I grew up on the coast of Sydney, Australia and spent most of my time by the beach, swimming, exploring, and discovering. By age 5, my immense fascination with the ocean had been cultivated. Since then, everything in my life has revolved around my love for nature and my passion for wildlife.
I am happiest when I'm under the sea exploring different underwater terrains ranging from cave systems to tropical reefs. My desire for exploration and my love for learning led me down the marine science path. I completed a Bachelor of Marine Science at the University of Sydney in 2006 but my thirst for knowledge was far from quenched. After working in the dive industry for two years I decided to go back to university to complete a Ph.D. This research focused on the intricate behaviour of the giant Australian cuttlefish, an endemic and vibrant cephalopod that is experiencing rapid and undetermined population fluctuations in South Australia.
After working with these colourful creatures, I generated a new appreciation for their sophisticated behaviours, which led me to inquire about their underlying cognitive abilities. Cuttlefish, along with their cousins, octopus and squid, have a reputation for being crafty and complex. Could they possess cognitive abilities that are found in intelligent animals like apes and crows? Understanding whether diverse animals share similar cognitive abilities can reveal much about who we are as a species and the selective forces that have shaped the animal mind.
My professional career continues to be directed towards furthering our understanding of the remarkable behaviours and minds of animals. The underlying driver of this pursuit has been my desire to motivate and inspire others to appreciate and marvel at the incredible wonder of animal life on Earth. Research shows that when people truly understand nature, they become intrinsically motivated to conserve it.