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Kim Hildebrandt's October Photo Journal: An Our World Underwater Rolex Scholar Journey

Photo by Bartek Radziej

After I had completed my time in Seward at the Alaska Sealife Center, I flew back to Vancouver, where I was invited to the 2019 Diving in Science Symposium of The American and Canadian Academy of Underwater Sciences. Here, I was able to see what scientific fields diving is a useful tool, which is not only ecology but also areas like archaeology, for example. I enjoyed listening to the diverse range of speakers and topics, and it was a great opportunity to get to know many inspiring scientists personally. Furthermore, Neha, the 2019 North American Rolex Scholar, and I also got to present our amazing journeys of the last 6 months.

We also had the chance to meet Jill Heinerth at the book presentation of her new book “Into the Planet”. Speaking with Jill who is a great role model and incredible female underwater explorer left us feeling very inspired.

Photo by Bartek Radziej

Subsequently, Neha and I visited Russel Clark from seaproof.tv, who gave us valuable advice on video editing, which we then put to practice to create our mid-year videos documenting the first half of our amazing scholarship journeys. These videos will be shown at the DEMA show in Orlando in November, and we couldn´t have captured such great underwater videos without the support of Reef Photo and Video, Nauticam, and Light and Motion. Thank you so much!

Photo Credit Maxwel Hohn 

My next stop was San Francisco, where I was with The Marine Mammal Center, the largest marine mammal hospital in the world, and an extensive teaching facility for veterinary medicine students, pathologists, and marine mammal researchers. Covering 600 miles of Californian shoreline, the center responds to more than 800 marine mammal emergencies every year. Besides performing rescues, veterinary treatment, rehabilitation, and final release to a large number of marine mammal species, the center also offers great educational programs for schools and everyone that is interested in marine mammals. I, as a Veterinary Medicine student particularly interested in aquatic animals, learned a lot in my time at TMMC and I hope to be back here very soon!

I then continued down south to Santa Cruz, where I was able to follow the work of PhD students at the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Their projects focus mainly on research about elephant seals of the colony in the nearby Ano Nuevo Reserve, and I got to learn a lot from Arina Favilla, who is studying thermoregulation and diving physiology in wild elephant seals.

Overall, the month of October has really fuelled my interest in marine mammals and I can´t wait to learn more in this field!