Blue Ocean (formerly ACUA) are excited to introduce Liberty Denman, a marine biologist and science communicator with a soft spot for sharks! Liberty joins the team as Science and Comms Lead.
She has spent the last four years working in various roles, including research, consultancy, science communication and campaigns. The variety of these roles have given her the opportunity of working with a diverse list of organisations, from large corporations such as Unilever, to Marine Protected Area start-ups like Marinas Guardian.
Here’s Liberty’s story in her own words:
The love for the ocean that drives all aspects of my life, combined with my horrible attempt at work-life balance, led to me start up my own science communication business, LibertyDenmanDives. This has given me the platform to explore how difference forms of science communication can engage with different audiences, as well as produce passion projects such as the Out Of Our Bubble podcast aimed at connecting with those who aren’t already engaged in the space. It’s also provided opportunities in film to create purposeful content that can engage, educate and advocate for the Ocean.
Having come from a marine science background, it can easily get a little depressing finding yourself surrounded by countless threats and challenges facing the Ocean.
One of the things I personally find inspiring is the prospect of using technology to understand and protect the Ocean. Thus, the opportunity to work for Blue Ocean as the Science and Communication Lead was a no-brainer. I truly believe the threats facing the Ocean are cross-border and cross-sector, so trying to find solutions in existing silos is inefficient. By bringing together the worlds of marine science, engineering, financing, and technology, the efforts of the conservation and commercial sectors can be aligned. It’s in this collaboration I see the potential for sustained efforts for Ocean protection.
As part of my new role at Blue Ocean, I’ll be working on is better understanding mapping our ocean biodiversity and natural assets. A huge challenge Ocean conservation faces is how to sustainably fund Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the relevant work to resource them appropriately. We are not alone in working on this, as many organisations race to understand how we can calculate the true value of biodiversity, similarly to carbon credits. It’s a fast-paced learning curve!
With the pressing target of protecting 30% of the Ocean by 2030, yet only 2.8% of the ocean is currently effectively protected, it begs the question: how on earth are we going to achieve this? Especially when this is only the first benchmark! This is where the technology will undoubtedly play a huge role. Before we even contemplate monitoring these MPAs, how do we know where to designate them? Where is the most effective place? Which species are we prioritising? How will these MPAs form a network? Will these still serve their purpose in 50 years time as we see the impacts of climate change develop? How do we scale all of this? To understand these Ocean systems, research is vital, and the technology to collect and process this data will revolutionise it. The range of inland and nearshore REAV28 and REAV60 to ocean-going HUSV vessels that Blue Ocean Autonomy has in the water and in the process showcases how we can begin to answer most of these questions at a pace that’s needed to protect the Ocean.
Furthermore, once we have these MPAs designated, we must ensure they’re managed effectively to ensure they don’t just become ‘paper parks’, simply lines on a map. With the best will in the world, we simply don’t have the people power to physically monitor 30% of the Ocean due to logistical and financial reasons. Unmanned AI vessels, however, present a viable solution. As Blue Ocean move towards the innovation of their HUSV, it tackles a myriad of issues, such as lack of personnel, logistical challenges, data collection capabilities, and renewable energy use, not only for coastal regions but also for the high seas.