An Interview with WiseOceans… Dr Kevin Robinson from CRRU
This week, we are in the capable hands of CRRU, a Scottish based charity dedicated to scientific research, marine wildlife rescue and environmental education. Kevin has some great words of advice.
Name: Dr Kevin Robinson
Job Title: Marine Zoologist and Director of the Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU)
Organisation: Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU)
- What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I was always fascinated by the ocean and would spend my summers on the south coast searching the rock pools and sea shore for animals and marine beasties.
- What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?
First pursued a degree in Biology at Portsmouth University, then went on to study for a PhD at the University of Stirling.
- How did you land your current job/position?
I personally founded the CRRU to create opportunities for others to gain experience and field training in marine mammal studies that weren’t available at that time for myself.
- Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Inspiring new generations of budding, up-and-coming future marine mammal scientists.
- Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
All the CRRU’s work is driven by conservation initiatives and directives. Pioneering work with minke whales in the Moray Firth in northeast Scotland has subsequently resulted in the first ever proposed Marine Protected Area for this species in UK waters.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
That walls and dead ends in your path are important for necessary, alternative routes to success, personal growth and achievement.
- Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Many. Directing a charity has required a whole host of additional skills other than my training as a biologist, and I have had to learn about marketing, PR, finance, advertising, boat mechanics and educational outreach, to name but a few additional skills.
- What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Perseverance. Don’t take no for an answer. If somebody tells you that you can’t do something, keep trying. Determination and enthusiasm always pay-off in the end!
- What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Killer whales. Absolutely fascinating mammals. I find their social dynamics and adaptability truly remarkable, and our brief encounters with these animals in the Moray Firth leave me longing for further opportunities for research.
- What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
The first time I ever met a humpback whale in the Moray Firth whilst on a boat survey in 2001. We first spotted an explosion of water far out to sea and knew that it must be something unusual (and big), and when we finally caught up with it in our 5.4 metre boat, we were dwarfed by the 14 metre leviathan, who was equally as interested in us as we were of it. She swam repeatedly underneath us, which left me with my stomach in my mouth, and stayed with us for the longest 20 minutes in my life. I will never forget that experience – simply mesmerising.
Thank you Kevin, you have certainly given us the incentive to get up to the Moray Firth, it sounds amazing!
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