Dr. Scherer is an applied marine ecologist by training and the health of the marine environment and the human relationship with it is close to her heart and central to her work. A particular research interest Cordula pursued during her PhD studies and the first years of her research career was the structure and functioning of phytoplankton communities. The single-celled microscopic algae provide the foundation of the marine food supply for all other marine creatures. To this extend Cordula reconstructed plankton variability through time to investigate how this influenced historical fisheries for the ERC advanced grant NorFish project. For this task Dr Scherer joined the Trinity Centre for Environmental Humanities (TCEH) in Trinity College Dublin in May 2017 as a post-doctoral researcher.
Cordula always enjoyed working in a transdisciplinary environment, whether it was on research vessels with the crew or with policy makers on developing health indicators to assess the marine ecosystem. But the arts and humanities and the historical dimension that she experiences in the TCEH on a daily basis finally allow her to intertwin the humanities and natural sciences the way she always thought was necessary to make sense of the bigger picture.
Leading the Food Smart Dublin research project gave Cordula the chance to apply a trans-sectoral approach between academia, industry and the public to co-create knowledge flow with the aim to encourage a behavioural consumer shift amongst Dublin’s society from eating high trophic level fish such as tuna and salmon to lower trophic and more sustainable local seafood. Cordula’s research within this project involved unearthing historical recipes from archives and reconnecting Dublin’s society with their tangible and intangible coastal cultural heritage via interactive cooking workshops and sea shore foraging trips. The flagship of this project is a book on Irish seafood that Cordula and her co-worker wrote. It contains 12 of the most historical, traditional and sustainable recipes of local seafood accompanied by historical and ecological narratives of each species starring the recipe. This work demonstrates the essential and most needed coalescence of humanities and natural sciences.