I am Rui, from Portugal, and here I will describe you my journey to becoming a marine scientist.
Since I was a little boy, I had contact with the ocean through fishing with my grandfather. Despite the fact that I always live near the coast, marine biology studies were never in my mind until I was 17: of course this was my very best option, in a country of sailors and explorers! I must confess that it wasn´t Jacques Cousteau, but BBC documentaries that awakened me to this passion!
I concluded my degree in Marine Biology and Biotechnology in 2008 in the so-called “Wave Capital” from Portugal – the small coastal village of Peniche.
Then, I moved to the Azores for an internship and there I had the opportunity to truly meet the amazing that is the ocean!
In 2009, I went back to mainland, to the Algarve where I did my MSc. in Marine Biology with a dissertation on deepwater fishes from Antarctica, under the scope of an international project in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey (unfortunately I have never been (yet!) in the Southern Ocean…).
Since 2010, I have participated in four cruises in Central Eastern Atlantic, NE Atlantic and along the Portuguese south coast, all dedicated to deep-sea research. Lots of fun, and many new and interesting animals that I can talk about later in this blog.
I really like taxonomy and one of my best achievements so far was the discovering and identification of a rare deepwater whalefish species in the North Atlantic. It was the fifth time that this species was observed! Lucky me!
Later, I worked in the University of Aveiro where I keep working in taxonomy and deep-sea research and also there some very cool discoveries, such as the first time that the opal chimaera was observed in its natural habitat at 2000 m depth. Note that this species was described only in 2011!
Currently I am a second year PhD student and my main research interests are deep-sea ecology, biological oceanography and taxonomy.
My PhD project is entitle “Changes in deep-sea benthic communities and fisheries in the European margin: assessing environmental drivers and anthropogenic impacts” and more details you can find in another text of this blog.
I can not be completely sure what I will be doing after complete my PhD… However I know I want to continue to explore the deeper parts of the oceans!
More than ever, there is a huge need to contribute to the knowledge of our oceans. It is the only way we can truly protect this so vast habitat, from which millions people around the world directly depends, but also that it is present in the minds of millions of people through the discoveries of scientists and stories of explorers and the most adventurous sailors!
Come aboard and enjoy the Exploring our Oceans course! Find me @rui_pedro19