Inspiring interns complete their terms at the International Seabed Authority

Two interns are completing their terms with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Secretariat as a direct result of our contributions and our charitable commitment to educating and inspiring the next generation of change makers.

Their efforts will benefit the delivery of the ISAs mandate to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed related activities. Equally as important, they will develop the capacity of their respective countries to engage in activities and initiatives relevant to deep seas minerals and the environment.

Hailing from the Cook Islands, Ms Tanga Morris is working with the scientific unit of the ISA Secretariat in compiling, synthesizing and mapping biological data sets and information available in DeepData database, in particular the DNA sequence and image data submitted by ISA contractors. Whereas Ms Ruiyan Zhang from China is working on taxonomic data analysis results, including biogeographic distribution and assessment of needs and priorities for taxonomic data standardization, where her efforts will support the development of ISA Regional Environment Management Plans (REMPs).

Ms Zhang was also a visitor to the NOC in May 2022 to work on the identification of Brisingid Seastars (deep-sea dwelling starfish) that were collected by our scientists from the Porcupine Abyssal Plain Sustained Observatory (PAP_SO) and held in the NOC Discovery Collections. Ms Zhang’s efforts will be incorporated into the PAP-SO time-series dataset, which is available to a global community of researchers via the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS).

In discussion with Alan Evans, NOC Head of Marine Policy, both interns acknowledge the value of the experience gained through their working with the ISA Secretariat. In particular the skills developed that will be of great value once they return home/to their day job.

This celebrated intern partnership was enabled by a contribution made in 2018 by the NOC to the ISAs Internship Programme to support advocacy for equality, diversity and inclusion, and the development of capacity in developing states. It also provided opportunities for empowering women in science and to collaborate in the delivery of the ISA-OHRLLS Women in Deep Sea Research project.