Lara Marcus Zamora

I have been interested in the ocean for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Barcelona next to the beautiful Mediterranean Sea triggered my passion for unknown blue waters, and from childhood I dedicated my academic and personal life to becoming a marine biologist.

Although Spain has long coastlines, there was nowhere for me to fulfil my desire to learn more about the sea and its inhabitants, especially the large ones. So while an undergraduate studying biology, I took part in several marine expeditions and was lucky enough to dive in some of the best places in the world, including the Seychelles and Madagascar.

Not only was I instantly captivated by the life, colours and sheer majesty of those tropical waters, but in the Seychelles I had my first encounter with an enigmatic giant – the whale shark. This incredible creature has been in my mind ever since and now I can finally make it the object of all my energy. And while I saw an abundance of life on those expeditions, I also became aware of the challenge to conserve the big blue and the need to learn more about it.

I didn’t hesitate to pack up my things and move to Australia, which I considered to be the best place to kick-start my career. It’s not easy to leave all that you know behind and move to the other side of the world, but I was following my calling and it was worth it. My MSc in marine biology took me to Antarctica, but that’s another story. Next came my PhD, and because I feel that at this level it’s important to study something you’re really passionate about, I went back to that day in the Seychelles – and made the whale shark my life.