Lauren de Vos

For a girl born inland and raised on red African soil, it’s a bit of a journey down to the sea. However, every day sees me fall a little more in love with our planet’s wildest spaces – so it was almost inevitable that I would end up at that last great blue wilderness: the ocean. My research career to this point has been nothing if not eclectic – a good indication of my love of learning and my addiction to the outdoors!

When I moved to the coast for university, my first bumbling attempts at surfing and free diving unearthed a curious passion for the ocean, which had originated during childhood beach holidays and been carefully nurtured from a stash of surfing magazines hidden under my bed in my teenage attempt to ‘learn the coastal lingo’. At some point during my undergraduate years, when I was fuelled by the passion of the researchers I encountered, the ocean captured my imagination.

So, after stints traipsing up the Cape Peninsula’s mountains to study insects, wading through rivers for freshwater research, scaling termite mounds while studying in the Kruger National Park and learning not to run from charging baboons for my Honours degree, I was drawn back to the sea. Tackling my MSc in Conservation Biology opened my eyes to the need for sound scientific research to inform conservation decisions. By its end, I was determined to explore the variety of possible solutions to the conservation challenges our oceans face. And as far as office spaces go, the ocean is a pretty inspiring place to work in.