the ERI have provided me with the perfect opportunity to combine my research interests with my personal interests.