La Daana Kanhai

PhD Candidate in Doctoral Program Marine Ecosystem Health and Conservation (MARES)

PhD Project Title: Microplastic distribution and ecological interactions across latitudinal gradients

Supervisors: Dr Ian O’Connor (GMIT, Ireland), Prof. Richard Thompson (Plymouth University, UK), Dr. Philip White (GMIT, Ireland)

Institutions: Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland; Plymouth University, UK

Plastic debris in the world’s oceans is an issue of global importance due to the negative impacts which these substances may have on marine biota and the services which they provide. Although much attention has been directed towards macroplastics, it is only within the past two decades that microplastics (i.e. plastic particles < 5 mm in diameter) have emerged as a contaminant of concern for the marine environment. Due to their small size, microplastics are capable of interacting with organisms which play critical roles in marine food webs. My project will therefore address existing knowledge gaps regarding marine microplastic pollution in the oceans (e.g. biota-rich waters, Polar Regions such as the Arctic Ocean).


MPhil Environmental Biology
The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, 2013
Dissertation Title: Metal and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad, West Indies
Supervisors: Dr Judith Gobin, Dr Denise Beckles, Dr Azad Mohammed

BSc General with a double major in Environmental and Natural Resource Management and Chemistry (First Class Honours)
The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, 2007
Final Year Chemistry Research Project: The synthesis, characterization and testing of a chiral monosubstituted squarate ligand.
Supervisor: Prof. Lincoln Hall

Professional Memberships
Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust
Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS)
The Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club (TTFNC)
Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)

Selected Publications
Kanhai, L.D.K., Gårdfeldt, K., Lyashevska, O., Hassellöv, M., Thompson, R.C., O’Connor, I., 2018. Microplastics in sub-surface waters of the Arctic Central Basin. Marine Pollution Bulletin 130, 8-18.
Kanhai, L.D.K., Officer, R., Lyashevska, O., Thompson, R.C., O’Connor, I., 2017. Microplastic abundance, distribution and composition along a latitudinal gradient in the Atlantic Ocean. Marine Pollution Bulletin 115, 307-314.
Kanhai, L. K., D. Singh, B. Lauckner, K. L. Ebi, and D. D. Chadee. 2016. Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Coastal Communities in Trinidad and Tobago about Tsunamis. Natural Hazards 81 (2):1349-1372.
Kanhai, L. K., J. F. Gobin, D. M. Beckles, B. Lauckner, and A. Mohammed. 2015. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Crassostrea rhizophorae and Cathorops spixii from the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 22: 1366-1379.
Kanhai, L. K., J. F. Gobin, D. M. Beckles, B. Lauckner, and A. Mohammed. 2014. Metals in sediments and mangrove oysters (Crassostrea rhizophorae) from the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 186: 1961-1976.

Conference Presentations (Poster)
Kanhai LDK, Officer R, O’Connor I, Thompson RC. (2016) Investigation of the abundance, distribution and composition of microplastics at coastal upwelling sites in the Atlantic Ocean. PeerJ PrePrints. Second Mares Conference on Marine Ecosystem Health and Conservation, 1st-5th February 2016, Olhao, Portugal.

Conference Presentations (Oral)
Kanhai, La Daana Kada, Judith Gobin, Denise M. Beckles, and Azad Mohammed. 2012. A Risk Assessment of Metal and PAH Contamination in the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad. 6th Biennial Caribbean Environmental Forum and Exhibition (CEF 6)/16th Annual Wider Caribbean Waste Management Conference (ReCaribe), 21-25 May 2012, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Kanhai, La Daana Kada, Judith Gobin, Denise M. Beckles, and Azad Mohammed. 2012. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Contamination in the Caroni Swamp, Trinidad, West Indies, 9th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference, Wetlands in a Complex, 3rd-8th June, Orlando, Florida.

Relevant Certification and Training Courses
Early Career Scientist Program onboard Swedish Icebreaker Oden (August 8th – September 20th, 2016)
Floating Summer School: North/South Atlantic Transect Training in Biological Oceanography onboard RV Polarstern (October 28th to December 2nd 2015, Bremerhaven, Germany to Cape Town, South Africa)
Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language (Level A2), Cervantes Institute, Madrid, Spain, 2015
Standard First Aid & Adult/Child CPR & AED and Infant CPR, Certified by Training and Logistics Ltd, 2013
NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, College of Health, Environmental and Safety Studies, 2006

Research Interests
My main area of interest is marine pollution as I am cognizant of the fact that it is a transboundary issue that requires international collaboration in order to find effective solutions. Furthermore, I firmly believe that scientists must make the effort to merge research with environmental outreach and education in order to effect positive change regarding environmental issues.

Previous Professional Experience
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine (Instructor, Teaching/Research Assistant, Demonstrator)
Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust (Education Officer)

Newspaper Articles
Kanhai, La Daana Kada and Dave D. Chadee. 2016. “Region at risk: Kick ‘em Jenny can kick up a tsunami.” Guardian (UWI Today), 21. asp.
Kanhai, La Daana Kada. 2014. “Size isn’t everything: insights into fascinating Protozoa.” Newsday, Section B, pg 3.,199070.html.
Kanhai, La Daana. 2012. “Oysters: Can be a health hazard.” Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, A20.

Interviews with media

Contact Details
Telephone number: (353) 085 110 6338
Postal Address: Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Galway, Ireland