This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with Pascal Sebastian, Lead Marine Biologist for Indo Ocean Project
Name: Pascal Sebastian
Role: Lead Marine Biologist
Company: Indo Ocean Project
Top Tip: Spend time reading relevant scientific publications and reports
Quick Fire Questions
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?
The marine world is a realm of millions of mysteries, and many things need to be studied and discovered in order to get a better understanding of our world. In addition, I also wanted to be an outstanding dive instructor as there are many dive instructors in the world and you need to be different
2. What steps did you take or are you currently taking to achieve your career goals?
I pursued an MSc in Marine Biology at James Cook University, Australia before undertaking volunteer work with PhD researchers and published two research papers during my studies
3. How did you obtain your current position?
I was a full-time dive instructor and dive guide with a dive operator on Nusa Penida in Indonesia. There is a big community of divers who communicate with each other. Through them I heard that Indo Ocean Project was looking for an Indonesian Marine Biologist to develop their conservation and research programs. I decided to apply to work with them to fulfil my passion as a marine biologist
4. Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?
When the diving and science activities are combined
5. Are there aspects of your position which make you feel that you are really ‘making a difference’?
There are no other Indonesian Marine Biologists who live on Nusa Penida apart from me and the research on marine life within this island is insufficient. This means there are many opportunities to do research and field observations.
I am also a founder of a social-ecological initiative on the island, that involves local people in coral propagation to help restore the damaged reefs. The initiative is called “The CorAlliance”
6. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting out?
I needed to be more involved in volunteer work with experienced scientists. This is especially true for field experiments where they were using advanced technologies and statistical analyses
7. Are there any skills you never thought you would need but did?
Skills in language, human development, science communication in public, and social science have all been important
8. What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?
Do not ever skip your statistics class! Do more volunteer work, explore the remote areas with cultural differences, read more science and social publications and be critical
9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?
Juvenile boxfish, whilst they are tiny, they look fearless!
10. What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?
When we could not exit a “whirlpool” of 50 manta rays that had surrounded us and I got slapped by one of them
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