The Sisters of the Sea are a group of outstanding women who fully embody the true female spirit. They, like you, have fought hard to make their mark on the world and have chosen to dedicate their time, energy and wisdom to protecting, researching and enjoying our oceans. Here we celebrate their achievements with you and hope that as many people as possible are inspired and decide to emulate these amazing individuals
Margaux is a coral ecologist specialised in coral reef restoration and linking theory to practice. She received a PhD from James Cook University in Australia and is currently working as the lead consultant for MER Research and Consulting in Monaco. She has dived in many different reef regions looking at the success of coral reef restoration projects and currently works with the UN Environment Programme, The International Coral Reef Initiative, and the Reef Resilience Network.
Diving is a world of passion and who is more passionate than women? We need to harness the power of women’s passion for coral reef conservation globally!
Lisa is the founder of Fragments of Hope, an organisation focused primarily on coral restoration and advocacy for the sustainable management of associated habitats in Belize. They are mapping, propagating and monitoring resilient species of coral, which are then cross-fertilised at targeted sites to promote genetic diversity and long term resilience. The organisation has achieved recognition at the International Coral Reef Symposium for their effective coral population enhancement in Belize and was also awarded the UN Climate Change Award under the category “Women for Results”.
Lisa was southern Belize’s first female diving instructor and has inspired others to follow suit by offering local women grant-funded or subsidised training in scuba, coral restoration and other marine related tourism careers. The training and hiring of women in the area has given them a higher earning potential and access to careers in male dominated sectors.
Kirsty is the manager of the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program on Koh Tao and board member of Conservation Diver. She specialises in the study of Elasmobranchs and Sea Turtles and is the stranding liaison for Koh Tao Marine Life.
Kirsty has also founded the organisation Thai Whale Sharks which aims to understand more about the population dynamics of these wonderfish around Thailand.
Jodie is a groundbreaking scientist, women in STEM advocate, and a fantastic communicator. Dr. Rummer is an Associate Professor of Marine Biology within the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University. She has over 98 peer-reviewed journal articles, 12 peer-reviewed book chapters, 25 conference proceedings and editorials. Jodie is currently a Scientific Advisor for the Climate Media Centre, and in 2016, was named one of Australia’s top 5 scientists under the age of 40.
Jodie’s research team combines ecology, evolution, and physiology to address issues important to conservation, such as the effects of climate change and other human-caused problems on coral reef fishes, sharks, and rays and the potential for adaptation. Her work has enabled her to travel the world and break barriers, which she now helps others to break down. According to Jodie, women have a slightly different approach to science and communication than their male counterparts, making it important to advocate for diversity among the STEM fields, and not just in gender issues, but also culture, ability, and sexual orientation.
Jodie believes it is important for everyone to have someone to look up to, but the important thing is that those women we admire are also not unreachable, that they are close to home, approachable, and relatable. Through her work in promoting women in STEM, Jodie hopes to serve as an approachable role model for the future generations.
Rose is the Co-Founder of Gili Shark Conservation and the founder of Coral Catch. She is a passionate conservationist, writer, master scuba dive instructor, boutique hotel owner, and proud mother of two young girls. With her latest passion project Coral Catch underway, Rose Huizenga is just getting warmed up with innovative ways to empower women and save our oceans.
In 2015, Rose and two friends launched Gili Shark Conservation, an organisation that trains hundreds of enthusiasts to complete thousands of survey dives. The data they collect is shared with the Indonesian government, and organisations, and researchers from around the world, to facilitate the changes needed to protect and conserve dwindling shark populations. Gili Shark has become an integral part of the local community. People from all over the world visit Gili Air for the chance to explore, experience, and protect the sharks with their data collecting dive-missions. But sharks aren’t the only population facing extinction.
In 2021, Rose funnelled her intention, energy, and passion into solving the problem of dying coral reefs and gender equality in the (marine) workplace. Coral Catch was born, a unique scholarship program that gives local women the knowledge, skills, experience, and network to set up and monitor a coral restoration project. Rose’s ultimate mission is to create a community of women that are united in advocating for healthy oceans and are working together to restore the reefs in Indonesia.
Dani is a Marine Ecologist specializing in coral reef ecology and marine protected areas. For the past 17 years she has been running her consulting business and now she has joined the AIMS Long Term Monitoring Program in the annual surveys of the Great Barrier Reef.
Dani grew up between Europe and the Middle East. Having spent a large part of her teen years in Aleppo, she experienced gender inequality firsthand, and witnessed how it can impact an individual’s drive to follow their ambitions and dreams. She moved to Australia to study marine biology and completed a PhD in coral reef ecology at James Cook University. In her second year of university she had her first baby boy, and continued to excel in her degree. After her degree, and at the start of her PhD, came her next boy. The thought of choosing between motherhood or science never occurred to Dani, and she recalls going out collecting data and timing it with the nap and breast-feeding times of her youngest one. She believes her positive attitude, fitness and physical abilities were important parts of her acceptance into an otherwise mostly male team.
Dani notes that even though the number of women doing their PhDs has increased since she was young, that the number of women occupying high academic positions is not equal to men. Having worked with men her whole life, and appreciates their qualities of leadership, strength and humour, but has noticed that women tend to be more teamwork-oriented and community minded. This is essential in creating consistency in work, and persistence of successful project management. By empowering women to understand the value of conservation and fisheries management, she believes we will create a positive environment that will persist throughout time.
Jamie Piyada Monmaneerat
With her love for the ocean, Jamie sets out with a mission to do whatever she can in order to protect it. In 2012, Jamie won the Miss Scuba International title and has been dedicating her life to educate and advocate for the protection of the ocean and its inhabitants. She has been working with the Manta Trust since 2014 and founded Thailand Manta Project, a manta rays and marine conservation project in her home country
Naomi grew up in Ireland dreaming of far away Coral reefs and swimming in endless blue oceans. She always knew the ocean would always be a huge part of her life but after being lucky enough to dive on the Great Barrier Reef at 13, there would be no stopping her.
While studying a degree in Physics at University, she joined and later ran a diving club and fell in love with Ireland’s cold but beautiful and rich waters.
Always with a camera in hand, she committed to following her dream of working in the ocean and became a PADI Instructor. She moved to Australia in 2016 and began working as a photographer and tour guide on the Ningaloo Reef and has been connecting people to the ocean through images and conversations ever since.
Her work allows her to freedive with whale sharks, humpback whales, mantas and turtles, but her true passion is changing the perception of sharks as “monsters” and showing people their curious, intelligent nature and vitality to ocean health. By doing so she hopes that they will be recognised more for their important role in the ocean ecosystem and protected with the ferocity they deserve.
Though she didn’t see many women in diving or underwater photography, Naomi grew up on a farm and studied in a largely male dominated field, so was not put off by the lack of women in the marine industry, rather motivated by it. This was largely thanks to the people around her, especially her mum – another ocean soul, who never doubted her. Aware that many girls don’t have the same support, Naomi is honoured to be part of an organisation providing opportunities and encouragement for young women around the world. She has experienced first hand the resilience and brilliance of women in the academic world and the marine industry, and is proud to be representing women in the underwater world.
As a Sister of the Sea, Naomi wants to show that mermaids aren’t just pretty to look at, we are strong, fierce and passionate, which is exactly what the oceans need right now.
You can see Naomi’s work, publications and awards on her website.
Kimberly is definitely what you would call a thalassophile (lover of the sea). She is a marine biologist and conservationist, obtaining her master’s degree in marine science in Australia and has worked on a number of shark research and conservation projects around the world, including Honduras and the Philippines. Kimberly is also a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and an avid free-diver with over a decade of experience in the dive industry. While living and working in New Zealand, diving and studying wild Orca, she became pregnant and moved to Hawaii with her husband to give birth to their beautiful son, Zale (meaning “ocean strength”). Kimberly now works as a dive guide, shark safety diver, researcher/writer, conservation efforts liaison, and captain in training on the Big Island of Hawaii, where she is mastering the art of the family life balance.
As a Sister of the Sea, Kimberly hopes to share her love for marine science and ocean conservation with young women both locally and globally. She feels blessed to have been given so many incredible opportunities in her life pertaining to the ocean realm, and she feels that now, more than ever, is the time to give back and to lift up young women around the world – the future marine scientists, conservationists, captains and divers of the world.
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