For Leanne Rosser, her love of dolphins began in high school, but it wasn’t until her days as an intern for Sea Watch Foundation in the United Kingdom when the possibility of turning her passion into a career was on her radar. As a graduate in English literature, the path to becoming a dolphin researcher wasn’t going to be smooth sailing. It was then that she realized she would need as much experience and knowledge as possible to make the leap.
“Knowing the road ahead was long, I began to fill my life with all things ocean-related, devouring marine books, writing about whales and dolphins, emailing anyone in the field I could for advice, volunteering for marine groups and even getting my powerboat license!” ~ Leanne Rosser, GoFundMe page
A move to Japan followed, where Leanne devoted her time to doing outreach work with local communities and schools to inspire people to help protect dolphins, as well as doing photo ID studies on Pacific white-sided dolphins, which involves identifying individual animals using the unique marks and notches on their dorsal fins. (This species is one of several targeted in Taiji’s notorious drive hunts, where dolphins are “driven” to their slaughter or captive selection by means of acoustic torture. In the case of Pacific white-sided dolphins, they are typically targeted for live-capture only, and hunted utilizing an offshore netting method, where a pod is enclosed in nets just outside of the Taiji harbor.)
“My research so far has mainly focused on the fascinating topic of dolphin behaviour. I want to push this further so that I can focus my efforts on marine conservation, studying their behaviour whilst also contributing to the valuable research already being done globally to better understand and protect their habitat. Now more than ever the oceans need our help. With so many threats facing dolphins, such as bycatch, marine pollution and the effects of climate change, it’s highly important to conduct research that helps to provide the valuable data necessary to implement better policies and try to alleviate some of these issues.” ~ Leanne Rosser
Five years later, Leanne realized that in order to progress further, she had to develop not just her knowledge and experiences, but also her scientific abilities.
“It became clear to me a masters degree would be the necessary next step in my career, and I finally had enough experience to be considered. I want to learn the skills necessary to use my research as a way to better protect dolphins, help promote marine biodiversity and in turn contribute towards the restoration of our oceans.” ~ Leanne Rosser, GoFundMe page
Fast forward to today: while Leanne has received an unconditional offer on the Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation MSc from the University of Exeter, she is ineligible for a student loan, due to not living in the UK for the past three years. Tuition fees for the one year masters course are £13,800, an overwhelming amount of money for someone who only worked part-time as an English teacher and through unpaid or low-paid research jobs. As such, she decided to share her story and create a fundraiser via GoFundMe, in hopes of securing enough contributions to allow her to pursue her education, with the goal of making a difference in the world of whale and dolphin conservation.
As part of Dolphin Project’s newly created grant program, where tuition funds may be contributed to individuals studying dolphins and/or ocean conservation, we have made a sizable contribution towards Leanne’s fundraiser. We encourage our supporters to make a contribution towards Leanne’s worthy goal.
“Our oceans are our life. They generate more than half of the oxygen we breathe and reduce the impacts of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. Marine life all have their own parts to play in maintaining a healthy ocean but whales are particularly valuable, helping to circulate nutrients when they feed and move, and their nitrogen-rich excrement stimulates the growth of phytoplankton, which pulls carbon out of the atmosphere. Their vast bodies also lock in carbon and when they die that carbon is taken down to the bottom of the sea where it won’t be released into the atmosphere again for a very long time. We are connected to the oceans and marine life in so many ways and it is in our own best interest to protect them.” ~ Leanne Rosser
Learn more about Leanne’s journey:
Website: Konnichiwa Dolphin