Photo:

Sean Clement

So close! Conratulations to Dave! Thanks for all your votes guys!

Favourite Thing: I am, and always have been, fascinated by life underwater and my favourite thing to do in science is to to try and get those who wouldn’t normally give it a second thought curious about the wonderful world beneath the waves…

My CV

School:

I attended Calday Grange Grammar School from 1996 to 2002 and then stayed on for 6th Form from 2002 to 2004

University:

I studied Marine Biology with Oceanography at the University of Bangor in North Wales

Work History:

Whilst I was at university, I worked at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port, telling all the visitors about the exhibits and the creatures within. Since leaving university, I’ve worked in a bookshop, as an environmental consultant and in the offices of a bank. Oh, and of course as a Marine Conservationist

Employer:

I work at Blue Ventures, a marine conservation charity based in the UK but with operations in Madagascar, Malaysia and Belize

Current Job:

I’m a field scientist, I study coral reefs, teach our volunteers and the local community about marine science and conservation and try to keep the outside world updated on what we do!

Me and my work

I’m a marine conservationist looking at the benefits of marine protected areas to the coral reefs of southwest Madagascar.

I wokr for a marine conservation charity. We’re based in the village of Andavadoaka, a small place that’s a long way from anywhere! It also happens to be the most beautiful place on earth which helps. We’ve got a big operation there based at heart of the first Marine Protected Area run by villagers and the local community in Madagascar. A Marine Protected Area (or MPA for short) is a space in which there are certain rules about fishing and and other activities that everyone agrees to follow so that the coral reefs and the marine animals living on them are protected and can live in certain parts of the MPA without being caught by fishermen. 

My job is to look at the coral reefs and the marine creatures living on them and work out how the Marine Protected Area is helping them. Are the Corals growing? Are there more fish in areas where there’s no fishing than areas where there is? Are the fish bigger? There are many questions that you can ask and me and my colleagues are trying to answer as many of them as possible!

 

 

 

My Typical Day

Dive in the morning (if I’m lucky), otherwise e-mails and number-crunching. more e-mails, lectures and meetings in the afternoon, draw up a schedule for the next day and then dinner and bed!

We wake up early most days. some days we start with a pre-breakfast SCUBA Dive. I’m also a PADI Divemaster and many people come out to learn to dive in Andavadoaka because of the wonderful coral reefs so some of my dives involve helping our dive instructor out with dive courses. Because of the calm waters, early mornings are usually the best for this. 

Once everyone has worked up an appetite, it’s onto Breakfast for my morning caffeine and nutella infusion before getting ready for our next dive. Research dives are my favourite as these involve taking a boat out coral reef sites that we sometimes only visit once a year. It gives me a chance to collect data to add to an ongoing project to determine how healthy the reefs around Andavadoaka are! If I’m not diving though, then I’m usually reading some scientific papers or answering e-mails or looking through some data trying to make head and fish-tail of it…

Lunchtime follows and then it’s a few hours of downtime. Electricity is only on for 8-9 hours a day so you have to make sure you’ve charged your laptop or the early afternoons become very slow!

When the power does start up again,we begin an afternoon programme of lessons and workshops for our volunteers here to help us with our marine conservation programme. This can involve teaching them to identify coral, fish or providing an overview on a specific project that we’ll be undertaking as a group in the near future. 

Before dinner, we plan the next days schedule: Where we’re going and what we’re doing. Then we all meet for dinner and Vao-Vao (Malagasy translation: Literally ‘New news’) where we discuss the days news. A long day and an early sunset leaves most of us ready for bed by the time we’re finished so it’s back to our huts to start it all again tomorrow! 

What I'd do with the money

I’d use it to make TV and radio programmes to spread the word about sustainable fishing and marine protected areas across southwest Madagascar.

The people of Andavadoaka and the surrounding villages have a very different way of life to yours and mine. Things that we take for granted such as television and the internet are available to very few in Madagascar. A few people own radios and in the evenings whole families will crowd round and listen to local news and messages being passed from town to town. Practically no-one owns a TV so on the rare occasion that somebody brings a DVD player and a TV or projector to town, the entire village will turn out to watch whatever is being shown. 

People in Andavadoaka don’t get much of a chance to listen to the Radio or watch things on TVs so when they get the opportunity, it’s a big event and so it’s a really good way to spread the message about conservation, their Marine Portected Area and why it’s so important for future generations. The money would allow us to make several local radio programmes that we can broadcast across all the local villages and one really good video that we can take on tour with a projector and show in all the villages across the MPA! 

P.S. If you vote for me, I promise to put them all on youtube so you can watch too!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

A little disorganised…

Who is your favourite singer or band?

LCD Soundsystem

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Standing on the outrigger of a sailing pirogue (a type of ocean-going wooden canoe) during a race trying to make the boat go faster but not to fall in! We didn’t win though…

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Fame, Glory and for Liverpool to win the league next year…

What did you want to be after you left school?

I wanted to be a radio DJ!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Occasionally, usually for being too loud or talking during lessons…

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Being able to spend a year living in the most beautiful country in the world, doing what I love!

Tell us a joke.

A time traveller walks into a bar, the barman says “Haven’t I seen you before?”