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Duncan Maguire

How i´m being different?


Research Since falling in love with the underwater world (see the about me for more details), I have been living in and out of Malaysia and Indonesia for the past 2 and a half years. I have been doing research on coral reef health by taking lots of different types data to understand the pattern and relationship of the different parts of the coral reef ecosystem. This helps us understand how the reef works and what are the best ways to protect it! We have used SVS cameras to record fish biomass (that’s what I am doing in my picture!), taking 3D modelling of the reef, measuring rugosity (how up and down the reef is), measuring the corals the invertebrates and also things that attach to the reef over long periods of time. This helps us understand more about the complexity, symbiosis between species and interconnected relationships of coral reefs, they truly are the rainforests of the ocean! Teaching I have been teaching about corals, turtles, plastic pollution and the importance of these ecosystems to tourists, volunteers, school students, undergraduate and masters students. During this teaching I have also been showing how to take data through scientific methods, working for Operation Wallacea and other smaller conservation projects. I am also a Reef Check ECO diver Instructor, enabling me to certify students that have met the requirements for reef check standards. I believe more and more divers are interested in becoming eco divers and having a certification can help people stand out and become ambassadors for the ocean themselves! Supporting novel research and coral nursery I have been assisting PhD students in looking at thermal tolerance of corals and how depth and light intensity might also make a difference to corals ability to avoid bleaching in the future. This is hugely important work and has increased my understanding of the biology of corals and the nuanced differences in the more technical stuff (such-as the clades of zooxanthellae and species-specific bleaching). I have also managed my own coral nursery in Malaysia, trying to re-establish a reef in difficult turbid (murky) conditions. Trying to reseed reefs is a hugely important part of the fight to save our coral reefs! Created a not-for-profit website I have also made a website for anyone passionate about marine (and terrestrial) conservation where they can search for projects all over the world… and it’s completely free! It wasn’t easy building and coding a website, but I feel like it would’ve helped me so much when looking for conservation projects to volunteer on. There is so much out there and it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting into. I have social media pages that run form this website that showcase biodiversity and projects around the world! Feel free to check it out here - www.theconservationnetwork.org


Duncan Maguire2020-02-11T08:48:02-06:00

John Furst

How i´m being different?


Being the difference. For me being the difference is not only a one subject thing. Being the difference is a daily task, a life style. Trying to be better every single day, setting an example, smiling more to everybody, being more conscious about our eco system, caring more about living and enjoying life and leaving a positive impact to your surroundings. I am always proactive in my briefings to my divers to be respectful with marine life and good diving habits as good buoyancy and respect the creatures in their natural habitat. I also promote the use of reef safe sunscreen and encourage sustainable choices refusing to single use plastic. I am also a true believer of being nice and kind to people, with a simple smile you can make somebody’s day! Being the difference is giving your best always no matter what you are doing. This is how I am being the difference.


John Furst2020-02-09T08:22:33-06:00

Rick Hayden

How i´m being different?


Currently, I work on the front lines of marine conservation, actively laboring to restore the, now, lifeless coral reefs surrounding the Florida Keys. Once a majestic paradise for diving, the Florida Keys have endured decades of abuse from industrialization and pollution, resulting in approximately 97% of reef-building corals dying in surrounding waters. My work at Coral Restoration Foundation™ aims to reverse this damage and return the reef to its original, beautiful state. Each day I work to grow, maintain, and restore our nursery corals and our recovering reefs through an implementation of restoration, monitoring, and research techniques. 
 Additionally, I’ve learned about the nature of non-profits as a whole, growing my foundational ability to make a difference in both conservation as well as the community and society at-large. Not only has it increased my knowledge and skills in the fields of restoration and science, but it’s boosted my experience in educating the public, outreach events, and mentoring students to follow their own career in marine sciences and conservation. My current position only multiplies my desire to cultivate a path to protect the vulnerable, weak, or those unable to speak (corals!). I hope in the future to expand that influence to a greater level to create effective change that our planet desperately begs for. I think this opportunity with Utila Dive Center would not only expand my experience and skills, but allow me to flourish to a heightened level as a vanguard of conservation.


Rick Hayden2020-02-07T09:16:48-06:00

Albin Björk

How i´m being different?


Since doing my DM I've decided to go flight free and have a shop stop, apart from being vegan. I'm currently involved in climate activism through Extinction Rebellion, trying to force governments to go climate neutral by 2025 and not 2050 when it is already too late for the coral reefs and civilisation as we now know it. I've been to climate actions all over Europe last year, and now working towards a big rebellion in Stockholm this summer and Glasgow for COP26 in November. If I would win the IDC I would try to reach Honduras by sailboat after COP26 to still be flight free for the environment.


Albin Björk2020-02-05T11:22:55-06:00

Ryu Lippmann

How i´m being different?


In my final year of Engineering studies, I was required to undertake a major work capstone project and submit a thesis. My passion for diving was linked with my concern for marine life and the natural environment which is threatened in the current world. Undertaking a meaningful major work was the only option for me if I was going to keep up the motivation to complete it. My thesis topic was designing a regenerative reef that was powered by a water turbine, driven by an underwater current. This was designed for Gili Eco Trust, Indonesia, in an area where there are strong currents. I was awarded a Distinction for the thesis project. After graduating, I volunteered with Sea Shepherd Global as an Engineer in the Engine Room onboard the Steve Irwin ship. In my 3 months onboard the ship, I dedicated blood, sweat and tears as a passionate supporter of marine conservation in my efforts towards direct action. Through this, I met many amazing people from all over the world who were all passionate, and willing to put their lives towards making a positive contribution. The captain on the Steve told me about a project that he was running through a university. The focus of this project was to restore the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living structure and one of the seven wonders of the world. Being Australian, I was very interested in this and was driven to be part of the project to put my efforts towards this great cause. I am now undertaking a PhD in Mathematics as a part pf this Reef Restoration Program. This is a true blessing to be contributing to the improvement of the natural marine world, with many animals lives at stake, whilst using my skills and strengths in a project that I am so passionate about. This is how I am being the difference - by synthesising my passion, career, skills, interests into one course of action for the next 4 years, and beyond!


Ryu Lippmann2020-02-05T11:05:15-06:00

Elliott Pendrous

How i´m being different?


As a Royal Navy Clearance Diver we remove a range of hazardous ordnance, from state-of-the-art mines to World War Two devices within the marine environment making it safe for all other maritime water users to carry on there daily lives in safety. Often were faced with active legacy ordinance throughout the world found by Civilian divers and fishermen. Removing this allows them to enjoy the marine environment without the danger of being injured. As im planning on taking a sabbatical period in the coming year, I want to use my specialist skills to become an instructor and educate more individuals on how to safely enjoy the sport of diving. After having the opportunity mostly through my career to dive In a variety of international sub aquatic environments I saw the struggle our oceans are facing from plastic, coral bleaching, tourism etc. That's why I want to use my underwater construction skills to aid in reef fragmentation projects; using diving to create a positive impact. I'd use my current expertise combined with the amazing opportunity of being a instructor to educate others on how to make a positive contribution by instilling good dive practices: • Buoyancy • Enviromental Awareness when diving. • Equipment selection/set up • Marine life appreciation • Choosing the right dive guide • Promote eco-tourism I believe we can reduce the level of damage dive tourism causes in so many areas and instead have a direct positve impact on its rehabilitation for generations to enjoy. I'd also like to document me journey from start to finish to allow others to have a better understanding of the process. Cheers 🤙


Elliott Pendrous2020-02-03T09:53:40-06:00

Ian hastings

How i´m being different?


my dad is being the difference as a ‘dad girl’ which has giving me the passion and shown me how amazing the underwater sea world is. He’s so passionate of scuba diving that he even tells a lot of his work colleagues about it, spreading awareness that this activity exists and that its for everyone. I remember too when we both went diving many times in France and Saudi Arabia that each time he would see a bit of plastic or metal or any other toxic and harmful material, he would keep hold of it to put it in the bin and would tell me to do the same when i would ever see pollution. This man has made me love diving so much that I now actually want to become a Padi instructor when I’m an adult for a few years. He is making the difference by helping to remove toxic materials from our oceans and also by spreading the love of diving. He’s my dive buddy :)


Ian hastings2020-02-03T09:46:13-06:00

Melanie Jade

How i´m being different?


I’m making a difference where it’s needed most. After natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and fires I have been a strong digital marketing coordinator, an active, passionate and informative tour guide and a motivator to the business owners who have suffered from severe damages to the natural environment. The education I have completed for Tourism and conservation was at Sydney’s Taronga Conservation Society and Training Institute. Along with volunteer services for local council, Australian Marine Conservation Society and SeaShepard. With SSI dive certifications I began diving in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef where I experienced my first natural disaster, Tropical Cyclone Debbie, a category 4.5 storm that devastated the reef, surrounding islands and townships. The opportunity to regrow a region after a natural disaster stirs a passion in me that is deeper than the Mariana trench. I am now a PADI divemaster and work on Montague Island with Australian Fur Seals, Port Jackson and Grey Nurse sharks at my side. I’d love to share my passion skills and techniques for survival and business growth with the Utila Dive Centre.


Melanie Jade2020-02-01T11:15:20-06:00

Liana Houston

How i´m being different?


While living in the United States, I had the opportunity to be an Environmental Educator near national parks and the coast for 3 years. I immersed large groups of students in nature, taught them forest ecology, survival skills, and marine biology, and challenged them to step outside of their comfort zone through hiking, climbing, kayaking, and swimming in hopes that they would rekindle their connection to nature while gaining an appreciation for the environment and caring about protecting it. Keen to explore the Indo Pacific region and delve deeper into the world of diving, I began teaching science at a primary school in Thailand - imagine teaching 30 students with minimal English about moon phases, changes in states of matter, and forces! My main focus was to get my students outside for experiments - the oobleck and dry ice sublimation were the crowd favorites. Next, I was lucky to find a voluntary Project Coordinator position with the Island Watch Conservation Initiative. My role involved monitoring and protecting nesting sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia on tendered beaches, developing training materials, setting up the camp, and training/ supervising volunteers. We were able to work with Fisheries to relocate and save sea turtle nests from crowded tourist beaches, poachers, or potential flooding. We collaborated with the Ecoteer project to share nesting turtle data and provide a wider coverage of beaches monitored. We joined cleanups with Ecoteer and ensured our sea turtle nesting beach was free of trash every day before any nesting occurred. I made it a point to collect as much trash and fishing gear as possible while walking around the islands, swimming or diving on and off the project site. Upon doing this, the volunteers would join in and it became part of our routine. Another rewarding outcome of this project happened when I returned to visit my school in Thailand and talked to my students about sea turtle behavior and reducing plastic use to help them survive. After this, I volunteered to help the Togean Conservation Foundation clean an overabundant population of crown of thorn starfish from the reefs via diving/ snorkeling. The best encouragement for perfect buoyancy and trim definitely involves avoiding being stabbed by crown of thorns spines! Recently, I completed a divemaster training with the Indo Ocean Research/ Conservation Project in Nusa Penida. We planted mangrove propagules, participated in TrashHero beach cleanups, contributed to fish ID species surveys, shark/ ray species ID via BRUV video analysis, and the Sea Turtle Wildbook database. The photo below captured the Island Watch team and I doing a post hatch inspection of a nest from Rawa - Contrary to the expression on our faces, we were bummed that some of the eggs did not develop into sea turtles but at least all the eggs weren't eaten by monitor lizards or poached due to our night patrols and nest covers! We appreciated the chance to examine the unhatched eggs and document the results.


Liana Houston2020-02-01T11:08:53-06:00

Paulina Mena

How i´m being different?


In each dive that I have done where I see the sea is with garbage, I try to clean what I can to fill the bcd, but my contribution to the ocean is also terrestrial, the stop using plastics in my life has been considerable, the Recycling learning and my persuasion in my family, social and labor circles to convey the disuse of plastics and use of recycling is constant. Unfortunately, I am not working in the Marine world as I would like, because I discovered after my 30 years that this is my passion and I really want to be an instructor, and I am here in Australia with my work and holiday visa cleaning and saving money to be able to take the course. My family always told me that they saw me as a future teacher and I could never imagine doing math classes, languages, history, etc. and here life turned me to something I didn’t know and here it is! My family was right, the only thing I want is to continue learning to be able to teach diving in the future


Paulina Mena2020-01-31T10:28:24-06:00
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