04 March 2015

SeaLifeBase welcomes its new members!

SeaLifeBase wholeheartedly welcomes its two (2) new members: Rachell Gallano and Rubyann Polido. Both started last November 2014. Three months have passed and we wanted to know how are they feeling so we asked them to share their experiences and expectations since they joined the team. Here's what they have to say.

Rachell Gallano

Academic Profile

I earned my Bachelor's degree in Biology from Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) in Lucban, Quezon back in 2008. In the same year, I became a College Instructor of the Natural and Biological Sciences Department in SLSU. After two years, I pursued my Masters degree in Zoology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). At that time, I was a full-time student and a recipient of the Department of Science and Technology-Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (DOST-ASTHRDP) scholarship. My research on the “Prevalence and intermediate hosts of acanthocephalan parasites in cultured Nile tilapia” during my masters received the Best Paper award during the 6th CAS-UPLB Student and Faculty Research Conference in December 2013. My research interests have been parasitology and ecology of aquatic ecosystems. I also plan to pursue a Doctoral degree in the future. 

Venturing into marine research

From academe, I engaged myself into marine research. I entered this kind of career to develop my scientific writing and communication skills.

Experience and Expectations

I was tasked to handle the SeaLifeBase facebook and blogspot pages wherein I feature and share information and latest news about various non-fish marine organisms on a daily basis. For the past three months since day one, I have also developed my written communication skills with my continuous effort to contact SeaLifeBase collaborators from different parts of the world. I also learned to multi-task by managing my time doing both administrative-related work and searching for vernacular names of different marine species. This kind of career is not just a challenge but also a rewarding task especially when you have accomplished it well.

As of now, I am still undecided about future plans pertaining to my career but one thing is certain, I love and enjoy my job and colleagues here in SeaLifeBase. 

Rubyann Polido 

Academic Profile

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Biology major in Ecology from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). I did a special problem on the phenotypic plasticity of an ornamental plant, Hoya albida, under the supervision of Prof. Faith S. Maranan. I presented my study last May 2014 in the Philippine Society for the Study of Nature. While still figuring out my niche in marine research, I presently have this growing interest in mangroves and sea turtles.

Venturing into marine research

While checking online courses in edX, I stumbled upon a course offered by the University of Queensland entitled Tropical Coastal Ecosystems. Fundamentals of marine biology were discussed there and I found it really interesting to the point that I dedicated months to complete the course - jotting down notes, taking short quizzes and watching videos. Taking the course was free so I maximized that opportunity.  Few months later, I found a post on a social media regarding a vacancy in SeaLifeBase. How timely! Curiosity took me away so then and there I applied. More importantly, I felt the urge that I had to be assertive of what I really want; to be a marine biologist, I hope, can be that fulfilment.

Experience and Expectations

It was said in the post that the job entails encoding of non-fish marine species, so I already expected a bonding with the computer. It was a good fit because what I needed was an introduction to marine species before I can specialize on a specific field of study. The environment? I already felt like I have a set of good friends. It was comforting to have met dedicated colleagues who have their own field of interest. That makes you want to develop your own.

First day jitters turned to weeks. Research is tough. But good things come out of patience and great training. Learning how to zero in on a specific information and encoding it is definitely a discipline. And it is really satisfying when you finally come across that information you have been looking for so long. Among others, exhausting available data online, scrutinizing details, entering a bibliography, citing a reference properly are things that I will be grateful for learning. It is also a plus to be in an environment where I can forge my path towards the field I want to specialize on in the future. 

We are grateful to the both of you because we are able to positively contribute to your growth as marine researchers. We hope that you will enjoy not only the company of its team members but also the project as it is. Remember that we are one in conservation!

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