Ambre Chabert

This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with our very own Ambre Chabert

Name: Ambre Chabert

Role: Marine Biologist and Educator

Company: WiseOceans

Top Tip: Stay curious, passionate, and persistent!

Quick Fire Questions

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation? 

What inspired me to pursue a career in marine conservation is deeply rooted in my childhood experiences. Since I was born, I’ve had the privilege of spending every summer holiday on Mauritius Island. Over the years, I witnessed firsthand the profound impact of climate change on the island’s marine environment. Seeing the coral reefs degrade and marine life struggle sparked a deep curiosity in me. I wanted to understand what was happening and, more importantly, find ways to help protect and preserve these precious ecosystems. These annual trips not only nurtured my love for the ocean but also ignited my passion for marine conservation.

2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?

To achieve my career goals in marine conservation, I have taken several steps. I pursued long-term academic studies, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Biodiversity and Ecology and an International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources. During these studies, I seized every opportunity and utilized my free time to undertake internships, which helped me determine the specific sector of marine biology I wanted to focus on and gain invaluable practical experience.

Beyond formal education, I developed personal hobbies that have proven essential in my career. I became an avid scuba diver and freediver, and I also took up nature photography. I completed my Level 3 FFESSM and Rescue Diver certifications to qualify for more in-water jobs, enhancing my ability to contribute directly to marine conservation projects.

Now, when selecting jobs, I prioritize one crucial criterion: how helpful the role is for the environment. My goal is to contribute positively, even on a small scale, to the preservation and restoration of marine ecosystems. This holistic approach, combining education, practical experience, and personal passions, has been fundamental in advancing my career in marine conservation.

3. How did you obtain your current position? 

My current position came through a mix of internships, work experiences, and networking in marine conservation. One standout was my internship at the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS), where I gained hands-on experience on coral restoration and guest education. During this time, I discovered WiseOceans and their Seychelles projects, igniting my interest. Following their work closely led me to my current job with them, thanks to my experiences, connections, and passion for their initiatives.

4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

What I enjoy most about my current job is the opportunity to make a direct impact on the environment while being immersed in the water every day. Having the chance to actively contribute to marine conservation efforts while surrounded by the beauty and serenity of the ocean is incredibly fulfilling. It’s a privilege to combine my passion for the environment with the practical aspect of being in the water, making each day both rewarding and exhilarating.

5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’? 

Absolutely! What makes me feel like I’m making a difference is being directly involved in coral restoration projects. Witnessing coral grow and thrive, even in warmer temperatures, is incredibly rewarding. It’s a clear sign that our efforts are meaningful and effective in protecting marine ecosystems. Additionally, educating others about marine conservation is fulfilling. When I see people getting inspired and taking action to protect our oceans, it shows me that I’m part of something bigger – a movement towards environmental responsibility.

6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?

Thinking back, one thing I wish I’d known from the start is how crucial it is to have a solid network in this field. I’ve learned that having a good network opens up so many doors for collaboration, advice, and new opportunities. If I could do it over, I’d definitely start mingling and making connections earlier in my career journey.

7. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?

Certainly! Alongside social media skills, another unexpected skill that has proven invaluable in my career is public speaking. Initially, I never thought I would need to be comfortable speaking in front of large groups or presenting to diverse audiences. However, as I became more involved in marine conservation projects, I found myself frequently sharing information, leading workshops, and giving presentations to various stakeholders. Developing effective communication skills, including public speaking, has allowed me to effectively convey complex ideas, engage with diverse audiences, and advocate for environmental conservation efforts.

8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

For budding marine conservationists, I would encourage you to stay curious, passionate, and persistent. Explore diverse areas within marine conservation to find what truly ignites your interest and drives your passion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek out opportunities for hands-on experience, and learn from both successes and setbacks. Building a strong network within the marine conservation community can also provide invaluable support, guidance, and opportunities for collaboration. Remember that every action, no matter how small, contributes to the greater goal of protecting our oceans and marine life. So, stay committed, stay inspired, and never underestimate the impact you can make as a marine conservationist.

9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?

The Picasso triggerfish holds a special place in my heart. Back when I was spending my summers in Mauritius, I developed a curiosity for them. Between you and me, I may have spent more than a few childhood hours trying to get close enough to touch them! But remember, no touching when in the water! Now, as a marine conservationist, they inspire me to work tirelessly to protect the fragile ecosystems they inhabit. In a way, they’re not just my favourite animal, but a reminder of why I do what I do every day.

10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?

One of my most unforgettable moments in the sea was my first-time diving in Canada. It was a completely new experience for me – diving in cold water and encountering seals up close. The seals were unlike anything I had ever encountered before – curious, playful, and incredibly agile. They seemed just as interested in me as I was in them. At times, they even playfully nibbled at my fins, which was both exhilarating and a little intimidating!

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions, seek out opportunities for hands-on experience, and learn from both successes and setbacks.”

Ambre Chabert

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