31 July 2019

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) welcomes our latest graduate, Fiorella Ramirez Esquivel! Fiorella comes to AFMA as part of the Department of Agriculture Graduate Program and will spend four months focusing on electronic monitoring systems used on Commonwealth commercial fishing vessels.

Here, Fiorella shares a little about her background and what piqued her interest in AFMA.

Can you tell us about your background?

I did my undergraduate degree at the Australian National University and studied a fairly broad variety of biology subjects. Towards the end of my undergrad, I did a summer course on animal sensory physiology and behaviour and loved it so much I stayed on for honours and then a PhD. My projects looked at how the sensory organs (eyes and antennae) of ants work and how very small species adapt to perceive the world around them when they have size constraints.

During her PhD, Fiorella focused on the sensory organs of ants. Fiorella took this image as part of her work.

During my research projects I got to play with lots of different types of microscopes, which meant I spent a lot of time inside in dark rooms. To balance that out I started growing a lot of my own fruit and vegetables, and that sparked my interest in learning more about food systems and sustainability. I joined the Department of Agriculture Graduate Program thinking I could make use of my skills in entomology in the context of food and agriculture, maybe in biosecurity or working with bees and pollinators. When an opportunity came up to come over to AFMA it seemed like a great opening to learn more about a very different type of food system.

What inspired you to apply for a rotation at AFMA?

I liked the idea of working for a smaller organisation like AFMA, and being involved with multiple components of a project and seeing it through from beginning to end was really appealing to me. This kind of approach has the advantage of creating a good variety in your work and means that you can feel a degree of ownership and therefore pride in completing a project.

What are you most looking forward to during your time at AFMA?

I look forward to producing a piece of work that I can point at and say “I did that” but also I’ve been really excited to learn more about fisheries management, particularly as I took some marine biology and ecology units in my undergraduate degree. Working at AFMA, and especially in the electronic monitoring space, has given me a more nuanced perspective on the hands-on aspects of fisheries management.

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For more information on the AFMA Graduate Development Program, visit afma.gov.au.