Combining Griffith University’s marine research efforts with Sea World’s is the perfect fit for alumna Erin Wyatt.
The Marine Education Supervisor, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Marine Biology (Honours) in 2006, oversees all aspects of the marine-park’s educational initiatives and programs.
The exciting new Sea Jellies Illuminated exhibit is one of those initiatives, taking guests on a journey that will inform them on important sea jelly information, wider environmental issues and research projects being undertaken in a first-of-its-kind laboratory.
“I’m so excited about this partnership because Sea World absolutely has lots to do and see but if you ask anyone who works here our driving passion is to care for animals and create awareness so that everyone can contribute to preserving natural habitats and marine areas,” Erin said.
“The partnership between Sea World and Griffith University will open that up so much more because people can see the research we’re participating in. Sea jellies might not be everyone’s favourite but they’re beautiful and mesmerising and there’s so much to learn from them.”
As an honours student of sea jelly researcher Associate Professor Kylie Pitt’s, Erin did initial testing for her project at Sea World before becoming a scientific operations officer and teacher in high schools.
After jumping at the chance for a dream Sea World job, Erin also considered herself fortunate to have worked in the laboratory for FRC Environmental and as an environmental education officer for the Redland City Council before stepping into the full-time supervisor role at Sea World.
She’s also conducted aerial marine mammal surveys for Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Wildlife Western Australia, Murdoch University and James Cook University surveying dolphin and dugong numbers from a plane in places like the Torres Strait, Queensland and the Pilbara coast, Western Australia.
“In this field there’s so many paths you can take so the wide range of subjects I was exposed to at Griffith and being able to dip my toes into everything really equips you to figure out what really resonates with you and what you’re passionate about,” Erin said.
“So much of the knowledge I acquired then has been exactly relevant to what I’m doing now and has set me on this path.”
Sea Jellies Illuminated will open in April next year. The new partnership will give researchers access to Sea World’s infrastructure and boats to conduct their vital marine science projects.
Find out more about studying marine science at Griffith University.