This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with Jazzy Taberer

Name: Jazzy Taberer

Role: Program Manager (formally Seychelles, now Madagascar)

Company: GVI

Top Tip: Grab all the opportunities you can!

Quick Fire Questions

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

It began when I was a teenager and began to be exposed to topics encompassing marine biology and climate change through school, the media and travel. I was really intrigued and  wanted to find out more about the ocean where so little is known. The earth is made up of 70% water and connects everything together. The better we understand the ocean the better we understand climatic changes and how we can mitigate them and protect the species that live within the ocean.

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

For a long time I was unsure of what my specific career goals were, I just knew I wanted to work somewhere within the natural/biological sciences. I ended up studying Geography for my Undergraduate degree and Climatology for my Masters degree and that is where I began developing more in-depth theoretical knowledge of the field.

I then got my RYA boat licence, diving and lifeguarding qualifications outside of my university courses so that once it came time to apply for jobs I already had some of the practical skills that were required for jobs. This combination helped me to secure my first entry level position as a Research Assistant.

Now that I am working in the field I still strive to be learning about marine species and the research being done with those species as it’s ever evolving.

3. How did you obtain your current position? 

Networking! Getting to know different organisations in the area you work in/wanting to work in is a huge help. That way you may find out about opportunities from professionals in the organisation themselves and you can also get a better feel for the position. 

Having said that, I’ve also found groups on social media sites such as Facebook very useful for finding marine related job opportunities.

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

The educational element! My absolute favourite aspect is being able to teach the research techniques that we’re using and educating on why. It’s great seeing participants see large parts of the process of research from it being collected, being entered into the data sets, analysed and then seeing the reports being written. It then gives participants more context to the lectures, annual reports and decisions being made in the marine park.

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

The long term data sets. Analysing data and annual report writing and comparing really helps to build up a bigger picture of where we’re at and where we’re heading with the species we’re working with. Particularly in Seychelles where our data is being used to influence conservation measures being implemented in the marine national park.

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

Not necessarily something I wish I knew, however I didn’t really think I’d be doing the amount of communication that I do when working in this field. It’s not just simply data collection and the outcomes. It’s talking every day to partners, stakeholders, participants, future collaborators. There is SO much going on behind the scenes. Most of the time you’re interacting with humans more than marine life.

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

Good communication skills is a skill that is much needed.  It’s incredibly important to come together to work as a team and understand everyone’s point of view as well as the aims and objectives of the research and the best way to implement it it in the most appropriate way.

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

Grab all the opportunities you can! Intern, volunteer, self study. Get as much exposure to marine topics as possible. If you’re unable to get practical experience there’s also a lot of virtual materials and opportunities available too. Marine biology is such a large umbrella, find out what climates and what species you want to work with. Find out what area of the field you’re interested in the most so when it comes to research/job opportunities you know what you’re looking for.

9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?

Hawksbill turtle. It’s the contrast of the arduous effort that females put in during nesting season and then how tranquil they appear in the water. They are one of the most magnificent creatures I’ve ever witnessed.

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

There’s a beautiful uninhabited island which is also a marine park in Seychelles called St Pierre. I’ve been diving there a few times and most of the time I’ve been lucky enough to see Hawksbill turtles, juvenile lemon sharks, whitetips and blacktips and even cow tail and feathered eagle rays, all within the space of minutes! And of course there’s an abundance of fish. I love moments in the ocean where I can see the synchronicity of the ecosystem.

“Marine biology is such a large umbrella – find out what climates and what species you want to work with.”

Jazzy Taberer

Read more An Interview Blogs here

Sign up for our Weekly free Job Alert here