My name is Li-ann and I am from Ireland, where I grew up right next to the sea. The sea has always fascinated me, however instead of studying something marine-related for my undergraduate degree, I took a different path and studied Psychology. The sea kept pulling me back so when I went travelling a few years later, I had to get my SCUBA diving certifications. I did a conservation internship in Thailand and realised that this was what I wanted to do – explore the sea in any way possible!

When I came back from travelling, the pandemic hit. During this lockdown phase, where we weren’t allowed to travel anywhere, I decided to do a Master’s. This time I knew I wanted to do something related to animals and the sea! I completed my MSc in Conservation Behaviour, which I thought would be a great way to blend in psychology with my passion for animals! I wrote my thesis on marine mammals in Sabah, and this made me fall in love with studying cetaceans, although I wasn’t actually able to be there in person – I conducted all of my studies remotely!

That’s why when I heard of this internship with Delfini Del Ponente I jumped at the chance to study dolphins in the field! I am very excited to be here in beautiful Imperia (where it’s still hot in September!!) – I’ve only been here 5 days and already we’ve seen pods of bottlenose and striped dolphins, as well as loggerhead turtles! I can’t wait to experience all that the western Ligurian Sea has to offer and gain some invaluable fieldwork.