Tarn Drylie

I chose to study marine biology at Liverpool because I liked the broad range of modules available in the 1st year, and the ability to specialise the 2nd and 3rd years, as I had no idea which aspect of marine biology appealed to me most. In addition, Liverpool seemed like a great city to move to for someone who had never lived in a city before. It also wasn’t too far from home, but far enough that there wouldn’t be any unexpected visits!

I got the most enjoyment from the practical sides of the course, i.e. the field trips! At the time, the trips to Derrygonnelly and Millport felt incredibly intense and I’m sure I had dreams (/nightmares) about polychaetes for days afterwards, but they were great fun and set me up for carrying out my honours project more than I’d realised.

I now work for Natural England, as a Marine Adviser in the Irish Sea regional team. My job as an advisor involves a wide range of different things as I provide general support to the rest of the team (lead advisers, senior advisers and senior specialists in national teams). Over the last couple of months I have been involved in piloting new ‘Conservation Advice’ packages for designated sites within the Liverpool City Regions deal (Ribble & Alt estuaries SPA, Mersey Narrows & North Wirral Foreshore SPA, Mersey Estuary SPA), this involves identifying potential areas in our region where extensions of SPAs for Little terns may be appropriate, reviewing Environmental Statements for applications to dredge for marine aggregates in the North Sea, organising a training workshop  with CMACS around the analysis of drop down video images for both Natural England staff and external colleagues, and writing responses to the Marine Management Organisation containing Natural England’s advice relating to various Marine Licence Applications. As well as all of this I carry out general ‘house-keeping’ tasks with the other Advisers, such as managing the team mailbox, helping colleagues transfer electronic files to a new records management system and booking rooms for meetings around the country.

Lots of aspects of my undergraduate training help me in my current job! Despite the practical field trip aspects of the course being my favourite, so far I have found it is the report writing, statistics and impacts on marine environments modules that have really enabled me to successfully do my job. It was initially difficult for me to grasp the political legislation side of the work, but having a good understanding of the science behind our processes helped me to make sense of this.