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Stanton Belford

My dad first gave me a drink of ocean water at a very young age, and after spitting it out and fussing a bit, he said "now you will never forget the ocean." I have since been fortunate to have my high school teacher, Dr. Carol Draper initiate my interest in coral reefs when she took our class to the reefs at Grande L'Anse, Toco, Trinidad. I was so intrigued by ocean biodiversity, that many years later, I was mentored by Dr. Dawn A.T. Phillip to conduct my masters thesis research on these same reefs. 

I continue to carry out annual coral reef surveys to monitor distribution and abundance of reef cnidarians, invertebrates, and other benthic components, but I always wonder what are the names of these organisms? Hence, I've now added genetic analyses to identify and document these marine organisms. 

How do we know what's out there in these marine ecosystems? We must continue to track species richness, diversity, and identification of specimens, with the hope of acquiring marine ecosystem protection. The indirect effects of failure to achieve this will only decrease sustainability in the fishing industry, and tourism as well.

Marine Nostalgia was established to gather stories from others who had past visits to the ocean. In fact, what or who influenced current persons in marine sciences to pursue such a career? This is a place where all who are not sure, can hopefully find guidance in future marine careers.

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Salome Buglass

Like many marine scientists of diverse backgrounds, Salome didn’t have someone whom she credits her introduction to the Ocean, but she knew that she wanted to be a marine scientist after SCUBA diving coral reefs in Tobago, which is part of the small twin island Caribbean country known as Trinidad and Tobago. The pristine beauty of the underwater world, scattered with colorful marine organisms, such as fishes and corals, set in the backdrop of the oceanic blue, really connected with Salome. Her parents always encouraged Salome and her sister to become stewards of the environment, hence it was only natural that Salome felt a deep bond with the Ocean. Salome has finally met an inspirational marine scientist that she can look up to and relate to, before that it was the ocean itself, that pulled her in.

See More about Salome.

Josette McLean

Josette credits her interest in marine science after experiencing Buccoo Reef, while on a glass bottom boat tour in Tobago. She became captivated by the beauty of the coral reefs, and the biodiversity found on them. Later, she learned the intrinsic ecological and economic value of the reefs, and that really enlightened her interest in marine science. However, Josette became concerned about the accelerated destruction of coral reefs as a result of coral bleaching, ocean acidification, climate change and anthropogenic disturbances, therefore Josette vowed to find ways to ameliorate these stressors, hence at just 15 years old, she set out on her journey to make a positive impact in marine science.

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Jahson Alemu I

Dr. Alemu I, first became interested in marine science from his experience while a member of the Sea Scouts. It was in this group that Jahson felt comfortable with being in the ocean. Although Jahson credits his initial development in becoming a marine scientist to his mentor Mr. Hubbard of the Institute of Marine Affairs, it was SCUBA diving that really sold him on becoming a marine scientist. I imagine Jahson's face lights up every time he is in the ocean.

Sarita Emmanuel

Sarita is one of the few persons currently studying mangroves. Her interests in marine science first started with visiting the swamp when she was younger. In fact, wetland habitats surrounding Sarita, because her parents had ponds on their property. Sarita came to know Dr. Judy Gobin at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad where taking courses led her to obtaining a minor degree in marine biology. Although Sarita agrees that mangroves are a tough area to study, I can see her smiling while in the mangrove habitat, because this has always been her comfort zone.

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Diva Amon

Dr. Diva Amon has vast work and research experience of the ocean, and her work involves the lesser known parts of the deep ocean. Diva has received many awards and accolades for her research, but she credits her parents whom often took her to the ocean more times than she can remember. Diva continues to pioneer discovery of new deep-sea species, and I just know how much she appreciates and attributes her love and concerns for the ocean through her parents' initial introduction of the ocean at a very young age.

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Lisa Goberdhan

Lisa's first interest in marine science began when she learned SCUBA diving. The close interaction beneath the surface of the ocean got Lisa that personal view of marine creatures, and eventually the coral reef. From this experience, Lisa continued to learn more and more about the science behind the ocean. What gives these underwater creatures the ability to exist in all of its profound awe? Her journey continues, but it definitely began with SCUBA.

Ryan Mannette

Interestingly, Ryan notes that the defining factor for him choosing marine science wasn't really one thing, a person, or a specific experience. In fact, Ryan says that it was more of a natural progression over time. Ryan grew up in Tobago, hence he was always within close vicinity to the ocean.

From an early age Ryan had developed a strong respect and appreciation for nature and the sea. At age 21, he learned to SCUBA dive, but this didn't add more interest, it reaffirmed his connection, which he already had.

Ryan noted that he met his wife Michelle while scuba diving, and mentioned that they both shared a similar connection to the ocean. Both continued with field research, and eventually Ryan received his MSc. in Coastal and Ocean Management, which as Ryan says, gave him the qualifications in marine science, to go along with the years of unofficial experience.

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Anjani Ganase

Dr. Anjani Ganase speaks fondly of her grandfather taking her snorkeling Down D Islands Trinidad. I imagine the underwater world magnified Anjani's interest, while not being scared because her grandfather was close by. Anjani also mentioned that her brother encouraged her to learn to swim, and that evidently provided greater access to the ocean. Now, an avid SCUBA diver, Dr. Ganase continues to explore and teach the next generation of marine scientists. We can never underestimate the knowledge and guidance of grandparents, as they continue to support our interests. Anjani shares a lot about the environment on her Wild Tobago Blog.

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La Daana Kanhai

Dr. La Daana Kanhai's interest in the natural environment actually began in her very own backyard. She was extremely curious about nature. In fact, La Daana remembers going to the beach where she was amazed at seeing the Portuguese Man-O-War along the Manzanilla Beach. Additionally, she remembers playing with chip chip, which is particularly found at Manzanilla Beach.

 

The initial connection with the natural environment sealed the deal for La Danna, and that continued throughout high school and graduate school, where she met teachers, lecturers, and supervisors that cheered her along the way.

 

La Daana’s research focuses on the impact of anthropogenic activities on coastal/marine ecosystems. She has conducted research on chemical contaminants in mangrove swamps and plastic pollution in the marine environment. To date, LaDaana has participated in scientific expeditions in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and the Caribbean Sea.

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Tyann Henry

Tyann's interest in marine science began in high school, and that initial interest just sort of stuck with her. In fact, Tyann then searched the marine biology program at The University of the West Indies, where she began taking courses as soon as she finished high school. Tyann credits Dr. Aiken in Jamaica and Dr. Reia Guppy at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, whom have been mentors along her journey in marine science.

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Tremaine Bowman

Tremaine's interest in marine science came early on as a child, from watching the discovery channel on television. As she got older, the passion did not fade away. In fact, Tremaine acknowledges that marine environments are essential to life and the livelihood of Caribbean people. However, she is focused on sustainable marine management as a priority, since this is lacking throughout the Caribbean.

Tremaine's current research is based on fish ecology of an estuary bordered by mangroves along the south coast of Jamaica. I can see two areas in her research where sustainability matters. Her research is important, and I'm thankful for discovery channel playing a key role in sparking her interest in marine science.

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Shivonne Peters

Shivonne grew up watching National Geographic documentaries on television rather than cartoons. She lived in close vicinity to the ocean. In fact, loving the ocean made her want to understand how coastal ecosystems work, and that's why Shivonne continued her studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona, and The University of Trinidad and Tobago. Her expertise as an environmental consultant is an extension of her work at Buccoo Reef, Tobago. I could see Shivonne sitting along the sea shore with a spark in her eye, wanting to continue to be a champion for the ocean.

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Karishma Rampersad

Karishma has always loved being in the ocean from an early age. Her interest in marine science peaked as an undergraduate in marine biology at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad. During this time, her mentors were Dr. Jahson Alemu I, and Dr. Dawn Phillip, who supported Karishma's interests, and that completed her decision to stay in marine science. Undergraduate lecturers and specific courses can be the defining factors that enhance our decision to study the ocean.

Michelle Cazabon-Mannette

Dr. Michelle Cazabon-Mannette commented that it was a combination of nature documentaries and books that initiated her interest in marine science. Michelle also credits her older brother who was already involved in marine science, hence he provided an example for her to follow. Watching turtle nesting made her decide on her specific field, which is sea turtle conservation. She learned to snorkel and SCUBA dive at the age of 16, hence this broadened her interest in marine science even more.

Farahnaz Solomon

Dr. Farahnaz Solomon's initial interest in marine biology started early from visiting the many beaches of Trinidad, such as Toco, Mayaro, and Guayaguayare with her family. Although her family were more interested in recreation at the beach, Farahnaz invested her time in identifying the creatures she had seen in an encyclopedia.

Dr. Solomon continued her studies at The University of the West Indies where she credits lecturers, such as Professors Bacon and Agard, who encouraged her to even further her studies. Later on, she met Dr. Dawn Phillip, who inspired her even more to continue in marine science.

Fadilah Ali

Fadilah started off as a general environmental scientist, but fell in love with the marine world and the harmony that exists underwater.

That inspired Fadilah to pursue a career in marine science, specifically on marine conservation. She believes that many Caribbean people are very disconnected from the ocean, and are unaware of what lies beneath, and disregard the ocean's importance. This is what got Fadilah interested in marine science, and her curiosity continues, as she focuses on science communication, and exploring ways to educate citizens on the importance of marine sustainability and conservation.

Priya Pollard

Priya mentioned that it was a trip to the Nylon Pool and Buccoo Reef, Tobago that got her interested in marine science. In fact, while on this trip, she became very concerned about the removal of sea grass, which after doing some reading, she found out that sea grass are very important to marine ecosystems. Priya is currently conducting research on seaweed in Ireland at the Bantry Marine Research Station, and noted that she had been resilient in applying to any and every Ph.D. program, because she had made up her mind that she would persue her dream of attaining a Ph.D. In fact, Priya mentioned that she was lucky to be in the right position, and at the right time, to receive a scholarship to further her education and research on seaweed.

Alana Jute

Alana got interested in marine science when she was very young by watching documentaries like National Geographic, David Suzuki documentaries, Coast to Coast and Cross Country by Ralph Maharaj. She knew by the age of 12 years old that she wanted to be a marine biologist.

Alana completed her Masters in Marine Science at The University of Auckland, New Zealand, and currently continues her academics at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad. She does amazing work with the Institute of Marine Affairs, where she is the curator of Trinidad and Tobago's largest marine collection. She continues to examine numerous marine specimen found in Trinidad and Tobago's waters from the 1960s to present.

J'ordaine Guiseppi-Ramos noted that it was a mixture of curiosity and genuine fascination of the marine environment that got her interested in marine science. J'ordaine visited Buccoo Reef numerous times on the glass bottom boat when she was younger, and this initiated her love for coral reefs. She took a field course at Hoga Island, Indonesia, where she learned to SCUBA dive, and this enlightened her views of the majestic awe of the underwater world. The ocean, specifically coral reefs invited J'ordaine to continue to scuba dive, and enjoy its coral reef habitat even more.

She completed her BSc. in Marine Biology (Honors) degree at the University of Essex, where she also conducted laboratory experiments on the effects of temperature on coral.

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Stacy Beharry-Baez

Dr. Stacy Beharry-Baez decided on a career path in ocean conservation while studying ecology in college. Despite spending many childhood days on Mayaro’s beaches, the notion of being an oceanographer didn’t take shape until she was well into her undergraduate degree in the United States. Learning about the delicate, yet interconnected, system between our ocean and climate led her to pursue a graduate degree in oceanography at Old Dominion University and she now works in the international conservation policy arena.

Stacy has engaged governments and policy makers to include shark protection regulations at international fisheries bodies and strengthened large-scale marine protected areas in the Pacific. She currently supports countries in their ambition to include the protection of coastal wetlands into their climate commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Alicia Dickson

From her early childhood, Alicia's dad always took her to visit the beach. In fact, her dad is a great swimmer, therefore he helped her become accustomed to being in the ocean. Alicia credits her neighbor for allowing her to view an aquarium with fish, and she became interested at 4 years old. Her studies led her to attain a BSc. in the Marine Biology Program at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. 

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Evana Douglas

My secondary school Geography teacher, Mr. Kirk Charles first encouraged me to explore the possibility of a CXC research project (SBA) in coral reefs in 2006. I was intrigued by the topic when we touched on it in class and we knew the Toco coastline had a pristine and unexplored coral reef, so he pointed me in that direction. I grew up knowing about the reef, exploring the safe areas nearshore, and eating from the food resources it provides, but I never really ventured into the unknown until then. I enlisted the assistance of my uncle, Leon Marcano, who is an experienced free diver. He introduced me to the wonder of the marine environment which until then, was mostly buried beneath waves and currents. This project whetted my appetite to not only study the ecosystem in my backyard, but to truly understand it and conserve it.

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Hannah Lochan

Hannah Lochan became interested in marine science when she took a second year UWISTA summer course led by Dr. Dawn Phillip, Rajendra Mahabir, and Dr. Jahson Alemu I. The course allowed Hannah to conduct research at Salybia Bay Reef, Toco, Trinidad. Hannah noted that this was the best decision ever, because it allowed her to improve her creative experimental design and methodology, while carefully traversing around exposed delicate corals on the reef. Group comradery combined with fieldwork with her peers changed Hannah's life, and guided her interest in marine science. She assisted marine research with Cape Eleuthera Institute, as highlighted in her photos by Cape Eleuthera Institute.

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Terryn Constantine

Terryn's uncle took him to a primary school bazaar when he was younger. Interestingly, it was here where Terryn won some fishes, which got him interested in this aquatic hobby. He became a very experienced aquarist, which then transferred to aquaculture where he reared, and eventually sold fishes to the local pet shops. Although tending fishes got Terryn interested in the science behind the initial hobby, he now sets his focus on researching sea grasses in the Gulf of Paria, Trinidad. His advisor, Dr. Kelly Kingon of the University of Trinidad and Tobago is an expert in marine science, therefore Terryn has an awesome mentor. Imagine, a primary school bazaar experience sparking an interest in aquatic science, and eventually steering an interest in marine science.

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Shazara Ali

Shazara has always followed an academic path that she enjoyed. In fact, it was benthic ecosystems, which peaked her interest, as she worked on identifying benthos as an environmental scientist at the University of Trinidad & Tobago: Coastal Dynamics Limited. Furthermore, it was the mentorship of Dr. Reia Guppy at the University of Trinidad & Tobago, who guided Shazara to focus on polychaetes. Marine benthos can be bioindicators, however scientific literature of polychaetes in Trinidad is limited, hence Shazara took the challenge on working and studying marine benthos. Shazara gained more interest when she trained with international polychaete experts at the Smithsonian Institute in Panama.

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Reyad Mohammed

At an early stage in my secondary school life I had always loved Geography and studying the Earth. The way everything just somehow purposefully occurred and was connected just fascinated me. But I will never forget the day we learnt about corals and then, that was it! There were times we touched on it again and again in Geography, and even in Biology and Chemistry, and that’s when I truly realized that inside me, there was a newly found passion for marine science. As I finished secondary school and I was signing up for courses at UWI, I couldn’t have done a degree in Geography because I hadn’t done it for CAPE (my school didn’t offer it), so I quickly searched for an alternative and that’s how I came across Biology with specialization in Ecology and Environmental, and Marine Biology. Ecology was also that one topic in Biology that truly ignited a fire in me.

 

I pushed and pushed, shifted my focus and truly gave my all in Year 1 and 2 (I even collected the prize for Best Year II performance in Biology) and seeing myself thrive here was when I knew I was doing what I wanted to do. Then, Year 3 approached and I started doing the specialization courses, and like a bus, it hit me again, this is it! It struck me most when I was learning about all the Blue Carbon Ecosystems with Dr. La Daana Kanhai, and I realized that I also have a profound interest in understanding the sea grasses and mangroves, as well as corals. Then lo and behold I got all these awards, which was truly an overwhelming feeling (in a good way), as I felt purpose hitting me on the head.

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Sanjeev Persad

From early childhood, Sanjeev has always been interested in marine science. In fact, Sanjeev saw an article by Dr. Judith Gobin doing marine research on the deep ocean aboard the Nautilus research vessel, and that really sparked his interest. During his final year at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad is when Sanjeev decided to specialize in a program that would help conserve marine biodiversity.

Aqilah Khan

Aqilah's love for marine science dates back to her childhood years. In fact, she considers herself a "water baby" because she was interested in anything that lived in the ocean. At 2 years old, Aqilah remembers seeing a few whales washed ashore on Manzanilla beach, and her grandfather took her to see them. Snorkeling allowed her to explore the underwater world, and her interest in marine habitat deepened.

During her teenage years Aqilah got into professional swimming, and this eventually gave her the confidence to get SCUBA certified. At The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, professors Zaheer Hosein and Dr. LaDaana Kanhai mentored her in research techniques, and encouraged her to follow her passion in marine science. She realized how important it is to continue ocean conservation, and her love for marine science continues to grow.

Adara Jaggernauth

Adara mentioned that she has always been a water baby, thanks to her mom. In fact, she recalls spending all her vacation time close to the ocean. Adara attended St. George's University in Grenada where professor and adviser Dr. Clare Morrall inspired Adara to pursue a career in marine science. Mentorship by Dr. Morrall made a huge difference. Another marine biologist that has inspired Adara is deep sea ecologist Dr. Diva Amon, who Adara compliments on pushing the boundaries in deep sea ecology, and becoming a successful and respected scientist in her field.

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Navanna Ramkissoon

Navanna became interested in marine science at a young age, spending most of her childhood living in Florida and visiting Sea World. She followed her passion and completed her academic work at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, before moving back to Florida to pursue her career and working with marine mammals. Navanna currently works at Sea Life Orlando Aquarium as an Education Specialist, where her job involves educating the public on marine life, and the importance of conservation. Navanna continues to pursue her academic goals hoping to one day work with large marine mammal communication and vocalization research. She also credits Dr. Sylvia Earle, who is an inspiration to the world through her efforts in ocean conservation. Also her coworker and head of the education department, Judy has really inspired and mentored her to be an effective educator, sharing information on ocean life to all visitors. 

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Kelly Kingon

Dr. Kelly Kingon noted that there wasn't just one person or an experience that got her interested in marine science. In fact, she remembers many visits to the beach, which was located a few hours away from her home. As a child, Kelly remembers being outdoors, which was very important to her. Dr. Kingon decided to take a marine science course during high school, and that experience essentially set the path for her career in marine science. Dr. Kingon plays an important role as an Assistant Professor at the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT), Chaguaramas, Center for Maritime and Ocean Studies where she leads the Fisheries Research and Estuarine Ecology (FREE) Lab.

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Justin Sui

Justin remembers learning to swim at a very young age, and always admired the marine environment with his curiosity being filled with the biodiversity of marine organisms. His academic degree BASc in Coast and Ocean Science program at the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) Chaguaramas clearly showed Justin that a passion for marine science and research was what he wanted to pursue. Justin continues as a Ph.D. student at UTT, where he now conducts his own research.

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Jeniece Germain

Jeniece remembers being interested in the ocean as a child, from viewing many episodes of National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Channels. She mentions three important people that influenced her to follow a path in marine science. Firstly, her dad was an avid swimmer and spearfishing trips with him was exciting, because it involved the ocean. Secondly, Jeniece joined the Sea, Sun and Science Program from the Buccoo Reef Trust during her second year as an undergraduate student of The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and this experience solidified her passion to pursue marine science. In her final year at UWI, Jeniece was mentored by Dr. Judith Gobin, who inspired Jeniece to continue her work in marine science.

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Judith Gobin

Dr. Judith Gobin mentioned that as a child, she accompanied her family on vacations to Mayaro, and her childhood memories included pulling seines, looking at fish and other marine life along Mayaro beaches. She mentioned documentaries by Jacques Cousteau as being influential early on. At University, it was Professor Julian Kenny who reminded her to always do her best, acknowledge when she did not know something, and to believe in herself. The Institute of Marine Affairs then offered her a dream job right after graduating, and she stayed there for 12 years while developing and conducting research on polychaete worms, where she was affectionately known as the "worm lady." After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Exeter, England, she conducted research alongside other world renowned marine scientists. In fact, Dr. Gobin mentioned that the highlight of her career was being invited onboard the EV Nautilus with Professor Robert Ballard, a marine archaeologist who located the wreck of the Titanic. This led to the first revealing of T&T's deep sea biodiversity. Additionally, Dr. Gobin also worked with Dr. Cindy Van Dover, the first female to pilot the DSV Alvin. Dr. Judith Gobin is now Professor and Head of the Department of Life Sciences at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, which ironically is where she initially completed her undergraduate studies. Her message to young scientists is to follow your dreams, if I can do it...so can you!

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Alain Johnson

Alain became interested in marine science from a young age, and he spent many weekends with his family going to the beach. Alain also took swimming classes, which allowed him to become extremely confident in being in the water. Although interested in the ocean at an early age, Alain credits his parents for continually supporting his interests, but it was his  acquiring knowledge about the ocean, through reading and watching nature television shows that provided a path to his future. Therefore, he continues to follow his interests as a student in the University of Trinidad & Tobago's Coast and Ocean Science Program. 

Stephanie Warren-Gittens

Stephanie has always considered herself to be a "water baby," and her interest in marine science increased while as a graduate student at the Center for Resource Management & Environmental Studies (CERMES) at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. In fact, she gained more and more confidence in the water by increasing her snorkeling time every weekend with a friend. Another major nostalgic memory for Stephanie was being a participant of the Bioblitz Charlotteville, Tobago, where the marine ecosystem enhanced her continued interest in marine science.

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Shamirah Hosein

Shamirah always visited the beaches with her family, therefore her love for water and marine life began at an early age. Some of Shamirah's mentors include Paul Gabbadon and Rhea King-Julien in aquaculture, Dr. Dawn A.T. Phillip in fisheries, and Zaheer Hosein in marine science. However, it was Dr. Hazel Oxenford who mentored Shamirah during her graduate studies at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados.  This experience solidified her love for marine science. In fact, Shamirah says that she feels quite at home in the water.

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Chelsea Mangaroo

Chelsea regularly visited the southern beaches of Trinidad at a young age with her family. She became fascinated about marine life, and wanted to know more about the ocean. Both Chelsea and her cousin watched a lot of ocean and fishing documentaries, which increased her interests in marine science. Chelsea credits the mentorship of Dr. Kelly Kingon of the University of Trinidad & Tobago, Chaguaramas. Growing up as a child with access to the ocean imprinted a sense of purpose for Chelsea, and she continues her journey to make a positive impact in marine science.

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Nikolai Allamani

Nikolai grew up "Down D Islands" Trinidad, where he learned how to swim, dive, fish, and snorkel in the ocean. Nikolai wanted to know more about marine creatures, hence he attended The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine to earn a degree in biology, with a specialization in marine biology and environmental ecology. He took a coastal management course and realized that this would be his main focus: coastal management and sustainability. Nikolai credits mentors like Dr. Judith Gobin, Dr. Amy Deacon, and Mr. Zaheer Hosein for assisting in his academic training, as a scientist in marine science.

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Rissa Rampersad

Rissa attended both The University of the West Indies and the University of Trinidad & Tobago, where she focused on marine biology for her thesis. She credits Guy Marley for allowing her to volunteer her time while conducting research in the Caroni swamp. Her thesis research won her an award for best research project of the year in zoology. Rissa was fortunate to have friends that allowed her to accompany them during marine field research, which definitely increased her interest in marine science. Dr. Mark Tupper influenced Rissa to find her focus in marine science on Saba, where she is an education and outreach coordinator with the Saba Conservation Foundation.

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Niamh Vaughan

Niamh grew up in Tobago, where nature and the ocean is within close vicinity to her home. Niamh completed her first SCUBA dive at 8 years old, and received her junior open water diving certificate by age 15. Many of Niamh's friends were environmental activists, supporting sea turtle conservation, hence her natural progression to her interest in marine science. Niamh credits Dr. Michelle Cazabon-Manette of SpeSeas for her mentorship and knowledge in turtle conservation. Additionally, Dr. Dawn Phillip and Dr. Jahson Alemu I aided Niamh with her marine science specialization during her attendance at UWI, St. Augustine. Niamh believes that younger people should know that the marine and environmental fields of study are available to them, and they should reach out to persons currently in these exciting areas of research. She continues to conduct important work on wildlife trade with NurtureNatureTT.

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Lauren Ali

Lauren felt spiritual connection with the ocean. She feels transition between Coastal environments and organisms found in these zones similar to human transitions throughout a lifetime. Lauren interest in sharks came from an elasmobranch course during her undergraduate academics in Florida. Dr. Sandra Gilchrist mentored Lauren during this time, which positively impacted Lauren's next career paths. Lauren has a BSc. in Environmental Science, and an MPhil in Zoology from The University of the West Indies. Lauren is a staff member of Nurture Nature, where her work reviews shark exploitation in Trinidad & Tobago.

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Katrina Khan-Roberts

Katrina remembers how much her dad enjoyed being in the ocean. In fact, she remembers her home in San Fernando, Trinidad, overlooking the sea, hence frequent visits every weekend allowed her to investigate marine life.

 

Her later experiences at a school in Shanghai allowed Katrina to focus on environmental stewardship. After returning to Trinidad, Katrina received a BSc. in Environmental and Natural Resource Management, followed by Marine Biology and Zoology at UWI, St. Augustine.

 

She set up her own future NGO called Marine Minded, then worked with CYENTT assisting with technical projects in climate change and marine biology. Katrina worked with T&T Field Naturalist during their bioblitz and with COPE. Katrina also publishes books on marine biology and is an avid artist and poet.

 

You can order her books at Amazon.com (see link below).

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Marie Bourne

Marie's interest in marine science began when she was a child. She credits her mom for being fond of nature and the ocean. In fact, mom often took Marie to the beach every where her inquisitive mind continued to yearn for more knowledge in marine science. Marie credits mentors like Dr. Reia Guppy and Dr. Kelly Kingon of The University of Trinidad & Tobago whom assisted Marie with appreciating the ocean even more. 

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Nikkiesha Ali

Nikkiesha Ali remembers how much her parents loved animals. She mentions television shows on Discovery Channel being key to providing more knowledge about the ocean. Nikkiesha mentions that during her teenage years is when she knew she wanted to become a marine biologist. In fact, she is fascinated by sharks, and noted that these animals are the most misinterpreted marine organism. Nikkiesha earned a BSc. in Biology with an Emphasis in zoology from the University of Southern Caribbean, and is now focusing on attaining her Masters degree in marine biology. She hopes to conduct future research with sharks.

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Derrelle Du Bois

Derrelle remembers being always interested in marine science throughout her life. In fact, her initial inspiration came from aquatic documentaries on animal planet television shows, hence her passion for animals and eventually the ocean. Derrelle credits Dr. Reia Guppy of the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) for advising her on current research in marine science: Coastal and Ocean Management Program. Coral reef ecology is her field of expertise, and her work in St. Lucia focuses on a coral restoration project. Derrelle is SCUBA certified and the public relations officer of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN), Saint Lucia. Derrelle credits Dr. Marie-Louise Felix: marine biologist, St. Lucia, for taking her on field trips to the mangroves and aquaculture farms.

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Sheldon Ramoutar

Shelton enjoyed going to the beach throughout his life, and had a keen interest in marine habitat, but his passion for marine science grew while attending The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. He credits the mentorship of Dr. Adesh Ramsubhag and Seema Ramkissoon for sharing knowledge in their specific field of study. Shelton is a microbiology researcher at The Institute of Marine Affairs, Trinidad, where he is a member of the water quality monitoring program, that ensures safe beach environments for the citizens of Trinidad & Tobago.

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Sweelan Renaud

Sweelan always enjoyed learning about nature, but her passion for marine science increased as a member of the Biological Society, while attending The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Sweelan enjoys marine biodiversity, and her interest led her to an internship at the Environmental Research Institute in Charlotteville, Tobago, where she worked on establishing a coral rope nursery. She completed her BSc in Biology with a specializations in: Marine Biology and Ecology; Environmental Biology. 

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Khadija Stewart

Khadija's love for the ocean began at a young age due to many visits to the beach. Her interest in the underwater world grew from television documentaries, such as: Discovery and National Geographic channels. Khadija stepped forward to become a Peace Boat Ocean and Climate Youth ambassador, while completing her MSc in climate change at the University of London. She also is a youth leader for Sustainable Ocean Alliance and the founder of Eco Vybz. She continues ocean advocacy on social media, and will increase awareness on her podcast. 

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Kendell Salavaria-Assue

Kendell attributes his interest in biology from Mrs. Seemungal, his form 6 lessons teacher. Inspiration led Kendell to pursue his BSc at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Currently he teaches at St. Francis College, where he links marine science with environmental biology and aquatic systems. Watching National Geographic and accompanying his family on many trips to Toco ultimately guided Kendell to have a love for science.

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Amy Sardarsingh

Amy mentions all marine and coastal life being a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Amy had an amazing opportunity to continue her academic work at an international institution, where a marine aquarium was within close vicinity for her to frequently visit. Amy continues to express marine life in her art. In fact, her exqusite drawings and paintings attract many marine biologists, because her illustrations are unique and detailed. Amy wants her art to be viewed by everyone, with the intention that people will become interested in marine science. 

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