In February 2019, Chelsea Waters established the Institute for Marine Research, a non-profit research organisation protecting coastal marine ecosystems in the Philippines.
"Studying at UQ taught me how to think like a scientist, and create relevant research questions and studies on our most pressing issues."
Chelsea created the Institute for Marine Research after identifying a crucial need for enhanced evidence-based marine conservation to protect reefs surrounding remote island communities of the Philippines from over-exploitation, destructive fishing, coastal development and sedimentation.
Prior to establishing her own institute for marine research, Chelsea worked in marine conservation and research for various non-profit organisations around the world, from Madagascar, to Honduras. She has also worked as a dive instructor and naturalist guide on the Great Barrier Reef.
What are your core responsibilities and duties in your current role?
Creating the Institute, I had responsibilities that were initially way out of my comfort zone. I was creating our account system, a human resources file, a website, as well as overseeing the construction process of our in-field headquarters.
On top of this I was setting up our first research project, designing both the equipment and methodology that would be utilised to do so, and a subsequent training protocol to ensure our staff and research assistants are maintaining the quality of our research project.
But more importantly, I was building relationships. Building relationships between fellow non-profit organisations in the area, Universities, the local schools, and our Local Government Unit (LGU).
Now as Director, I share my time between both coordinating and conducting lectures and underwater survey training for Undergraduate students that are trained to assist the Institute with all components of our research project, as well as working with our data and research outputs. I also manage the day to day base operations, and have a team of both International and Filipino workers that I manage to make our vision a reality.
How did your studies at UQ help prepare you for your career?
Studying at UQ helped me to design this project in a vast number of ways. Firstly, having Moreton Bay and the Southern Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep, there was a heavy focus on sub/tropical marine ecosystems. By the end of my undergraduate degree I had a deep understanding of not only the ecology but the physiology of these ecosystems, and the sensitivity of them towards a huge array of threats and disturbances.
This helped me to focus my area of research interest towards coral reefs, and more specifically, corals.
My Honours year allowed me to build on this knowledge by conducting research on major real world issues that are currently affecting coral reef ecosystems on a global scale.
About Chelsea Waters
Chelsea was awarded the Deans Commendation for her Honours Year Project which focused on the effects of temperature and partial pressure CO2 (as predicted by the IPCC) over seasonal light regimes on corals within the Great Barrier Reef.
- Creator and Director of the Institute for Marine Research, Dauin Muncipality, Negros Oriental, Philippines
Previous professional experience
- Project Scientist at Coral Cay Conservation, Philippines
- Coral Reef Ecology Lecturer and Course Coordinator at Operation Wallacea, Madagascar
- Marine Biologist and Dive Instructor at Lady Musgrave Island, Australia
- Research Assistant at Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Centre, Utila, Honduras
- Research Assistant at Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Heron Island, Australia
Where will science take you?
View other profiles to explore the pathways that many of UQ’s science graduates have taken in fields such as agriculture, biotechnology, business, food science, marine and environmental sciences, research, veterinary science and more.
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