Profession: Marine Biologist and Teaching Assistant
Organisation: Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center (WSORC), Utila, Honduras and Beaumont School
Joe's focus to the task at hand truly inspires me. Whilst working together on site he was always friendly and positive and happy to lend a helping hand when needed.
1. How did we meet?
Operation Wallacea expedition 2018
2. What is one memorable ocean moment from our time together?
Staff fun dive but also do your dance moves on the beach count?!
3. What encouraged you to purse a career in marine biology/conservation?
I have always loved wildlife. However, a trip with Opwall as a research volunteer where i spent time both in the terrestrial and marine sites made me realise that I enjoy the marine stuff most of all.
4. How did you land your current job?
I was doing my PADI Instructor training on Utila and I made friends with the assistant instructor whose roommate was the manager of WSORC. She introduced me and I told her I was interested in full time marine employment, it was that simple! If lockdown ever ends i am still employed by WSORC, in the meantime I have been working at school.
5. What is it about your role that makes you feel like you are truly making a difference?
A large portion of my work is on optimising survival and growth of our staghorn coral in our nurseries. These are some of the most effective nurseries for young fish on the reef. I do a lot of background research on what the most effective procedures to implement and maximise growth and survival of outplanted colonies.
6. What advice would you give to aspiring ocean warriors?
Start by getting involved in the organisations that are doing the work. This often involves voluntary placements that do not have demanding application processes. You can build up a strong social network from this. Marine field work is normally very social so being pleasant to work with will often be your ticket back!
Do not be disheartened if you do not have a formal academic background in marine science. Organisations are often interested in hiring from a range of backgrounds e.g. photography, computing, marketing, outreach, etc. There are also plenty of relevant credentials you can collect outside of formal academia e.g. in diving, sea survival, citizen science, powerboat handling, invasive species culling, etc.
7. What has been your most unforgettable experience in the ocean and why?
Snorkelling alongside three pilot whales because they were completely at ease and it was a perfectly tranquil and unexpected moment with animals I had never encountered before.
8. Who has inspired you to achieve your goals?
My parents for encouraging me to do dive training and apply for my MSc in Tropical Marine Biology at a time when I didn’t feel very academically competent.
9. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
To further my accomplishments in the field of restoration by expanding the number of nurseries and the species involved.