Working as a Marine Biologist in the Maldives – Part 305 Feb 2020
In the final part of our series about how our marine biologists ended up here in the Maldives, we dragged Hurawalhi’s Tiff away from the magnificent manta rays to get some inside knowledge about how she landed the career of her dreams…
What did you do before coming to the Maldives?
Before the Maldives I was studying for a Bachelors degree in marine biology in the UK. Straight after graduating, I was lucky enough to get an internship with Manta Trust in Baa Atoll – 3 months of non-stop manta research action around the infamous Hanifaru Bay. It was the most unforgettable time of my life and led me on to the full-time position at Hurawalhi as a regional project manager for Manta Trust.
Tell us about the best part of your job
Getting to know our local manta rays is the most amazing part for sure! Learning their names, recognising those familiar spot patterns when we are out in the field – it’s like meeting up with the most awesome bunch of friends each time we go out!
What do you love most about the Maldives?
The weather and scenery for sure. I’ve lived overseas before but the Maldives is next-level beautiful! I never get tired of looking out my office window over a white sandy beach and turquoise-blue ocean.
What’s your favourite marine creature and why?
Of course, I’m very biased towards manta rays! Apart from them, my favourite would be the juvenile emperor angelfish – stunningly beautiful, psychedelic-looking fish – always such a treat to find one.
For all the young divers, snorkellers and ocean enthusiasts out there, how can they follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in marine biology?
A degree in marine biology or related subject is almost always required but to stand out in this incredibly competitive field you need so much more than that! Get as much experience as you can – volunteer, spend time diving and doing field-work; find out what you’re truly passionate about. I took not one but two gap years, and at university, I saved up everything I had to travel to far-flung destinations each summer break. I spent this time travelling, volunteering on marine conservation projects, working in the dive industry, and training to become a dive instructor. Along the way, I uncovered my passion for manta rays, and now I’m working for the world’s leading authority on manta research and conservation. Also, a little pro-tip: don’t compare yourself to friends and people around you and worry that you’re doing things too late or too slowly – we all do things at our own pace – nobody’s timeline is the same: I completed my first degree at 24 and now have the job of my dreams!