This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke to Simone Montano, a researcher from the Marine Research and High Education Center (MaRHE)
Name: Simone Montano
Top Tip: Never give up! Building a career in conservation is hard work, but the rewards are worth it
Quick Fire Questions
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
I’m a curious person and I love the sea in general. As a result, combination of both of these things resulted in a strong passion for underwater life
2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
I studied biology at the University of Milano-Bicocca doing several research projects in several tropical coral reefs. After this, I obtained my PhD working on the health status of Maldivian coral reefs
3. How did you obtain your current position?
By publishing scientific papers and managing a field marine station at Magoodhoo, Faafu Atoll, Maldives: the MaRHE center
4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
Diving for sure, especially in the most remote part of the planet and when the purpose of the visit is to search for new marine biodiversity
5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
For an academic, to have the opportunity to teach is the best way to make the difference. Sharing and motivating younger students/researchers is essential to build a new generation of people enthusiastic enough to face our environmental challenges in the future
6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I’m more aware now of how nature can be complex and fascinating at the same time. Moreover, I’m proud of my choices because now to protect and conserve natural habitats has became one of the most important challenges for humans. Ten years ago this was something not yet completely understood
7. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
My willingness to dive everywhere, every time, and search for organisms that no-one even knew existed. Also the capacity to run a marine field station and manage groups of people from all over the world. Finally, to be an enthusiastic, eternal dreamer who is very motivated in protecting coral reefs. This helped me a lot in getting this job
8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Never give up. Because whilst it is hard, there isn’t a better life than this!
Follow your dreams to have the best and greatest successes in your life. Whatever these are, if it makes you happy then do it! Even if you can just protect a single square meter of nature, this is an achievement
9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Honestly I don’t know why, but the Sunfish is my favourite marine creature
10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
Any moment I spend in the sea is the most unforgettable one. The good thing is that there are many more of these to come in the future!
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