The Team

Ship Location

E Pacific Ocean

Esmeralda Morales Dominguez

Photo of Esmeralda Morales Dominguez
Science/Data Team
Graduate Student
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

I study Peracaridean crustaceans. My thesis addressed the occurrence of these organisms, in particular, the isopods in carbonated structures such as coral banks. It described and illustrated the external morphology, the abundance, and distribution of the diverse species encountered in dredged materials and provided maps and identification keys. My passion is the taxonomy and lately, I have been learning more about the habitat complexity, and where many of these organisms live.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

My interest in marine biology began when I saw the marine documentary film “Blue Sea”, it was then that I wished I could study the animals that appeared in the film. I also think the sea is a big mysterious place that I would love to get to know better through exploration and contribute some of it to the next generations.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

During college, many teachers encouraged me to study the sea. My interest in the deep-sea began during my master’s degree studies, especially when my advisor invited me to join a cruise onboard the University research vessel Justo Sierra.

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

The most fascinating thing I have done is to discover new forms and species that are occurring in the deep-sea.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I studied Marine Biology and have been always in contact with the ocean. Among the activities I carry out are diving and free diving. While sampling on board the University research vessel we send equipment to sample but have no vision in real time of where and what we are sampling, and my advisor considers that every experience we can have working with tools from the 21st century is important. My early experience is the coastal ecosystem and lately the deep sea. I have had the chance to participate introducing middle school and high school children to the work we carry out in the lab. I like these activities of scientific communication.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, Universidad del Mar, Campus Puerto Ángel, México 2008.
Master in Science in Marine Biology, Postgraduate program in Marine Sciences and Limnology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México 2015.

What are your hobbies?

I like swimming, reading, and knitting. I also enjoy scary movies, listening music and browsing the net.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career like yours?

You can always find new ways to make interdisciplinary studies, always learn from other people, other disciplines, even people who do not do scientific research. Be always open to learning new things and enjoy what you do.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

I got involved thanks to my advisor who invited me to participate and not lose the experience I had acquired with ROV observations, collections, and others onboard previous cruises.