Niru is co-founding director of Whalefish, a marine conservation organisation, and a marine mammal biologist.
Name & Professional Registration
Niru Neil Dorrian RMarSci MIMarEST
IMarEST Membership Status (Student, Affiliate, Associate, Member or Fellow?)
Role and organisation
Co-founding director and marine mammal biologist at Whalefish and associate consultant at RPS Energy
Summarise what you do in one sentence
Working internationally in the fields of marine mammal conservation, rescue, research and environmental consultancy specifically by investigating and reducing anthropogenic impacts on wild populations and their health.
Which organisations have you worked for previously?
Oceanus Explorers - Co-founder and marine biologist
Geomotive - Marine environmental consultant
Describe a typical workday
Working at sea, for anything as short as a few days to as long as several months at a time on research vessels. Undertaking various marine mammal surveys including: collecting baseline habitat/abundance data, EIA surveys, Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) and Environmental Mitigation. When I am not at sea I dedicate my time to international collaborations with marine mammal rescue organisations where my days can include beach stranding response, rehabilitation, and pathology investigations by undertaking necropsies on deceased marine mammals. Both roles in addition to the day-to-day running of Whalefish involving admin, project development, education outreach, and marketing.
Describe your academic/training history and how you got to where you are today.
BSc Honours in Marine Biology (2002-2006) and Diploma in Conservation
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
Marine mammal survey skills, species identification, database handling, marine mammal pathology, marine mammal bioacoustics, team leadership, website administration, social media outreach.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working so closely with marine mammals! Contributing to conservation and improving educational awareness.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Working in the offshore industry it has been an ongoing challenge to improve environmental awareness and considerations in environmental planning, specifically in the oil and gas sector
Describe a typical career path to your current role. How does this differ to your career path?
Marine science is a huge field with many possible career routes. A typical route into marine mammal consultancy would involve undertaking a Marine Biological degree to at least undergraduate level, combined with marine-related internships and volunteer experiences to strengthen your CV. Additionally continually developing CPD opportunities through short courses and training.
How has being a member of the IMarEST helped you in your career?
I was recommended to join by a colleague to help acknowledge my CPD efforts and receive recognition as an Institute member while also being able to keep informed with marine news. It has helped me through promoting and supporting CPD awareness and also through publications, which have kept me up to date with marine science news.
Which professional journals and organisations help you keep up to date with industry news?
The Marine Biologist – Magazine from MBA; Marine Scientist – IMarEST (No longer in print); European Cetacean Society; Society of Conservation Biology; Marine Mammal Observers Association
Give us an interesting fact about you!
I also undertook a performing arts degree at the National Centre for Circus Arts (Conservatoire of Dance and Drama) in London and I have been an aerial rope enthusiast and performer since 2006.