Melissa Cristina Marquez is a Marine Biologist, Wildlife Educator, TV Presenter, TEDx speaker, Podcast Host & Author from Sydney, Australia.
Tell me more about Fins United Initiative-how you got started, what you do, and how people can get involved-what are some ways people can help save sharks?
The organization was first established in 2013 in sunny Florida, and was dubbed as “Sarasota Fins.” Inspired by the lack of shark education and conservation integrated into school curriculum’s, I began creating the tools and products I believed will help inspire understanding of these beautiful creatures. As the program’s popularity grew, its educational outreach expanded and the need for a more encompassing name became clear: thus, The Fins United Initiative was born.
The Fins United Initiative is a shark, skate, ray and chimaera education and conservation program aiming to unite fin lovers worldwide. Our mission is to provide easy-to-access information on all sharks and their relatives worldwide through partnerships with educational institutions and other programs.
We are looking for representatives worldwide – and you don’t have to have a background in marine biology, just a passion for sharks and their relatives – to volunteer their time and go to classrooms, clubs, events, etc and give a #SharkTalk! Contact us here.
How do other cultures perceive sharks (other than as scary or dangerous)?
It really varies on the relationship a culture has with the ocean. Some cultures see sharks as these scary monsters will others perceive them as shapers of the land that are to be respected. I’m hoping to publish more information about this in the near future.
How has your cultural background affected your career?
It has made me a strong advocate for not just diversity in science and science communication but also inclusion. Many people think those terms are interchangeable but they are not the same thing. While science and science communication has become more diverse in the past decade, they still are not inclusive. Science, in general, is a very expensive industry to get into, leaving many at a disadvantage. My career has been shaped by my mission of giving my platform to others to speak their truth and their science.
Tell me more about your books and/or podcast-what are they about and how can we find them?
Joining forces with Speak Up for The Blue podcast, the ConCiencia Azul podcast is COMPLETELY IN SPANISH and interviews Spanish-speaking marine scientists, conservationists, grad students, photographers, and more from around the world. We discuss their studies and some of the unique challenges they face (such as racism, poverty, government corruption, etc).
There are people out there who are doing incredible work that doesn’t get highlighted, which is unfortunate. In many cases, they overcame obstacles, including racism and sexism, poverty, cultural and family expectations, and lack of mathematics background, in order to work and excel in the fields that they love. We Latinos y Latinas have the talent, and we often just lack the opportunity. This is my way of providing that opportunity to shine a light on them.
As for the books, I can’t talk too much about them other than it features an Afro-Latinx family that dedicate their lives to wildlife conservation and education. The series pulls from my life experiences, especially with what the main character (a young female) goes through. More information will be available in the next few months!
The Real Fish of Finding Nemo
The Real Fish of Finding Nemo Part 2
The Real Animals (and Fish!) of Finding Dory
10 Amazing Facts About Sea Otters
10 Interesting Facts About Killer Whales, or Orcas
10 Awesome Facts About Cuttlefish
10 Fascinating Facts About Piranhas
10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Sea Sponges
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- Happy World Manta Ray Day!
- Ocean Documentary Review: “Diving Deep: the Life and Times of Mike deGruy”
10 Questions About Sharks Answered
Book Review: Escape Galápagos by Ellen Prager
Review of documentary Sharkwater: Extinction by Rob Stewart
Meet the Pink Manta Ray!
Duffy the Sea Turtle: Children’s Picture Book Review
Manta Rays Have Social Lives!
Interview with Shark Scientist Melissa Cristina Marquez
Interview with Shark Researcher Kristian Parton
Meet Deep Blue—the Largest Great White Shark Ever Filmed
- Wisdom the Albatross Has Hatched a New Chick!
Ocean Animals and the Mirror Self Recognition Test
10 Fabulous Facts About the Sea Cucumber
What Is Bioluminescence and Why Do So Many Deep-Sea Animals Have It?
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