Sandra grew up in a land-locked Austria, but discovered her passion for the marine environment in her childhood, spending holidays at the ocean. She attended the University of Innsbruck for her Bachelor’s degree. As an undergraduate, she spent time in Scotland volunteering for the Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit. In addition, she spent time volunteering for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust in South Africa and immediately fell in love with the country and its conservation efforts. Therefore, she decided to move to South Africa after her degree, and get more involved in the cetacean conservation along the South African coast. Sandra worked the last three years for the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. During this time, she was fortunate enough to be a part of the Aerial Southern Right Whale Survey in 2016, and additionally to join the SouSa Project to contribute the research of South Africa’s humpback dolphins. Her long-term goal is to contribute substantially to the conservation of cetaceans through gaining a thorough understanding of their population structures and ecology, with the ultimate aim of advising marine spatial planning as well as providing solid information and advice for the management of cetaceans as a non-consumptive resource. In her free time Sandra enjoys nature and wildlife photography and is a keen birder. Through the Conservation Biology Masters course, Sandra hopes to improve her scientific skills and to learn more about different approaches to solving conservation issues in the marine environment.
Visual health assessment of parous female southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) off the southern Cape coast, South Africa (Supervisors: Coleen Moloney, Els Vermeulen)