KRISTA Verlis's life is consumed by writing.
It's a scenario other PhD candidates would be familiar with when a deadline is looming - Ms Verlis's is due in August.
The Canadian started her PhD in August 2011 at CQUniversity after securing a strategic research scholarship and high-cost student funding.
Her research examines the occurrence of marine debris and its effects on nesting Australian seabirds in the southern Great Barrier Reef and along the coastline down to northern New South Wales.
Ms Verlis has now travelled much of the country, having visited Australia previously for a working holiday in 2004 and undertaking part of her undergraduate degree in biological science in Western Australia.
She graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
"I wanted to come back to Australia on purpose," she said. "I love living in Queensland.
"It's fantastic, the weather here is phenomenal.
"Gladstone itself is kind of an interesting place; I can afford to live here now so that's nice."
Ms Verlis is grateful for her time so far at CQUniversity's Gladstone campus and hopeful for future funding so she can continue her work.
"It's a beautiful campus," she said. "(There's) really supportive staff here that I've been working with. My supervisors are great.
"I'd really like to do post-doc research. I'd like to continue on with the marine debris work and impact research because it's quite interesting and exciting and really an up-and-coming area.
"It's a really great opportunity for CQU to sort of make its mark. There's not a lot of people doing marine debris research specifically and consistently."