Liana Houston

I’m a fellow thalassophile who grew up on the coast of Florida and became inspired by the creatures in the mangrove forests and wetland ecosystems surrounding my hometown. After deciding to study marine biology at FAU and studying abroad in Australia, I knew that I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to making a constructive impact for life under the sea and those that depended on it. While I’m keen to see the diverse habitats and unique behaviors of marine creatures, I also want to share these wonders with people so they can experience the same sense of awe I experience exploring nature.
After completing the AAUS Scientific Diver training and helping a PhD candidate with her research on octopus niche partitioning, I began traveling and working around the US. I’m an avid hiker, amateur photographer, and traveler that seeks ways to incorporate sustainable practices and DIY projects into my life (known to give bamboo/ metal straws as gifts to friends and family). I’m always keen to learn more about the environment and local history of the areas I’m in. My fellow DMTs and I constantly asked questions, researched animal behavior, and identified species after each dive to satiate our curiosity. Always looking to improve or acquire new skills, I started learning to play the guitarlele, practicing French / Indonesian, and strengthening my ability to freedive.

Earning an Instructor Certification at Utila Dive Center will be an amazing chance for me to continue my training towards becoming one step closer to my goal of being a Research Diver and supporting restoration and preservation projects. I look forward to training at a facility that prioritizes environmental awareness and action and goes the distance to provide exceptional training above the standards.

How I’m being the difference?

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.

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