Why do you study sharks?
Growing up on the South African coastline and often coming into contact with sharks while snorkeling or fishing, I knew I wanted to learn more about these charismatic animals. The sharks I saw were not the scary man-eaters that the media made them out to be. There are hundreds of shark species in the oceans, but people are not aware of the importance each species plays in the ecosystem they inhabit. Sharks are being removed at an unprecedented rate through unsustainable fishing practices around the globe. Valuable information acquired through research can be translated into comprehensible actions that members of the public can take to ensure the health of marine ecosystems in the future.
A great moment in the field:
I am one of the lucky ones! Everyday I work in a beautiful setting, because our office [where Earthwatchers will work when not out on boats] is on the rocks of the Old Harbour in Hermanus, South Africa. Even if I spend a day at my desk inputting data or writing reports, all I need to do to clear my mind of the office cobwebs is step out the door and look around at the beautiful bay. On a good day, you’re likely to spot schools of dolphins, porpoises, or southern right whales. Snorkeling in the kelp forests is literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from my desk, so every day has the potential of being an exciting day in the field.