EXPERT - On all things ocean, Emily Hoad is helping the Cleaner Ocean
Foundation fine tune SeaVax for eventual development in the English
Channel before launching onto the the international stage with free licenses
to partners worldwide as part of a World Ocean Anti-plastic Alliance (WOAA).
Emily graduated with a first in her masters report on White shark behaviour, and a 2:1 overall in Marine Biology from the
University of Southampton. She said: "It’s been an incredible four years and I’m
excited for the next chapter!"
Hoad is a Marine Biologist and Oceanographer, bringing her considerable
expertise to the SeaVax project with a dedicated study of the state of the
art instrumentation that could be incorporated in a production SeaVax,
also including higher end sensors for research and development purposes.
She is working with the designers of the ocean cleaning craft to help
improve the efficiency of the collection of marine plastic.
Her mission is to define the objectives, help the engineers refine the
existing filtration stages and improve and develop future feedback loops,
so that SeaVax
is able to read the ocean and tune itself to the plastic
particles in the water,
in the process identifying and bypassing marine life.
is a gigantic undertaking for any organisation, but by applying her
expertise as part of a team effort, and with equal enthusiasm from all the
project members, Emily hopes to help the Foundation move the project on
from the conceptual and development stages to the open sea as a prototype.
Fishing nets that are trapped on these beach timbers may look in keeping
with this shoreline, but those nets soon break down into micro particles
that will enter our food chain. Copyright © photographs, 31 July 2018.
All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.
The current state of microplastic pollution has been globally recognized as having reached a critical pinnacle. In 2010, 12 million metric tonnes of
plastic were estimated to be present in the ocean, with an addition of 8 million metric tonnes being inputted per annum. Of this, 236 thousand tonnes are composed of microplastics; defined as being less than 5mm.
Microplastics bear similarity in size and motility to marine microbiota known as
plankton and the presence of these microorganisms is essential to total ecosystem functioning. Fundamentally, they are composed of two separate taxa, namely
phytoplankton and zooplankton. Phytoplankton are the basis of all marine pelagic foodwebs, where solar energy is harnessed and converted into a primary organic energy source. Then the
zooplankton, as primary consumers of the phytoplankton, are responsible for the initial transfer of primary
energy to successive higher trophic levels.
The amount of ocean plastic is set to increase by a factor of 10 by 2020 and by 2050, it is predicted that at the current rate of input and accumulation, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by dry mass).
Whilst marine plastic is prevalent in surface waters, specifically 0 – 2.5m, traces have been found at depths of 11km below sea surface level (henceforth abbreviated to SSL), meaning synthetic polymers are contaminating even the most remote regions of
Sources of marine microplastic are either primary: derived from many popular daily use
cosmetics (one bottle of facial exfoliant alone contains around 300,000 microbeads) or secondary; present from the degradation of macroplastics via ultraviolet radiation and mechanical weathering.
Many marine organisms cannot distinguish plastic from food and often starve by the accumulation of non-digestible plastic in the gastric system.
The Great Pacific Gyre has the largest aggregation of plastics and it is estimated that 80% of seabirds feeding here have ingested plastic; other marine animals having 74% [dry mass] plastic debris-composed diets.
Toxin accumulation is occurring through successive trophic level transfer in marine food webs. With fish being the primary protein source for 16% of the global population, it means that microplastics are prevalent in many human diets. For example, one 6-oyster serving, it is estimated 50 particles of microplastic will be heedlessly consumed.
Components of plastics are carcinogenic. For example, vinyl chloride, the major component of the common plastic
PVC, is a known human
Tackling the problem from the source, which ultimately involves removing microplastics from the ocean without harming the extant biology.
SeaVax will be a fully autonomous machine that has the ability to differentiate and separate marine biota from man-made polymer. It will collect micro to macro sized plastic via non-invasive ocean filtration with minimal –ve impact for maximal +ve effect.
CLIFFS - The famous cliffs on the south coast of England looking
across to France. This secluded beach, leading up the the Seaford Head
nature reserve looked free of plastic waste, but on closer inspection,
even here we found several familiar single use plastic bottles. Copyright
© photographs, 31 July 2018. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean
Foundation Ltd and Emily Hoad.
BOTTLES - All the usual culprits. We spotted these household names on
the beach at Exceat near Seaford Head on the south coast of England.
Companies who sell goods in plastic containers could offset their plastic
footprints by contributing to our ocean research. Copyright © photographs, 31 July 2018. All rights
reserved, Cleaner Ocean Foundation Ltd.
ON LINKEDIN - Emily was born in Hong Kong with 14 years expatriate upbringing in
U.A.E. She Recently (July 2018) graduated with BSc double honours in Marine Sciences.
- University of Southampton, Degree Name Bachelor of Science - BS
Field Of Study Marine Biology and Oceanography. Dates attended or expected graduation 2015 – 2018
Activities and Societies: Southampton University Marine Conservation Society, Southampton
University National Oceanography Centre Society, Southampton University Wakeboarding Society, Southampton
University Kitesurfing Society, Southampton University Ski and Snowboard Society Southampton University Sub-Aqua Society, Southampton University
Surfing Society Southampton University Skateboarding Society.
Dubai College, Degree Name GCSE
Field Of Study A-Levels: Biology, Geography, French & Art. Dates attended or expected graduation 2007 – 2014
Activities and Societies: Clarinet Choir, Competitive Swim Squad,
Netball Squad, Intermediate Band, Senior Choir, Breakdance, Scuba
Roedean School, Brighton - Grade AS Level - Dates attended or expected graduation 2012 – 2013
Activities and Societies: Netball Team, Swim Squad, Art and Crafts,
Drama Society, French Speaking Club.
In her first year of Marine Biology at Southampton University, Emily travelled
to Dubai for the winter holidays and volunteered in the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai. For two weeks
she was an assistant aquarist, aiding the running and maintenance of both large and small
exhibits, as well as front of house; building on her previous internship experience.
Powerboating Level 2
Proficiency In Personal Safety and Social
Proficiency In Personal Survival Techniques
Proficiency in Elementary First Aid Rescue
Clarinet & Bass Clarinet Grade 4
AWARE - Fish Identification Underwater
Dubai Community Action Service Award
DoE Gold Award DoE Silver
DoE Bronze Award Endeavour Prize 2008 Winner
Food Safety Level 2
Health and Safety Level 2 Primary & Secondary
CPR(BLS)/First Aid - Adult
Arabic, English, French
Emergency First Response Instruction
 Jambeck, J. R., et al. “Plastic Waste Inputs from Land into the Ocean.” Science, vol. 347, no. 6223, 13 Feb. 2015, pp. 768–771., doi:10.1126/science.1260352.
 Erik van Sebille et al 2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 124006
 Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit, Earth Day Network, 2018
 Lamb, Joleah B., et al. “Plastic Waste Associated with Disease on Coral Reefs.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 26 Jan. 2018, science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6374/460.
 https://coral.org/coral-reefs-101/coral-reef-ecology/coral-reef-biodiversity/https://www.earthday.org/2018/04/05/fact-sheet-plastics-in-the-ocean/ - _ftnref10
 WHO (2014). Global and regional food consumption patterns and trends. [online] Who.int. Available at:
 FAO (2017). The State of World Fisheries Aquaculture 2006. [online] Fao.org. Available at:
FUTURE OUR OCEANS? - The versatility of SeaVax™ is enhanced using a
modular approach that helps us to develop these ocean going machines into an economic tool for the long-term prosperity
of all fishing nations in the drive for a truly
© photographs, 31 July 2018. All rights reserved, Cleaner Ocean
became involved in the SeaVax project in the summer of 2018. She will be
helping to develop the filtration mechanism of SeaVax working with
computer and instrument technologists to mesh biology with engineering in
the quest to clean up our oceans without causing undue harm to marine
organisms. Conservation is the name of the game.
July 2018 Cleaner Oceans Foundation.