Naiti Morales Serrano

In my early childhood I developed a strong interest in the marine ecosystem, spending much of my free time in my grandfather’s library and going through every marine journal I could find there. I didn’t know it at the time, but those days left a mark on me. A couple of years later, on my first diving trip in the Caribbean, I realised that I wanted to become a marine biologist. Although cephalopods were my first love, when I started working with elasmobranchs I fell in love with them too. My first experience with shark and ray research and conservation projects was as an undergraduate student, when I participated in setting up the initial basic guidelines for the development of the Shark National Action Plan in Chile. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with great researchers on different projects relating to biodiversity, reproductive biology, feeding behaviour and photo-ID. All of them were on common shark and ray species in Chile.

Currently I am doing my PhD in collaboration with the first research group on Easter Island, the Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI). My thesis will concentrate on species biodiversity, migratory patterns and population genetics of top predators in the Easter Island eco-region, including the large population of Galápagos sharks Carcharhinus galapagensis in the area. Working on the ESMOI project gives me the opportunity to collaborate with the local community to help protect one of the most isolated and valuable areas in the world.