Parasites, whales, and science – oh my! ft. Sarah Colosimo

My name is Sarah Colosimo and I am an
aquatic and fishery science major at the University of Washington and I just
graduated so I’m from Australia I grew up in Melbourne I started getting
involved in marine mammal research when I was in my early 20s and I ended up
loving it so much and decided I wanted to go to school I was working full time
in retail I had two retail jobs and I wasn’t entirely satisfied and I had
always loved the ocean and been obsessed with whales and dolphins I said I was
going to be a marine biologist at the age of four and it wasn’t until I was
kind of in these retail jobs and not really loving what I was doing that I
decided I wanted to pursue that because I realized that was my passion and I
hadn’t given up on it so why not be doing it I decided to start volunteering
for Sea Shepherd and I ended up going on campaign so I worked on a campaign to
protect humpback whales in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
and it was a research based campaign so we were counting whales every day- it was
really great to be part of something like that and I realized while I was at
sea I loved research I wanted to be in the
field I wanted to be a scientist like my ultimate goal is to conserve species and
preserve the state of the earth the way that it is so this summer I actually
worked with a local nonprofit Oceans Initiative on a southern resident killer
whale study and it really was a dream come true to be able to work on these
whales because they were the whales that I saw on TV and movies and in books when
I was a kid in Australia so it was really amazing to be part of something
like that I’m really passionate about the Salish Sea ecosystem and I’m so
grateful that I like ended up in Seattle where this is all going on
I know that like parasites aren’t super exciting or like the most glamorous
field that you could be involved in but my background is in marine mammals and that when the other hand is very glamorous and while like I’ve loved
every minute of that I definitely felt like there was something lacking like I
wanted more from it and I wanted science because it’s not enough to just love
something like you really have to have the grounds to say like why this is
important I am really excited about my research looking at like the health of
marine mammals I think that we focus on so many other aspects of their biology
and their conservation because there are so many big issues but it’s really
exciting to be kind of at this cutting edge of parasite ecology and learning these
things about these animals that we love and adore but this is kind of like
something exciting and new that we haven’t understood yet so yeah I’m
really excited to keep going with it

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