I was fortunate to grow up exploring the coastal waters of New Zealand. These childhood experiences started a lifelong fascination for all types of marine life. I started tertiary study at Victoria University of Wellington where I gained my BSc with a double major in marine biology, and ecology & biodiversity. I then completed my MSc in marine biology for which I investigated the abundance and diversity of viruses on coral reefs.
In 2010, I was awarded the Australasian Our-World Underwater Scholarship. During this year-long experience-based scholarship, I completed 12 internships and marine science-based volunteer projects across 13 countries. Several internships involved scientific fieldwork and scientific diving including inside and outside marine protected area monitoring and assessing the thermotolerance of sea urchins in Antarctica. I gained my Scientific Diver certificate and trained in technical diving.
I then spent three years working in New Zealand’s government sector, first as a Science Officer in the Fisheries Science team at the Ministry for Primary Industries, then as a Technical Advisor in the Marine Species and Threats team at the Department of Conservation.
In 2016, I received a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship to study for my PhD in Zoology at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professor Milner-Gulland and Professor Dale Squires. My thesis focussed on mitigating marine megafauna captures in fisheries.
The first major theme of my PhD research sought to understand if the biodiversity impact mitigation hierarchy could be effective when translated to marine megafauna bycatch and more broadly as a global mitigation hierarchy for nature conservation. You can read more on applying the mitigation hierarchy to all human impacts by visiting the Mitigation and Conservation Hierarchy website, and more on its sectoral application in fisheries by visiting the project page.
Using a case-study fishery in Peru, I investigated a mitigation hierarchy approach for managing sea turtle captures in small-scale fisheries. I also explored novel approaches to gathering data and insight to inform management decisions through the mitigation hierarchy framework. These included evaluating elicited judgements of turtle captures for data-limited fisheries management and assessing information-sharing networks within small-scale fisheries and the implications for conservation interventions.
I currently hold a postdoctoral researcher position at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries in Berlin, Germany. Here I am undertaking a short research project that leads on from my PhD research. This research explores how Peruvian gillnet skippers’ views towards a sea turtle conservation intervention influence their centrality within their social network.