Meet Hurawalhi’s Marine Biologists

31 May 2023

As Hurawalhi welcomes two new Marine Biologists from Manta Trust we take a look at their role on the island and surrounding reefs.

Meet the Marine Biologists:

Paula, from Bilbao, Spain, graduated from her MSc in Marine Ecosystem Management from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, in 2021. After that, she worked researching marine traffic impacts in fin whales in the Mediterranean Sea and volunteered with the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. She is passionate about shark and manta ecology and conservation, with great interest in coral reefs too. She enjoys tropical environments and warm weather. Her favourite quote is: ‘You should be afraid if you are in the ocean and don’t see sharks’ – Sylvia Earle.

Frankie, from the Dorset in the UK and Sabah, Borneo, UK, first saw oceanic manta rays during her open water course in Costa Rica and has loved mantas ever since. After studying ecology and environmental science she worked with the Manta Trust in Mexico, then became a Divemaster and worked on various marine research and conservation projects around the world. Her favourite quote is : How inappropriate to call this planet ‘Earth’ when it is clearly ‘Ocean’.

Marine Biology at Hurawalhi:

As representatives of Manta Trust, a lot of what Paula and Frankie do involves getting to know the mantas of Lhaviyani Atoll a little better. They join manta snorkelling trips teaching guests about manta rays, how to interact with them responsibly, and allow them to learn about their research first-hand.

When they’re not out in the field searching for mantas or in the office processing data, they are also involved in taking turtle ID photos in collaboration with Olive Ridley Project, working on Hurawalhi’s coral nursery project, and sharing their love and knowledge of marine life with guests at the Hurawalhi Marine Biology Centre.