Graduate story: Alex Dobrovolskis
Research Officer - Environmental Assessment
South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
Bachelor of Applied Science in Fisheries and Aquaculture Management, 2001
Now called Bachelor of Environmental Science
The work in which I'm involved provides scientific and technical advice to help safeguard our unique marine biodiversity and manage our fisheries and aquaculture. It's very satisfying to be able to make a positive contribution to something of such national significance. I provide technical field support for various projects - as a diver, snorkeler, dive coordinator, skipper, deckhand and observer - and conduct laboratory work analysing samples. Some of the projects I have worked on include mapping the footprint of wastewater along the Adelaide coastline, researching how environmental changes could alter the distribution and abundance of marine invertebrates under future climate predictions, monitoring marine pests in the Port of Adelaide, rehabilitating Adelaide's coastal seagrass, Adelaide's Port Stanvac desalination project, surveying rock lobster larvae, assessing the blue crab and prawn fisheries, and surveying abalone.
I chose Southern Cross University for its location on the NSW North Coast and the fact that the Applied Science degree took an integrated approach to resource management. The subtropical terrestrial and aquatic environments, breathtaking nearby mountains, and world-renowned surf breaks were a big attraction. All this would prove to be an important inspiration and stress outlet during full-time study.
My studies gave me the skills to bring the practical and theory together, which is critical to sound decision-making and management. The lecturers were world-renowned scientists and I had a great internship at ReefHQ Townsville. My integrated research project was on hard corals and I really enjoyed the many field studies and trips that were part of the course.
After graduating I did a short stint in the fisheries section of SARDI. To build my practical expertise, I gained my commercial diver's licence and then worked in the SA aquaculture industry for six years in and around Port Lincoln as a diver with tuna, kingfish, mulloway and abalone. Now I have returned to my marine science interests and I'm fully utilising my tertiary qualifications. It's where I really want to be.
Updated: 27 March 2013