Allia is one of our superstar science officers. She is from Kuala Lumpur and has been at TRACC since September, bringing sunshine to Pom Pom everyday.  I sat down with her to ask her a few questions about her TRACC experiences and how she came to be here.

How did you end up at TRACC? What does your role involve?

I actually found TRACC through google. I had just finished my marine biology and ecology masters in Townsville, Australia and was looking for a  marine science experience that would give me hands on work. I found TRACC and learnt about the internship, and the opportunity to stay on as science officer beyond that, so I applied. My dream job is to work in marine conservation to improve marine parks in Malaysia.

What is your role at TRACC?

My Job is to lead the conservation dives, and scientific projects, and to work with the head dive master on planning conservation dives. I train new volunteers in scientific methodology, and explain why and how we do things at TRACC. Jo and I supervise science interns with their projects. We will also be helping teach some of the topics in the A level course beginning this month. Beyond this, I also help with general camp maintenance.

Allia doing the TRACC introduction

What are the science projects you are undertaking at TRACC?

I conduct Biodiversity surveys. So every week I focus on one or two marine families and go to different dive sites to ID every species I see from that specific family. My project is part of a larger long term project to create a database for TRACC that shows which species are here, and where they are located.
In the future we hope to compare diversity in species here with other islands in the area, particularly the islands within the nearby marine park. If we can show that we have similar numbers and species there is potential to push for Pom Pom to be protected as a marine park in future.

Allia and Jo 

What do you like most about TRACC? 

The People. There are so many different types of people from different backgrounds here. You wouldn't expect us to all get on, but we do. We learn from each other. Ultimately weare all here for same goal- to protect the marine environment and to help our environment. It's an amazing place to be.

What sort have experiences have you gained here that are unique to TRACC?

So many. Everything here is so hands on. I have learned how to use lift bags, how to lead Conservation and recreational dives. Before I came, I had learnt in theory why we do things but had never done things in practice. You learn how to problem solve here. We run on limited resources and in an isolated environment so you have to be resourceful and learn that there are many things you cannot control. You have to work around issues.

Spirit animal?
Nautilus - because I am an  introvertabrate 😂