As many of you know, we are constantly growing here and welcoming amazing new team members. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to our new Research Assistant Claudia Afeltra, who is going to work with our Monitoring and Sightings Officers at our main office in New Quay this summer! I recently had a chat with Claudia to learn more about her. Here’s her story!
Having grown up in South Africa, I have always had a deep interest in nature and conservation. During my time at the University of Roehampton, where I gained an MZool, I focused my studies on the conservation of terrestrial mammals, in particular birds.
It was a trip to Crete and my first ever scuba diving experience that sparked my love of the ocean. Further experience working for an international NGO led me to realise my passion for marine conservation.
I have been lucky enough to have done conversation and research field work in some amazing places around the world, most notably Belize. Here I got the incredible opportunity to conduct photo identifications on manatees and, of course, swim alongside these beautiful creatures. I also contributed to research on local fish populations and assisted in leading local community engagement projects to raise awareness. While there, I found that my that my strongest interest was the conservation and protection of mangroves. It was particularly fascinating to study how these trees have such a massive impact on their surrounding ecosystems.
I am a PADI rescue diver and hope to complete my dive master this year. In the future, I hope to pursue a PhD researching micro-plastics and other anthropogenic effects on our oceans. My ultimate dream would be to set up an NGO that encourages people to research and protect the ecosystems that surround them.
I am excited to be taking on the role of research assistant at Sea Watch Foundation and for the summer to come. While spending time amongst the coral reefs of Belize, it became increasingly obvious to me that marine mammals and sea ecosystems are in dire need of help and my role here will allow me to make a greater contribution to the conservation and care for our seas.