National Geographic Expert

Freija Mendrik

Freija Mendrik is a marine scientist, National Geographic Explorer and postdoctoral researcher with the Energy and Environment Institute at the University of Hull in England. Her research focuses on marine ecology and conservation, with a goal to be part of the solution to global problems, such as plastic pollution and climate change. She is also a passionate ocean advocate and science communicator, who explores different ways to engage the public in environmental issues through photography, social media, infographics and stop-frame animation.

She was part of the National Geographic River of Plastic project, which applied both a physical and social approach to understanding the flow of plastic waste throughout the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam on its way to the South China Sea. Currently, Freija is leading a National Geographic project on the coral reefs of Con Dao, a group of islands off the coast of Vietnam. This research studies the impact of microplastic pollution on reefs in Southeast Asia, including the highly biodiverse Coral Triangle, and will allow insight into the levels of exposure and risk coral have from increasing plastic pollution.