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MARINE PARK CONSERVATION & RESEARCH

Jess

 

This season we have marine biologist, Jessica Strickland, working on board. Jess holds an Honours in Marine Park Conservation, has experience working in a range of marine environments including on the Great Barrier Reef, in Moreton Bay, and in Indonesia, and is passionate about marine education and awareness. 

 

Whilst onboard Jess will be undertaking research into microplastics on the Ningaloo Reef. Tiny plastic particles, called microplastics, are popping up across all of the world’s ecosystems and the beautiful Ningaloo Reef may also be at risk. This is of great concern to filter feeders like manta rays and whale sharks, which visit Ningaloo and feed in the area. 

 

These plastic particles host toxins that affect animal hormones, which can disrupt reproduction and growth, can cause disease and can even be fatal. For an animal like the whale shark, which is endangered, under threat, and whose numbers are declining globally, any added pressure could be catastrophic. 

 

Jess is working with Ocean Eco to develop and use an ingenuitive new way of collecting microplastics and working out how big the plastic problem is on Ningaloo. When Jess isn’t scraping through microscopic particles, she can be found hunting for nudibranchs and counting whale shark spots.

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