This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with our very own Liane Fulford! Marine Biologist and Educator at our Marine Discovery Programme in Seychelles.
Name: Liane Fulford
Role: Marine Biologist & Educator
Top Tip: Working in the conservation sector is often a balance – embrace all of the aspects!
Quick Fire Questions
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I remember loving the ocean and being obsessed with marine animals from a very young age. As a teenager I had the cool opportunity to do my PADI Open Water course. This only increased my passion and although I ended up working in education and terrestrial conservation at first, I kept diving regularly and keeping up to date with marine conservation, until I decided to pursue it as a career a couple of years ago.
2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
Since I do not have a specific higher education qualification in marine biology or similar, I try to keep my knowledge fresh by regularly reading scientific papers and keeping up to date with conservation news, as well as chatting to marine scientists. This helps me to have the knowledge I need to share interesting facts with guests as well as effectively work on our coral restoration project and marine surveys.
3. How did you obtain your current position?
I was already working in the Seychelles in a different resort when I heard about the position with WiseOceans. I knew I liked the country and already had experience with the marine life here and coral reef initiatives, so I knew I would enjoy the job.
4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
I have so many answers to this question – taking a guest on their first ever snorkel and introducing them to this whole other world is always so rewarding, as is watching the coral grow and flourish in our coral nursery, but even just starting every day by getting in the water with my mask and fins to check conditions – being in the water is such a great way to start the morning.
5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Yes – definitely! In two main ways. Firstly, having the chance on a daily basis to educate guests about the marine world, and watch their passion and interest grow. And secondly, by nurturing coral colonies in the nursery; I have only been working with this nursery for a few weeks, but I can’t wait to see corals I have personally attached to the nursery grow and be transplanted back onto the natural reef here.
6. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Presenting skills! I’ve learnt that even if I find something super interesting, it may not be interesting to everyone – if you want to peak people’s interests, especially if they don’t have a particular passion for the ocean, you have to choose wisely the ‘fun facts’ and information to share with them to keep them entertained.
7. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Working in the conservation sector is often a balance of doing research and science, but also engaging local communities, and forming strong partnerships and collaborations with other organisations. Embrace both of these aspects.
8. What is your favourite marine creature and why?
I have always been fascinated by manta rays, and since I have had very few encounters with them, they remain a special animal for me and one I am always hoping to encounter again! However, I also have a fondness for any fish in the wrasse family – just because there are so many diverse and colourful species of wrasse – as well as the frogfish, just because they are cute!
9. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Kayaking and swimming with a huge pod of dolphins (and their calves!) off Fregate Island in the Seychelles. But any personal encounter with marine life is unforgettable for me.
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