Background

INTRODUCTION

I am a marine ecologist (Ph.D.) with over fifteen years experience specialising in the management of diverse marine and coastal resource projects, gained while consulting or in senior governmental positions when living and working in the Caribbean and the UK. I have attained Divemaster certification and am a passionate underwater photographer with a number of published works, and a life long love for the ocean and its inhabitants.

“I have spent more than fifteen years working with and managing projects in or around both the UK and the Caribbean with both governmental bodies and NGOs. I use my hard earned knowledge to repair, reform, and restructure both the physical aspects and day to day runnings of coastal resources and marine protected areas, while preserving them and creating publications and other educational materials to support this important work. This is key to the success of programme implementation in order to promote community and tourism while conserving resources for generations to come.”

BACKGROUND

I have been passionate about the natural environment, its protection, and the creatures that inhabit it ever since I can remember. My fascination with the ocean was first noticed by my parents during family holidays on the north Norfolk coast, and the hours I would spend rooting around in rock pools or simply sitting there staring out to sea.

After finishing my A-levels this fascination remained, which compelled me study a general degree in Zoology to gain a better understanding of the natural world as a whole. On completing this degree I traveled around parts of the Middle East and while snorkelling in the Red Sea decided that I had to pursue a life underwater and so learnt to dive upon my return to the UK.

The grey cold misty waters of East Sussex were very different to my snorkeling experiences in Egypt, but despite the need for a semi-dry suit and hood I still loved every minute. I decided I had to see more of the world, so embarked on extensive travels around South and Central America where I attained my Divemaster certification, and later on to South East Asia where I worked as a Divemaster and began developing my knowledge of underwater species and the complex ecological processes that exist there.

It was around this time that I decided that this was the discipline I wanted to dedicate my life to, and so on my return to the UK enrolled for an M.Sc. in Applied Ecology, focusing on the marine environment. My research project took me to Anguilla (British West Indies), which gave me the experience needed to become Chief Scientist on a conservation project in the Bahamas, which in turn led me back to Anguilla when a position opened up there with the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

After a couple of years in this position I was promoted to Deputy Director (Scientific Research), a position I held until I began a Ph.D. which was based on my work in Anguilla, and focused on challenges that small island nations face when managing marine resources. While writing up my thesis I moved to Northern Spain and renovated an old farmhouse there during my spare time. This was indeed a challenge, and taught me a great deal about time management! During the final year of write up the house had reached the point it could be safely locked up and left, and coincidentally at that time another vacancy became available back in Anguilla Government with the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, this time as Deputy Director of Fisheries Management. I was again successful with my application, and so spent the next two and a quarter years living and working on contract in this beautiful Caribbean island.

During this second period in Anguilla my main focus was to develop policy documents for fisheries and marine park management, produce research papers based on in-water fieldwork, and develop and lead large multi-agency externally funded projects primarily aimed at biodiversity conservation and coastal/marine resource management. After successfully completed my contract in Anguilla I continued to act as consultant on these multi-agency projects while pursuing other research interests back in Europe. This culminated in a year long position in the UK with CEFAS as Senior Overseas Shellfish Fisheries Scientist, before I returned back to freelance consulting work, undertaken remotely.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

The underwater work that I have been involved with allowed me to develop my skill as a marine biologist which led to me writing ‘An Underwater Guide to Anguilla‘. This in turn led to the development of many tertiary IT skills, initially photoshop and indesign that were essential to master in order for me to self publish. My underwater photography then led to a side project that I became involved with, ‘Reef Creature Clothing‘, that necessitated further IT learning and the mastery of WordPress Webdesign and more Adobe Creative Cloud Applications. This then in turn led to the creation of the ‘Young Explorers Series’, an ongoing series of books whose purpose is to inspire younger readers interested in the marine realm.  During the Covid-19 pandemic I have continued to develop my IT skills (primarily podcast editing, mailing list management and logo/video animations), while pursuing marine consulting work, with an ultimate goal of returning back to the UK to be closer to family.