This week we’re in Maldives with Zoe Cox, Marine Biologist at Naifaru Juvenile.  She believes that making a real difference involves education and workshops for local communities which we wholeheartedly agree with her here at WiseOceans.  Her advice is to volunteer as a fantastic way to gain experience in a hands-on environment.

Name: Zoe Cox

Job Title: Marine Biologist

Organisation: Atoll Volunteers / Naifaru Juvenile

  • What inspired you to pursue a career in marine conservation?

Watching David Attenborough documentaries sparked my love for animals. Since then it was my goal to help conserve them, my first opportunity to do this was with marine conservation.

  • What steps did you take/are you taking to achieve your career goals?

Volunteering abroad and having a MSc definitely helped me achieve my career goals. Since then, general enthusiasm has meant that our organisation is branching out, fundraising and improving to help turtles in the Maldives.

  • How did you land your current job/position? 

Found the position on an environmental job website, my master’s degree and volunteering abroad helped me land my position.

  • Which part of your job do you enjoy the most?  

When you see the turtles improving. We often get injured turtles arriving in our centre, watching them eat for the first time, or dive for the first time is so amazing, you feel so proud of them.

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

We make a difference to the turtles lives every day, otherwise they would still be floating the nets, starving. But the real difference is education, restarting our school kids club and giving workshops to resorts are the real ways that we can make a change.

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

How big the support network is for Marine Biologists in the Maldives, especially turtle wise. No-one knows everything and there are always people willing to help you with advice or materials.

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

Resourceful-ness! Working with injured animals on a tiny island means you need things that you cannot get quickly. Having to improvise and think of other cheaper, or faster ways to achieve your outcome happens quite often.

  • What advice would you give to budding marine conservationists?  

Volunteer. Not only is it great for your potential employers but you learn so much in the process. You are very hands on, with both the marine programme and the issues facing the animals you are protecting.

  • What is your favourite marine creature and why?  

Tricky question. Mantas are the animal I am always looking for, they are so large and graceful.

  • What is your most unforgettable moment in the sea?  

Swimming with and identifying around 15 feeding manta rays. They are so majestic, I will not forget that quickly.


Thanks Zoe.  It sounds like you’re working very hard to be resourceful and help the turtle population, not to mention educating the next generation to do the same.  Keep up the amazing work!

If you would like to follow in Zoe’s footsteps then take a look at Atoll Volunteers range of volunteering programmes at, and get an insight into Zoe’s daily life through following Atoll Marine Centre on Instagram (@atollmarinecentre). Atoll Volunteers advertise most of their vacancies on WiseOceans, so keep your eyes open for them and don’t forget to sign up to our weekly job alert emails and keep an eye on our Wise Work pages so you don’t miss your dream opportunity in more marine conservation.