Date of Birth: 1st Nov 1963

What institutions did she attend?

  • St Andrew’s School, Nassau, The Bahamas
  • Bishop Strachan School, Ontario, Canada
  • Florida Institute of Technology, USA- BSc in Environmental Science
  • University of Aberdeen, Scotland- MSc in Zoology

Other Achievements

  • Studied humpback whales, blue whales and killer whales off Alaska, California, Mexico, Greenland and Iceland

FUN FACTS:

Ms Claridge runs camps for children that include interacting with dolphins and other marine mammals, kayaking and bird-watching.

Diane Claridge
Caribbean Women in STI

Diane Claridge is an expert on beaked whales, which are difficult animals to observe because they dive to great depths and for long intervals. The deep-water canyons that divide the Bahamian islands provide a perfect habitat for these whales. Ms Claridge is noted for undertaking the first-ever photo-identification study of Blainville’s beaked whales, which allowed scientists to learn about the lives and ecology of these timid creatures, by following individual animals within the population for over a decade. She now heads the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation, a non-profit group that she founded in 1991 to promote the conservation of marine mammals and their natural habitats.

An important part of the work of the organisation is to undertake an annual census of beaked whales, sperm whales and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, with support from the Earthwatch Institute. This long-term study has documented more than 2,300 encounters with marine mammals in The Bahamas, and has recorded 24 species, including endangered species such as sperm whales, humpback whales and the West Indian manatee. This information is used in development of conservation policies worldwide.

Diane Claridge was born on 1st November, 1963 in Nassau, The Bahamas. Growing up in The Bahamas, she developed a love for the sea from a young age. She attended high school in Canada and began field research on marine mammals during a semester-at-sea. Her passion for research was nurtured at university and blossomed into an exciting career studying whales. She is pursuing a PhD in Zoology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Ms Claridge advises that, “Children interested in the study of whales and dolphins should take every opportunity available to them to become involved and learn about zoology and marine biology.”


 

Marine mammalogists study mammals that live primarily in the ocean or depend on the ocean for food. These include whales, dolphins, porpoises, manatees, polar bears, seals and walruses.

These scientists work in a variety of settings, including research vessels on the open seas, universities, aquariums,
marine parks, and conservation organisations. They study the biology of animals, their behaviour patterns, habitats,
population and distribution. They also protect and conserve endangered populations, care for rescued animals, and advise on conservation policies.

Areas of Specialisation

  • Acoustic analysis
  • Genetic analysis
  • Habitat modelling
  • Population modelling

What do I need to study?

At CSEC and CAPE: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Environmental Science

Tertiary education is required, starting with a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, zoology, environmental science or oceanography, followed by either a master’s degree in marine biology or zoology, or a doctorate in marine mammalogy.

What skills and traits do I need?

  • Love for animals, the sea and nature
  • Keen observation skills
  • Patience and persistence
  • Research and data collection skills
  • Technology savvy
  • Ability to work in teams

Famous Marine Mammalogists

  • Karl Walton Kenyon
  • William Edward Schevill
  • William Alfred Watkins
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