Daisy Maryon is a conservation biologist specializing in endangered iguanas. She is an active member of the IUCN iguana specialist group and,works closely with the International Iguana Foundation. Currently works as research coordinator at Kanahau Utila Research and Conservation Facility in Utila, Honduras, where she is carrying out her PhD on Utila spiny-tailed iguanas with the University of South Wales. Before Daisy found her love of iguanas she worked in the cloud forests of Honduras with Operation Wallacea, leading expeditions of students, she also spend time in Indonesia radio tracking slow lorises with the Little Fire Face project and, worked at Riet Vell nature reserve in Spain with Birdlife international.
On the small island of Utila Daisy works with Kanahau to research and conserve the Critically Endangered Utila spiny-tailed iguana and other endemic species.
Research takes Daisy and the team to Utilas wild western side and unforgiving interior, for a small island there are some incredibly diverse habitats from sandy beaches, to mangroves to wet neotropical savannahs and hardwood forests.
Education and outreach is a key component of this work as the iguanas are endangered due to habitat destruction and the fact they are considered a delicacy. Known locally as the Swamper on the island due to its habitat preference of mangrove forests, the Utila team came up with the “#SaveTheSwamper” campaign to rally support for the iguanas. Daisy so far has trained one ex hunter as a conservation field guide and hopes to be able to continue to provide more training and alternative incomes to hunting. Now the battle is on to promote the Swamper as a flagship species for the island and ensure the small population can be conserved.
My academic training has been in the ﬁeld of Neuroscience. I have been in love with the brain since I was 13 I think. Watching a NatGeo documentary about the brain one Sunday afternoon proved really rather signiﬁcant. This was long before I had any views about career for myself, let alone knowing the possibility of career in Neuroscience. It’s true what they say — for this day and age — “I watch, therefore I am”. So, that’s who I am — a neuroscientist.
Several beautiful chance encounters since watching the NatGeo documentary, I found myself doing PhD, in Neuroscience! Here, I studied the changes happening in brain during chronic pain; how drugs inﬂuence these changes when they do, and don’t, relieve pain. When I was a graduate student, the human genome was ﬁrst mapped. I started thinking about what genes can, and cannot, do. My postdoc work then naturally was about targeting how genetic elements (not always functional genes, but DNA sequences within genome) are involved — in increasing chances of a disease, and how that aspect can be used to develop better treatments.
Along the way, I added ‘science communication’ and ‘integrating research and education’, as two other things I really care about (and therefore will tweet about during my time with Biotweeps 🙂
Lali has been a teacher and scientist all her life. Her first experiments were meticulously labeled materials tests on the snow-encrusted window ledge of her bedroom. School friends have jokingly referred to her Bus Ride Lecture Series, where she would expound on everything from germ theory to adaptive social behavior. Raised by science-minded parents, Lali was encouraged to read, investigate, and question everything. Childhood trips to aquariums and museums went hand-in-hand with poring over grisly pictures in medical texts on lazy afternoons and marathons of Cousteau documentaries.
Lali studied Oceanic and Atmospheric Science at a science magnet school in the southeast where phenomenal high school teachers cultivated her love of school and learning. She was afforded an opportunity to work in a planktonology lab as part of a work-study program, and was immersed in marine science and culture as part of the daily curriculum. Drawn always to science, Lali realized that her place was not in a research lab, but rather in the classroom, where she could cultivate a love of science in the next generation of learners.
Lali went on to earn degrees in Biological Sciences at a New England liberal arts school, and Science Education at a Florida university. Currently at an independent school in Florida, she is teaches biological sciences and is developing a science writing curriculum for middle and high school. Believing that science communication is the key to improving science literacy among both students and the general public, Lali is eager to explore how online communication can enhance science education. You can find her other writing at Life in the Nerdlet Estuary.