Mariana Mata Lara

Mariana Mata Lara

Mariana received her bachelor's in Sustainable Management of Coastal Zones in Mexico, which included living for 3 years in a small fishermen's village. Her thesis was on coral diseases and included an analysis of their resource management practices.

During this time she also volunteered in the National Park Cocos Island, Costa Rica, a remote island in the Pacific reachable only by a 2-day trip by ship. She lived there for one month, diving with majestic hammerhead sharks.

After graduating she decided to specialize in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation at Sea Education & Boston University. The so-called "semester at sea" included classes as well as a 5-week sailing trip across the Sargasso Sea to learn about navigation and carry out a research project.

Afterward, Mariana went to Europe where she received a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management. She completed her thesis at the MIIS in California, a comparison between two Marine Protected Areas, one in Mexico and one in the United States.

After graduating she worked as a junior researcher at the National Laboratory of Coastal Resilience in Mexico, and focused again on the Caribbean and carried out the study "Social alienation and environmental decline in a coral reef: Challenges to coastal management in the Mexican Caribbean".

Following that Mariana got her current job as Project Manager at Geonardo Environmental Technologies, focusing on marine and coastal-related projects in the EU. In this position she developed and coordinated the AQUA-LIT project, focusing on creating a toolbox to tackle marine litter at sea with the hand of aquaculture stakeholders from the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Mariana is also part of the implementation team of CoastObs project, focusing on using satellite data to monitor coastal waters across the EU, and part of the management team of Surfrider Porto chapter. Surfrider is an organization focused on promoting the protection of the Ocean through local activism and lobbying.

Her personal hobbies, as you might have guessed, are also related to the ocean. Mariana particularly loves freediving, scuba diving, bodyboarding, and underwater and drone photography.

Episode Link

You can follow her on Instagram @marml_photography

and find her photography and personal website here.