Pip Penny diving

This week on ‘An Interview with WiseOceans’ we spoke with Pip Penny

Name: Pip Penny

Role: Marine Biologist and Educator

Company: WiseOceans

Top Tip: Don’t give up! It can be a competitive field to get into but if you’re passionate and work hard then it will shine through.

Quick Fire Questions

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

I have always loved the ocean and ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a marine biologist. As I got older and learnt more about the underwater world, I became aware of the huge pressure our oceans are under and the seemingly insurmountable threats they face. I became extremely passionate about doing whatever I could to help and I knew marine conservation was the career for me.

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

I completed a BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology and undertook some trips while at university to obtain scuba diving qualifications and gain experience in marine research. I then volunteered for a marine conservation NGO which was the first step to launching my career.

3. How did you obtain your current position? 

I have been signed up to the WiseOceans Careers job board since starting university. I have actually found most of my jobs through this. Then I saw an opening to work for WiseOceans and absolutely had to apply.

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

It is the most rewarding thing to watch a coral grow from a small fragment into a healthy little colony, ready to be planted back onto the natural reef. I love seeing corals, that I have helped to grow, thrive on the reef. I also really enjoy interacting with guests that are genuinely interested in the reef restoration work and passing on knowledge that hopefully will lead to them taking positive actions in the future.

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

Along the lines of what I said above – seeing a healthy coral that has been out-planted and is surrounded by marine life is extremely rewarding. When I see marine life making a home around corals that I have nurtured and planted it really feels like I have made a difference.

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

You don’t have to change the whole world to have a positive impact. Any and all steps taken to better the marine world is a success!

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

Artistic skills. To portray a message or display information to the public (a hugely important part of marine conservation!) it’s helpful if the information is delivered in a visually pleasing way which often requires some drawing or pretty handwriting. A skill I still haven’t mastered but have definitely developed through marine conservation!

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

Don’t give up! It can be a competitive field to get into but if you’re passionate and work hard then it will shine through.

9. What is your favourite marine creature and why?

There are so many marine creatures that I love, it’s hard to pick one! I think maybe turtles as when I worked at a turtle rehabilitation centre, I really got to know all the turtles and they are all so unique with their own personalities and little quirks.

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

I have had some unbelievable encounters in the sea but my favourite two are scuba diving with 20 hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos and being in the middle of a feeding cyclone of around 50 manta rays in Hanifaru Bay! I’m very lucky!

“You don’t have to change the whole world to have a positive impact.”

Pip Penny

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