Melissa is a shark scientist and marine biologist who loves to share her interest in and knowledge of sharks with others! While Melissa may be know as the ‘Mother of Sharks’ she became a household name when she was bitten and dragged by a crocodile on Shark Week a few years ago (scary stuff!). She is passionate about inclusivity in science and champions minorities and diversity within the field.
Read on to lean more about her ocean journey and what inspires her …
If you were an animal what would you be?
If I can’t get my first choice of being a tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), then I would love to be a wolf!
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
Outside of work you can typically find me trying out new cocktails with my friends in my Western Australia backyard, roadtripping across Down Under with loved ones, and dreaming up new ideas to share with the world!
What is your first memory / experience of the ocean?
Harassing hermit crabs in the tide pools of Puerto Rico so I could take them home and learn more about them!
How did you get interested in sustainability / eco living and / or the ocean?
As a marine biologist, I see the consequences of our actions every day in our marine world. I wanted to minimize my footprint on this planet as little as possible – I’m nowhere near perfect, but I would rather do the low-waste lifestyle imperfectly than not try to do it at all.
What do you find hardest about advocating for the ocean and / or sustainability?
Making people care! Especially those far away from the ocean, they just can’t see how their choices impact our biggest ecosystem.
What is your favourite place to visit?
The Caribbean and Africa have special places in my heart.
Where do you want to travel next and why?
Would love to explore more of Asia and Africa! Two places I don’t think I’ve spent enough time in.
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
The passionate people I work alongside keep me motivated and inspired! Their drive, their work ethic… just blows me away and makes me want to do (and be) better.
What advice would you give someone reading this who wants to start helping the ocean?
Just start! It doesn’t have to be a big action- even a 5 minute clean up every time you go to the beach is a great way to start. And if you can, donate your time and money to organizations who are trying to protect our oceans.
Any upcoming projects / activities / causes you want to shout out?
Keep an eye out for my Scholastic books that celebrate a variety of wild spaces & wildlife! The first one is already out (pictured here) and the next one “Wild Survival Swimming with Sharks” is available for pre-order now too!
Be sure to follow Melissa @melissacristinamarquez on IG to learn more about sharks and marine biology. Melissa shares lots of fun information on sharks and goes out of her way to promote other women in STEM too. Basically if you like sharks and science then this shark scientist is definitely worth a follow!