My first job as a scientist…

… was also the most unconventional job I have ever come across. What is weirder than spending hours sitting in a dark room, checking the effect of light strobes on behaviour of slimy, snake  like fish, dancing under the infra red cameras? Yeah, I pretty much provided fish disco. Every night. To fish that did not really want it. And all of that to hopefully help protect them. Because what if we could use light to deter fish from going into places where they could die, like for instance water intake systems of power stations?

I worked for a local aquatic consulting company and spent a couple months working at nights in the  National Aquatic Training Centre, UK. I supervised a project aiming to help protect the critically endangered European eels, Anguilla anguilla. 

Did you know European eels are more endangered than snow leopards? They are listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN’s Red List and their populations are at an all-time low.

I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this job, less so handling slippery eels. The job was however by no means easy. I had to help design and build experimental tanks using power tools, withstand the challenge of lone working for a few months and gain aquarium maintenance skills. All of which I am sure will come in handy in future.

Oh, and one night someone knocked on the door and brought a rescued juvenile crocodile. So this pretty much tops it as the weirdest job I have ever had.




About Zofia Drapella

I always seek adventures, but want them to be meaningful (usually related to science, marine biology, teaching). I so often find myself in the most amazing circumstances and incredible places with inspiring people. I genuinely consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world... I love nature, oceans, mountains, jungles. I try my best to capture what I have the privilege to see/experience and share it with others.
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