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My love of the sea began when I tried SCUBA diving on holiday at the age of 13, but at that time, I presumed that spending time underwater would be a hobby rather than a career.

My decision to become a marine biologist came quite late in my school career and having read that 'more is known about the surface of the moon than about the deep oceans' I set my heart on studying the sea. My gap year between school and university enabled me to combine my loves of travel and the sea – I spent 3 months working on a coral reef conservation project in Belize and sailed across the Atlantic and round the Caribbean on the square-rigged tall-ship Astrid.

In 1997 I started my undergraduate degree course (BSc Oceanography with Marine Biology) at Southampton University. For my 3rd year project I studied the reproduction of Antarctic starfish, for which I was supervised by one of the UK’s top Antarctic and deep-sea biologists.

Moving to Cambridge in 2000, I turned my focus to rather warmer waters! In November 2004 I completed my PhD which investigated coral reef recovery at Alphonse Atoll, Southern Seychelles, following the 1997-98 ocean warming event. My research interests still focus on the western Indian Ocean and I have been fortunate to re-visit Alphonse in 2005 and 2007 whilst working as the Chief Project Scientist for the Living Oceans Foundation.

Butterflyfish Acropora Coral