Meet The Scuba Leeds Dive Team – Katie Cook
Meet the Dive Team – Katie Cook, one of our new PADI Divemaster candidates. We asked Katie about her diving so far.
When did you start diving?
My first dive was part of a PADI open water course in Malaysia in 2013 when was 18. I had saved up some money from working and it was either spend it on learning to drive or learning to dive! I chose to go on holiday and learn to dive, but I still can’t drive!
What made you start diving?
Ever since I was younger I have always loved the sea. I would spend hours rock pooling and snorkelling on family trips around the UK coast (even when it was freezing) and I would watch nature documentaries thinking I wanted to go and see all the amazing things they showed. So I started diving as soon as I could!
Where/when was your last logged dive?
My last logged dive was in Kashiwajima, Japan. It was last September as part of a field research trip studying sub-tropical coral reefs. It was a really pretty dive site with lots of table corals and great visibility.
What are your dive goals?
My dive goals are to keep diving as much as possible so I can see new sites and marine creatures. I think diving on every continent would be pretty cool! And so that I can continue to conduct scientific research on marine conservation. My current goal is to get my DiveMaster certification, so that I can show other people how fun diving is!
What keeps you diving and how do you keep the passion?
I keep diving as it gives me the opportunity to explore new places and to meet new people all the time, which I really enjoy. As a marine biologist it’s important that my dive skills are up to scratch in order to do fieldwork. By diving regularly, I can maintain and improve my dive skills to make me a safer and a better diver, making me completely comfortable in the water.
Whats your favourite dive site?
I’ve dived at a lot of sites that I really liked, so it’s hard to pick just one! If I had to say my most memorable dive it would probably be Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali as it is a Manta Ray cleaning station so we were diving with 15+ Mantas swimming around us which was amazing.
Whats your favourite piece of equipment?
My favourite piece of equipment is probably my camera and waterproof housing. It’s an old Olympus tough waterproof camera so I don’t have to worry about it getting wet on the dive boat or after the dive when it’s out of its housing. It takes average photos (they’re mostly all blue blurs) but it’s fun to have when diving just in case I see something really cool!
So…You are going to be writing a series of blog posts for us over coming months featuring your research and travels, can you give us a very brief overview of the work your undertaking as it sounds important and exciting.
I’m a marine biology Ph.D candidate at the University of Leeds. The ultimate aim of my research is to design a marine protected area network that will protect Japanese Coral reef species both now, and in the future under climate change. Many coral reef species are shifting their ranges polewards due to increased sea temperatures and unfavourable conditions in the tropics. This means that they may shift out of areas where they are currently protected, leaving them vulnerable to human impacts such as overfishing and pollution. I am going to model these range shifts and incorporate them into protected area design. I’ve already got a big dataset to work with, but hopefully I’ll be doing fieldwork to collect additional data over the summer, which I am very excited about.