Ocean Minds presents Chloe Brown
Organisation: Velaa coral restoration Project
Chloe's ambition and drive is incredible. She is not afraid to ask for help when needed and always commits 100% to the task at hand. It has been great to see her progression from a dissertation student to a field researcher!
1. How did we meet?
I first met Margaux in Honduras on the island of Utila. We were both working with Operation Wallacea collecting data for dissertation students, me being one of them. I was researching the effects nutrients have on the 3D structure of coral reefs while completing my advanced open water qualification.
2. What is one memorable ocean moment from our time together?
Margaux and I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to properly dive together yet! :( We did a couple of research dives during our short time in Honduras, but we were very focused on the task in hand, a lot of data was to be collected in one dive. But hopefully in the near future, I would love to go diving with Margaux and see the work she has done out in Cambodia!
3. What encouraged you to purse a career in marine biology/conservation?
I have always felt a pull towards the ocean with a great sense of curiosity for what lies below the oceans waves. I studied Oceanography at University which definitely enabled me to pursue my career further. However, a pivotal moment for me was watching the video my sister captured from her dive along the Great Barrier reef. My excitement was met with extreme shock, I did not see a coral reef bustling with life. I saw a coral graveyard. That imagery motivated me to get involved to play my part to help our beautiful oceans from such deterioration.
4. How did you land your current job?
MARGAUX! And I am forever grateful! Margaux was working in my position originally as an intern for a coral restoration project out in the Maldives. I had reached out to Margaux about the work she was doing as it was so inspiring and asked her advice on how to land a similar role. I was having no luck until Margaux sent me the application for her internship. And with a stroke of luck, 8 weeks later I was looking at the corals she had transplanted doing the same myself. An extremely rewarding role.
5. What is it about your role that makes you feel like you are truly making a difference?
There is one moment that comes to mind when answering this question. I was transplanting corals in a degraded section of the reef. I hadn’t finished cementing the first coral before a butterfly fish came over to see what was going on, he then continued to follow me around from coral to coral. Once I had finished transplanting the batch there was a vast amount of marine life that had suddenly been drawn towards the fresh new corals. Knowing I had made a difference for them was all I needed. The work we are doing is on a small scale yet making a world of difference for those who take residence here.
6. What advice would you give to aspiring ocean warriors?
I would say never give up. The work we do battling the external forces to protect our oceans is difficult work. Many days you will feel like you have taken 1 step forward 2 steps back, I know I definitely did. Deploying a nursery with 1,500 corals one day to finding them covered in sediment on the bottom of the sea floor the next day is truly devastating. We have to strive forward because without us warriors I would hate to think what state the ocean would be in. Everything single action we take towards ocean preservation helps no matter how big or small it is. From picking up a plastic bottle from the beach to transplanting corals, everything helps our oceans get stronger to fight the war against climate change.
7. What has been your most unforgettable experience in the ocean and why?
Diving at shark point in Noonu atoll, Maldives. On descent we were greeted by 15 Grey Reef sharks, 3 spotted eagle rays and a nurse shark. We stayed on top of the pinnacle for an hour watching the majestic beauties swim around us undisturbed by our presence. It was one of those moments you will never forget.
8. Who has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My family and friends have definitely be an inspiration for me encouraging me to strive forward and pursue my goals. As well as the amazing stories shared on WOS by inspiring women talking about their achievements and success really accrued motivation within me to join them on their mission to save the oceans.
9. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I hope to set up my own coral restoration projects to provide opportunities for motivated young individuals to start their career in the blue, as well as mitigating the many affects, us humans have inflicted. My current role has taught me so much and I am excited to implement everything I have learnt, to give new stretches of coast the chance to thrive again.
Note from Chloe
Just a big shout out to the amazing work Margaux is achieving during lockdown, inspiring marine biologists through her social media account and new website. It’s great to feel encouraged that one day soon we will be emerged again swimming amongst the most beautiful creatures the world has to offer.