The danger posed to small Pacific Islands nations by rising sea levels is well known and often discussed, but this is not the only effect of climate change that is pertinent for Pacific Islanders.
The Samoan environmental scientist and academic Patila Malua Amosa has moved from the South Pacific to the deep south to study the chemistry of ocean acidification at the University of Otago, examining the ongoing effects of this global warming-related phenomenon on marine life.
Patila, who normally lives in Samoa, but travelled to Dunedin to do her master’s in Environment Science several years ago, says it’s great to be back in Dunedin and starting her PhD.
“I love Otago,” she says. “I had a great experience here during my master’s study and that continues today. It can be difficult to transition from full-time work to full-time study, but the staff here are very welcoming and helpful.”
Full-time work for Patila in Samoa means her role as Head of Science and Biology Lecturer at the National University of Samoa, in addition to moderating secondary school examinations and co-ordinating workshops on disaster management.
Next to all of this, PhD study almost seems like it might be a relaxing sabbatical – a notion she laughs off.
“My work at Otago is challenging and rewarding,” she says. “In Samoa we just don’t have the kind of equipment we would need to do this kind of research. I’m very impressed by the resources and services available to students here.”