Understanding the Marine Environment is Key to Ocean Revitalisation

Michael Philander is a Biologist who joined EMC in 2019. Mike is passionate about Guyana’s marine environment and works to instil that pride and wonder in everyone he meets. 

“My passion for biology stemmed from watching Man vs. Wild when I was young. It ignited an adventurous spirit in me. I spent a lot of time outdoors exploring the different aspects of the natural world. This instilled in me a desire to understand and protect it and led me to the incredible world of biological sciences.

After completing my biology degree at the University of Guyana, I developed close relationships with fisherfolk in the country. Their hard work, success, and struggles inspired me to learn more about the marine environment to help them and the country better understand and appreciate developments in the marine world they rely on for their livelihoods.

I enjoy working on the marine environment because I do something different every day. It’s fun to solve problems, learn new things, and satisfy my initial curiosity about living organisms and their habitats with wonders I see almost daily along the shores of our beautiful country.

Guyana has a 459-kilometre long Atlantic coastline with unique rich brown water resulting from the silt and soil of three great rivers, Brazil’s Amazon, Venezuela’s Orinoco, and Guyana’s largest river, the Essequibo. Most people don’t find this water aesthetically pleasing, and many underestimate its importance. However, Guyana’s brown coastal waters are an ideal habitat and provide abundant nutrients for marine species. These nutrients also feed zooplankton, which are vital to the overall ecology of Guyana’s rich biodiversity.

Although the oceans are vast, their life forms are still vulnerable to the effects of human activity. I believe it is essential to understand our marine environment and share this knowledge so that we can all appreciate its beauty and function and sustainably gain the maximum value from it. We need Collective Action to create a new balance with the ocean to revitalize and protect the ocean.”