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 Cameron Hird

Cameron Hird

PhD student

 Geoffrey Pope Lab 201


Geoffrey Pope Building, University of Exeter , Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QD, UK


Currently I am a PhD researcher at the University of Exeter studying the effects of pharmaceuticals and related organic contaminants on marine invertebrates. This research extends to cover investigating the influences that climate change events such as ocean acidification could have on the toxicity of these contaminants.

I first became interested in ocean acidification during my undergraduate degree where I had the privilege of working with Dr. Piero Calosi at Plymouth, looking at the life-history consequences of adaptation to ocean acidification in the marine polychaete worm Ophryotocha labronica.

Sticking with marine worms, my PhD work to date, in collaboration with AstraZeneca, has focused on the ragworm Hediste diversicolor as a model species for studying the effects of organic contaminants. Compounds which I have studied for this research include the antidepressant fluoxetine, neonicotinoid pesticides and illicit compounds such as cocaine, all of which are present in marine and estuarine environments worldwide and have the potential to impact our ecosystems.

Outside of work I am a keen hobby marine aquarist and hobby numismatist. I love to SCUBA dive when I have the chance and I am a passionate supporter of Norwich City Football Club.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Pharmaceuticals in the environment
  • Ocean acidification
  • Biology of invertebrates
  • Aquatic ecotoxicology
  • Scientific outreach and teaching


PhD Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, 2014-Present
1:1, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology, Plymouth University, 2011-2014
HSE Part IV Professional SCUBA Diver, 2012


Research projects

Project Title: Ecotoxicology in the Benthic Zone: Investigating Life-History Factors that Influence Species Sensitivity

Supervisors: Tamara Galloway, Ceri Lewis, Jason Snape (AstraZeneca)

Funding Body: BBSRC / AstraZeneca CASE Award

Project Description:
Aquatic invertebrates make up over 95% of the species that live in marine and freshwater habitats, yet we know very little of their biology or the factors that contribute to species sensitivity. Of particular importance are those organisms that have adopted a benthic (bottom-dwelling) lifestyle, since they greatly influence ecosystem functions including energy flow, nutrient cycling and sediment mixing. This project aims to investigate whether life-history strategies, such as feeding mechanism, alter the species sensitivity of aquatic invertebrates to common organic pollutants, including pharmaceutical chemicals. Furthermore, climate change mechanisms such as ocean acidification have the potential to alter the bioaccumulation and effects of these contaminants, hence this project will investigate this further.


Hird, C.M., Urbina, M.A., Lewis, C.N., Snape, J.R. and Galloway, T.S. (2016) Fluoxetine exhibits pharmacological effects and trait-based sensitivity in a marine worm. Environmental Science and Technology 50:8344-8352


Supervision / Group

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