Staff Member Spotlight: Yara Tibiriçá

Title
Head of Science & Conservation

Photos

Yara is a marine scientist with a broad range of interests in biodiversity and conservation.

During the last 14 years, she has been working on a wide range of marine projects - from applied conservation to description of new species. In 2017, Yara was awarded a Science Ph.D. from the University of Cadiz, focusing on biodiversity and integrative taxonomy of nudibranchs. Two species of sea slugs have been dedicated after her in recognization of her contributions to science.

She completed her bachelor's degree (BSc.) in Ecology in Brazil and a master's in ecotourism at James Cook University in Australia. She has been working with scientific diving for the past 15 years and diving since 1995. She is a PADI dive instructor and IANTD technical and rebreather diver.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have been privileged to have traveled to many amazing places, particularly to assist in research projects, including the Coral Sea in the Great Barrier Reef, Vanuatu and the most remote Island of Brazil, the Archipelago of San Pedro and San Paulo. Nevertheless, the most memorable was to the Antarctic last year.

I felt like I was on a different planet, well connected to nature. The collaboration between countries in the Antarctic is outstanding, the diving is different from anything I have seen before and everyone is extremely cautious of their own impact on that pristine environment - a lifetime experience.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Prior to our arrival here, I was working in the Indian Ocean, so this was a great opportunity to learn more about the Atlantic Ocean biodiversity, the threats the coral reefs are facing here and potential solutions for them.

I really enjoy to be part of projects such as our coral reef restoration, because you can clearly see its positive impacts, helping to save a critically endangered species (Acropora palmata) is gratifying.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There is a great number of return students; they all highlight their satisfaction with the program structure and learning opportunities. One of our past students is now working here, that is how much she loved the place. She says that the program as a whole was very attractive for her as she could combine lots of dive with learning new skills and contribute to the conservation of our reefs.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

It depends on my objective...

If I was just starting my career in science and conservation, I would go for the volunteer program which will provide me with a broad experience in different fields and allow me to improve my diving skills.

If I was a lecturer, I would be definitely interested in the school program, as it provides me with lots of option to tailor the program for my curriculum and would be a fantastic field trip for any biology course.

If I was in my last year of university or master's degree looking for a topic for my thesis, I would go for the internship. This program allows you to collect the data for your thesis and provide you a co-supervisor who will help you in the field and afterward.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are constantly looking for improvements and to ensure everyone is happy (staff, volunteers and interns) and goals are achieved. People are encouraged to find their own passion and space is given for us to put this passion into the work. When people are able to work with what they love, they do their best and great results are achieved.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Teamwork, dedication, and passion. We are constantly looking for improvements and getting feedback from past volunteers in order to improve our projects. We are also constantly looking for learning more and staying updated in our field. Of course, the beautiful turquoise blue ocean just in front of us also help!