Alex O’Brien

Hi! My name is Alex and I am a budding Marine Biologist from the UK. I finished my degree in 2018, and have been travelling and been making strides to BE THE DIFFERENCE since then.
So how did I get to this point?

I’ve always wanted to get more involved with the ocean and sea life, which took flight when I completed my junior open water course. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was at University studying Marine Biology!
Once I finished, I headed to Thailand to complete my Divemaster training. Freshly out of my degree I found great joy teaching customers and divers alike of the importance of reef health and the organisms around them.

I was then invited to Utila with Operation Wallacea, to lead their Caribbean reef ecology course. Here my role was to teach groups about the ecology of the local reefs, as well as species ID, and take the groups out on dives. This allowed the students to get involved with citizen science projects throughout the course! It was a hugely rewarding experience, being able to pass on the knowledge, and seeing how perceptions of the students changed over time.

My next step that I want to take in my career (naturally!) will be to become an instructor. This would allow me to stay employed in the areas where a large amount of development is occurring. I believe instructors really can make the difference, as I have worked with many great instructors, and I believe I have the skills and passion to shine through myself. This is where I hope that Utila Dive Centre can come into play!

How I’m being the difference?

How i´m being different?

Being the difference is something I have strived for in all areas of my life.
When I was at university, I was involved with the marine science education of school children, holding workshops to teach them practical skills that would be useful in science disciplines(Oceans of Opportunity). I also presented talks on regional marine life to groups of locals who are passionate about citizen science and getting to know the rocky shores around them (Capturing our Coast).
In my second year at university, my friend and I founded the Marine Science Society, and spent my third year as the Vice President to the society, bring students together who are interested in marine life.

In Thailand, every day was a new opportunity to teach people about the ocean, and they’re divers who are already passionate, so it was never really a hard sell… I got to answer questions on the ocean floor, to how to live more sustainably. Being able to pass on what I had learned was very rewarding.
About a month into my DMT I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the dive shop I was working at for the ‘Save Phi Phi Day’. Our team of divers were tasked with the annual cleaning of the famous Maya bay & the island’s pier (Koh Phi Phi Don). Here, my passion shone through and I was invited to get involved with the coral nursery on the adjacent island (Koh Phi Phi Leh). With my remaining time on the island, I spent several days volunteering with the maintenance of this coral nursery, cleaning it and taking necessary samples from upon its structure.

In June I hope to be returning to Utila, to work with Operation Wallacea again, spearheading a project that will hopefully help us to gain more knowledge about the impacts of the changing climate on our reefs.

When it comes to these issues, I am extremely motivated and enthusiastic to help other people be the change as well.
And with the help of UDC, I can continue to make a difference by encouraging and educating others on our beautiful underwater world.

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