Ayesha Bobat is a Marine Research Assistant at WILDOCEANS under the supervision of Dr Jean Harris. Her project title is: Surveys of the Comoros Archipelago to gain knowledge about the mesophotic reef biodiversity in order to support action for increased ocean protection. The overall objectives of this study are to: i) improve the knowledge of the biodiversity of important deep marine ecosystems in the Comoros Archipelago, ii) Improve knowledge of fish species composition and abundance on deeper mesophotic reefs, and the role of these reefs in sustaining inshore fisheries, iii) Build civil society capacity for engaging in generating marine science knowledge, and contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of fisheries.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Successfully facilitating a debate on Trophy hunting at the 2019 Conservation Symposium.
What would you change about how women are perceived in science and ocean governance careers?
Women usually adopt the role of researchers and on occasion policy informants, but there is still capacity for women to prescribe policy and form the link of the science-policy interface. This role is usually granted to men based on superficial characteristics such as charisma and network capacity, and therefore subtly undermines long term ambitions. Especially when the economic hardballing is placed on the table. Women are highly capable and add a new perspective and they should be perceived as such.
Who has inspired you in your career?
I have been inspired by so many people in such a short space of time! Every time I attend a conference, I have the privilege of engaging with some great minds. The initiatives, hard work and major advances that some of these people add to the world is truly inspirational and I aim to be that impactful in my future career.
What is your dream research project? Where would you work and with whom?
I would like to be part of implementing and researching the biodiversity and ecology of a successful coral propagation project in the Maldives, working with Four Seasons Reefscapers.
What would you say to your fifteen year old self about your career choices?
Trust yourself and follow your passion. Listen to what your heart tells you and you will make the perfect career choice.
What secret talent do you have?
Not many people know that I can play piano. I’ve always been drawn to it from the time I was a little girl but I’m still learning.
What do you miss most about the pre-Covid19 world?
I miss the beach and traveling and experiencing nature in its unrestrained form. I got into the environment to preserve and honour nature, and by Covid19 restricting mobility I am deprived some of that opportunity. I was supposed to be on holiday in Zanzibar just before the lockdown, but my flight was cancelled 🙁
What is your quote to live by?
“You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.”