A Spanish translation of this blog can be found here.

My name is Denisse Fierro Arcos, I am a marine biologist born in Ecuador, who decided to adopt Australia as her second country a few years back. I have worked as an environmental consultant and as a researcher, and I have been involved in projects studying a variety of marine species and systems in South America and Australia.

In my previous position, I was working as a researcher studying sharks in the Galapagos Marine Reserve (Ecuador), which was a challenging but amazing experience. Now I am back in Australia completing my first semester as a PhD student at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS). My project focuses on understanding how fine scale changes in sea ice and ocean conditions affect Southern Ocean marine ecosystems.

Starting this project involved a lot of changes, such as moving countries, time zones and languages. But, it also meant that I shifted my research focus from a handful of shark species to entire ecosystems, and from the tropics to the poles.

This project will certainly represent a challenge for me because it goes outside my comfort zone, and it includes areas where my knowledge is limited (e.g., physical oceanography) or almost non-existent (e.g., bash programming). Despite a dislike for being a beginner at 33 years of age and having to admit that I may not know something much more often than usual, I chose to be uncomfortable because it will allow me to develop skills that will be extremely helpful for the career I want in the future

And so, I decided to start a blog to document with experiences as a PhD student. I will not only share the good bits, but also the not so good part, so you can get a better idea of what my experience as a PhD student really looks like.

I will also use this blog to share interesting scientific findings, which will not only be directly related to my project, but it will include facts about marine science in general and most likely it will include sharks. See you next time.