My name is Esther and I am 30 years old. I live in Bilbao (30 mins from the sea). It is located in the Basque Country, where there is an enormous relationship with the ocean due to fishermen and aquatic sports.
My engagement with the ocean started when I was a child, thanks to my parents who taught me how important it is to keep our beaches clean in order to have fun in crystalline and full of life blue waters.
When I carried out my biology degree, my engagement with the ocean increased as my knowledge about the marvellous and essential marine ecosystem also increased. Moreover, during those years I participated in beach and harbour (scuba diving) cleaning campaigns with my colleagues. Performing those activities, I realized the need to take care of the ocean, because of its influences on our health.
During my PhD about marine pollution, I had the opportunity to share that message thanks to talks and other dissemination events (workshops, visits to the research centre, interviews…).
Nowadays, I am the curator of the Basque Microalgae Culture Collection (www.ehu.eus/bmcc), in which we preserve the huge diversity of phytoplankton maintaining more than 500 strains. Microalgae are the basis of the food chain in the ocean, the largest producers of oxygen on Earth, and makers of unique products for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Unfortunately, due to the warming of the oceans’ water, the amount of plankton has been decreasing during the last decade. Therefore, the role of the Culture Collections looms more relevant in the future if we do not improve the current situation.