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My weekend passion has become my scientific career!

September 10, 2019


For me, I guess science continues to evolve. It’s forever changing, and I guess its this theme of discovery or exploration which is something that’s going to keep me motivated for a long time. Hi, my name’s Sam Payet, and I’m a Coastal and Marine Science student, recently graduated from Curtin University in WA. I grew up on the coast and as a kid I’d spend a lot of time diving, fishing, camping, just exploring the coastline. It was something I really enjoyed, and that kind of helped my transition into uni. I think above all else it’s really important to enjoy the work that you do. If that means challenging yourself or taking yourself out of your comfort zone or choosing something that you’re passionate about. I believe they’re probably the most important things to look for. For me, I chose to study Marine Science because I wanted to study something I enjoyed. And I wanted to, I guess, give back to the thing that’s given me so much enjoyment. So, I guess I might be able to one day preserve it, so the next generation can enjoy it just as I have. The fieldwork that I do is pretty amazing. I get to dive in some cool places. I spend a lot of time outdoors I get to meet interesting people and I get to experience cultures that I might not otherwise have got to visit. In my second year, I went to Ningaloo Reef to help out another student with their Honours project. And the fieldwork just involved lots of diving everyday and a little bit of fishing. While I was up there, I pretty much realised that this is the same kind of stuff I do on the weekend on a day-to-day basis and it made me realise that it would be pretty awesome to be able to do that as a career to do that as a job, and to get paid to do the things that I would normally find myself doing on a weekend. Probably the highlight for me was my Honours project. I studied hybridising reef fish at Cocos and Christmas islands in the east Indian Ocean. Hybridisation is basically when you get two different species and, for whatever reasons, they interbreed. I’d love to travel, to travel the world and I guess get a better appreciation of the environmental and the social and the economic value of our natural resources. I’d love to be able to bring this all together to get a more unbiased opinion to the challenges we face with conservation. I’d really like to, in broad terms, increase the scientific understanding of what we know about our oceans. I’d love to use that information to perhaps solve some of the mysteries that we have. That’s something that I find quite exciting.

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