On April 21, Earth.Org had an online conversation with Erin Spencer, a marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer who has recently debuted a picture book, The World of Coral Reefs. As a National Geographic Explorer, she has travelled all over the world to learn how communities can work together to protect our ocean’s fisheries. Erin has also worked with a number of educational programmes to encourage young individuals in STEM fields in hopes to inspire the next generation of marine ecologists.
In the fireside chat, we talked about several topics, including:
- Her work and experiences so far as a marine ecologist, including the study of seafood and hammerhead sharks. The latter of which sees Erin utilising what are essentially “FitBits for for sharks” to track their movement and activities.
- The role of coral reefs in supporting and maintaining the health of the world’s oceans as well as the larger food web that provides protein for people around the globe
- The biggest threats of coral health and survival include pollution, overfishing and climate change, which is causing a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. In many cases, bleaching result in coral death.
- How we can protect and conserve the vulnerable marine ecosystem; whether switching to plant-based diets the solution to reducing and eliminating the threats to coral reefs
- The inspiration behind her children’s book and the writing process; how does one condense complicated yet important scientific information for younger audiences
- The importance of communicating sciences to children at an early age and ways to engage students in marine sciences and STEM. The key is making the activities fun and interactive.
- Dealing with ocean and climate anxiety and how to stay positive and optimistic in her work and life
You can check out the full length video of Earth.Org ‘s conversation with Erin Spencer below:
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