This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with our very own Mathilde Maslin! Marine Biologist and Educator at our Marine Discovery Programme in Bora Bora.
Name: Mathilde Maslin
Role: Marine Biologist & Educator
Top Tip: Long live the passion! Big changes start with small actions!
Quick Fire Questions
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
Since my first discovery of scuba diving in the Red Sea when I was 10 and living in Africa, I’ve always been passionate about the richness of the marine world. Working towards the sustainable use and conservation of its natural resources appeared to me as a logical and relevant achievement to fulfil my aspirations through my personal career.
2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
I have graduated in 2017 as an environmental engineer in Lyon and then worked for 10 months in an oceanic research laboratory in Nice. Here I monitored marine communities in protected areas to assess their effectiveness. During my studies, I did many internships in oceanology and marine sciences, always giving priority to training abroad (Malta, Mexico, Mayotte). In 2018, I applied for a PhD in marine ecology, aquaculture and analytical chemistry in Tahiti. I worked on the sustainable farming of a marine sponge as a source of compounds with of pharmaceutical interest. I now aim to stay in French Polynesia for a while and contributing to ocean education and conservation activities. Being part of WiseOceans’ team is a really great opportunity that I am glad to have joined.
3. How did you obtain your current position?
I applied to a job offer published by WiseOceans. It actually came into my Linkedin account suggestions while I was still in my last month of PhD contract.
4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Getting to inform people about the marine biodiversity from its very basic principles that we tend to forget while specialising ourselves throughout the years. I love being challenged about my own knowledge when facing very specific remarks or questions ! Also, obviously, being underwater most of the day to explore the wonders of the Polynesian lagoons !
5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
Receiving fantastic feedbacks from the guests with whom I have been snorkelling or simply sharing information ! When we are reaching the level of a “lifetime experience”, it is so rewarding and motivating !
6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
Always start from the principles of things. You might be so used to the vocabulary and basic facts but people are not and some of them could already be amazed just knowing that corals are animals !
7. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Long live the passion ! Keep being fond of what you do, no matter how big the global issues you are facing are ! Big changes start with small actions.
8. What is your favourite marine creature and why?
I am completely fascinated by narwhals and I really hope that one day in my life I would be able to see some in the wild !!!
9. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
On my birthday, I was on a field expedition for my PhD research in a remote atoll from the Tuamotu archipelago. As the job was done one day in advance, me and my three colleagues took our last day off to go scuba diving. I will NEVER forget about this huge hammerhead shark swimming directly towards me. Its 5m body was moving like it didn’t even feel the strong current we were all struggling against. Such a beautiful creature. My heart stopped for a few seconds and when I looked at my pictures later on they were completely blurred by tons of bubbles escaping from my scuba gear as the shark was almost reaching contact !
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