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Clara Calatayud - Shark ecology with a national Mexican scholarship

Clara Calatayud is a PhD student in La Paz, Baja California, She studies shark ecology with a national Mexican scholarship. Her study is focused on the diver and shark interactions and how and implementing an appropriate management plan for shark diving can be a useful way to protect sharks and an alternative fieldwork method to observe them.

Born on the Mediterranean coast, Clara was raised in Barcelona. She spent her summers swimming in the mild Mediterranean waters until she discovered diving at the age of 15.

After several years diving in the Mare Nostrum, a beauty contest provided her with enough money for her first diving cruise to the Red Sea, where she dived with sharks for first time. Following this trip she worked in dive centers to get her Dive Master certificate.

In 2006 she decided to take a break from her Bachelors in Biology and her waitress partial job to look for experiences abroad. Clara travelled to the Seychelles Islands for a year to be in charge of the sea turtles monitoring program of the Seychelles Marine National Park. Before going back to Barcelona, she worked on a sailing boat as diving naturalist guide and she gained experience in shark diving.

It was in the Indian Ocean where she learned about different species of sharks, from white tips to whale sharks. In early 2010 she finished her Biology degree in the University of Barcelona and was employed on tall ship as the Marie biologist lecturer for their worldwide cruises.

From the Caribbean to the Eastern Pacific and across the Atlantic ocean, Clara transmitted her passion on marine life to the passengers of the clipper boat. During one of these cruises, Clara met the marine biology professor Jacques Leon Theodor, who invited her as a grant applicant for his personal foundation and backed her up with her Master's degree in Oceanography, which she accomplished with honors.

Through her Master's thesis she worked at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) using ROV's technology to survey areas for potential marine parks in the Mediterranean.

Clara has a passion for all things in the ocean, especially sharks. Being from Barcelona it is not clever to mention Real Madrid around her or make the observation that she has been known to behave like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.

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