Dr. Sherman is a marine scientist with a PhD in Biological Sciences (University of Exeter), MRes in Ocean Science (University of Southampton) and BSc. (Hons) in Marine Science and minor in Spanish (Jacksonville University). Her PhD research assessed the status, population structure and dynamics of Nassau grouper spawning aggregations in The Bahamas to better support their conservation. Before earning her PhD, she worked in The Bahamas for six years – 4 at the Bahamas National Trust as Global Environment Facility (GEF) Full Size Project (FSP) Coordinator and Science Officer; and 2 years at the Cape Eleuthera Institute and Island School as a Research Associate and Advisor.
Dr. Sherman has extensive marine animal husbandry and research experience — evaluating the status of Nassau Grouper spawning aggregations; assessing impacts of invasive lionfish on native species and ecosystems; monitoring the health of coral reef, mangrove and seagrass habitats; coral restoration; and conducting Rapid Ecological Assessments for proposed Marine Protected Areas. She has actively contributed to several national research projects, e.g. the GEF FSP – Building a Sustainable National Marine Protected Area Network in The Bahamas, and coral restoration and monitoring under the Atlantis Blue Project and continues to assist with ongoing conservation efforts in The Bahamas.
Dr. Sherman holds numerous instructor level certifications and professional qualifications (e.g. AGRRA Trainer, REEF Check Eco-Diver Trainer, Advanced assessment team member for the Tropical Western Atlantic).
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?
Passion, love and curiosity inspired me to become a marine scientist. I've always been fascinated by the sea and marine life and can happily spend hours underwater just observing and listening. Fieldwork is only one aspect of my research, however, the underlying goal of all my work is to improve conservation management for fisheries and marine habitats within The Bahamas.
2. Why is your profession/field of study important?
We need the ocean - and a healthy one too! Most of the research I've conducted in recent years has been focused on Nassau grouper, which is a critically endangered species, but still an important fishery in The Bahamas. Marine science research can help guide sustainable policies and more effective management of the resources that we depend on. This has been a big push by the United Nations as part of the sustainable development goals - e.g. goal 14 to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources". Over the next few years, I will be working with local and international partners to continue addressing research and management priorities for Nassau grouper and other important marine species in the country.
3. Did you have a mentor or coach who helped or encouraged you to pursue your dreams?
It's difficult to select just one person as there have been several instrumental people that have helped to encourage and mentor me over the years - from family and friends, to teachers in primary school, professors encountered throughout my degrees in university, and colleagues and specialists in my field. I'm grateful to each of them for their support and the roles they've played in my career thus far.
4. Did you encounter any obstacles along your path to this point?
Yes, I've encountered several obstacles over the years (e.g., funding challenges, dealing with unreliable and difficult people, personal loss, etc.), but you have to keep pushing. These kinds of experiences although difficult to get through, can help with character building and reinforce the kind of person you want to be.
5. What was the most amazing experience you have had so far?
There's a saying that divers sometimes use - "The worst day diving is better than the best day working". That's true for me. I've been snorkeling since I was a kid and diving since I was a teenager, so I have lots of great memories and have had some amazing experiences underwater - e.g. seeing my first great hammerhead shark, catching large schools of fish, diving in remote parts of The Bahamas, swimming through massive elkhorn corals, watching schools of reef squid, taking a break from quadrat surveys to watch a group of spotted eagle rays swim by, observing nocturnal species during night dives, watching groupers change colours at spawning aggregations, and watching Nassau grouper spawn.
6. What is your favourite book and why?
I guess it may be unusual, but I don't have a favourite book. I am constantly reading scientific papers and articles, etc. for my research so in my spare time, I prefer to read short fiction novels. Most of the books I read for leisure are action/adventure/detective novels written by Clive Cussler and James Patterson.
7. What do you think is the most important issue facing the world today?
I think unsustainable living is one of the core issues we're faced with today. It's wasteful and contributes to ongoing problems of climate change, exploitation, deforestation and habitat loss, pollution, etc. The resources on this planet are finite and we must do a better job marrying innovation, technology and production to ensure more equitable distribution of resources while minimizing impacts to the environment.
8. Please complete this sentence. If I could change the world, I would____________________________________.
I found this sentence difficult to complete, but if I could change the world, I would foster a deeper sense of environmental stewardship, better work ethic and sense of fairness in people.
9. What three words of advice would you offer to any student as they consider their future?
Vision, Commitment, Perseverance
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The INSPIRE Group thanks Dr. Krista Sherman for exemplifying excellence and being an inspiration to others. Krista, your concern for our natural environment, and in particular, the protection of our marine life will benefit ALL Bahamians. Thank you for your commitment to educating us all about the need for conservation and focus on the sustainability of our marine ecosystem.