Rio is motivated by the magnificence and complexity of natural systems to deepen her understanding of ecology, people’s relationship with nature, and to find efficient solutions to conserve and sustainably use nature. She completed her undergraduate degree in marine biology and ecology and evolution, as well as her honours in biology at the University of Cape Town. She volunteers at the Two Oceans Aquarium and Save Our Seas and has assisted academics from a range of organisations with biological research. Her honours dissertation focused on reconstructing paleoclimate using fossilised organic materials from the west coast of South Africa, in order to better understand the climatic conditions indigenous people lived through, their cultural and behavioural geographic interactions, and how they influenced the landscape. She enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for nature with others and demonstrates for undergraduate university courses, works as an ocean kayak guide in Cape Town, and has volunteered at an Ecotourism scuba diving camp in Tanzania. Scuba diving, surfing, hiking and reading fill her spare time.
Remotely operated vehicle exploring icthyofauna association with habitat from shore-shelf, in an endemism hotspot in South Africa. (Supervisors: Sven Kerwath, Denham Parker)