Profession: Marine Biologist
Organisation: Reefscapers based at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
Amelie's passion for conservation and the ocean is inspiring. She is not afraid to take on any opportunity that presents itself to her, as she knows that the knowledge she gains from each experience gets her one step closer to her dream goals!
1. How did we meet?
We met during our undergraduate degree at the University of Portsmouth. We had some marine biology lectures together but we truly became friends during our Dive Master Training with Operation Wallacea on Utila Island, Honduras. We are both passionate about the ocean, especially corals, and so we quickly became really close friends and have remained friends ever since. I’ve always been inspired by your passion to communicate your love for the ocean, your motivation to learn new things and your growing career.
2. What is one memorable ocean moment from our time together?
We did so many dives together that it’s hard to even know which one was the best but I remember one dive we did in Honduras near the end of our Dive Master Training. We had all gone for a fun dive, in small coral reef crevices, checking out cuttlefish and trying to walk in the sand as fast as we could without our fins. I will also always remember our post dive debriefs by the jetty, talking about whatever we saw underwater that day and building up a list of marine species we wished to see one day.
3. What encouraged you to purse a career in marine biology/conservation?
I’ve always been drawn by the ocean, the waves and all the marine life. As a kid, I was always searching for shells, exploring the underwater world with my parents by the Atlantic Ocean or in the Mediterranean Sea. For me, the ocean is so fascinating, and it has such a positive impact on people’s mind and happiness, that I knew I wanted to learn more about it and share this knowledge with other people. So I slowly decided to pursue a career in marine biology and conservation and persevered until I found a dream job restoring corals in the Maldives.
4. How did you land your current job?
I developed a strong interest for corals during my undergraduate degree and I knew I wanted to study corals ever since. I started volunteering with Operation Wallacea to study the effect of extreme temperatures on two species of hard corals followed by an MSc in Conservation & Biodiversity at the University of Exeter. I then worked in Côte d’Ivoire to study a group of chimpanzees for conservation and ecotourism with Wild Chimpanzee Foundation. It was far from marine science but still in the field of conservation which turned out to be very useful to find out what I truly wanted. I finally got this amazing opportunity to work with Reefscapers in the Maldives based at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa and I don’t think I will ever tire of the beauty in this place.
5. What is it about your role that makes you feel like you are truly making a difference?
I manage a coral reef restoration project at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa in the Maldives which involves maintaining and monitoring coral frames adopted by guests and online sponsors who can watch their corals grow over time. For me the most rewarding feeling is spreading awareness and educating guests about the importance of marine life and corals. In the Maldives, tourism is so important that educating travellers and working with environmentally friendly resorts can truly make a difference.
6. What advice would you give to aspiring ocean warriors?
Explore the ocean as much as you can and persevere to reach your goal! There is so much to learn about the ocean so gain as much experience as you can by either volunteering or working for a company that inspire you and don’t hesitate to take any opportunities that are presented to you. Educate yourself about the underwater world and be curious about new findings.
7. What has been your most unforgettable experience in the ocean and why?
On my first dive with manta rays in the Maldives at Lankan Beyru, we visited a manta ray cleaning station easily accessible from Sheraton Maldives. When I first entered the water, we saw about ten manta rays majestically swimming and dancing for us while getting a nice clean from cleaner wrasses. Diving with manta's is so fascinating and I would recommend that everyone experience it with their own eyes.
8. Who has inspired you to achieve your goals?
Ever since I started studying marine biology, all of the women working in ocean science or marine conservation have inspired me the most. Seeing so many women working together in the field of marine science is genuinely inspiring and I’ve learnt so much from each of them. I also get a lot of inspiration from my parents who took me on my first dive in the Great Barrier Reef when I was fifteen. That’s when I first experienced the vibrant colours of coral reefs and I truly believe that I wouldn’t be a marine biologist without that family trip.
9. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I hope to keep raising awareness about the importance of preserving and restoring coral reefs through education and communication. I also hope to encourage other people to fall in the love with the ocean and inspire more women to work in marine conservation.
Adopt a Coral Frame
If you wish to make a difference for coral reefs, adopt a coral frame and I will transplant it for you in the Maldives 😉
All Photo Credit: Sarah Hight