From Barnet to Bermuda and Belize

Marine biologist Nick Jones has worked in some of the most beautiful locations in the world – and with some of the most exotic animals too.

Nick (OE 1996-2004) became passionate about science – especially biology – while still at QE, but he feels sure few would have predicted then that he would become a marine biologist working in remote locations all over the globe.

Alongside the interest in biology, he also had a love of the sea, and it was these two passions that led him to enrol in the Marine Biology course at Southampton University. Gaining his Master’s degree in 2009, he won a scholarship for an internship at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences to work in the coral reef ecology department. That led on to an opportunity to establish a new coral reef research programme for the research and conservation company Blue Ventures in Belize, Central America.

During this time, he enjoyed some “awe-inspiring occasions”, including swimming with colourful reef fish, endangered manatees and turtles, and also sharing the water with potentially dangerous sharks and crocodiles.

In fact, sharks were a long-standing interest, so when he was then offered the chance to study Great Whites in South Africa, it was an opportunity too good to miss. Working with this endangered species was a dream job for Nick, albeit one that required constant vigilance, given that the sharks can reach over 20 feet in length and weigh over a tonne.

From there, he was drawn to the warmer waters of the Seychelles, working on a cutting-edge project to grow coral reef on large artificial reefs in an attempt to replenish the depleted coral reefs of the region. It meant living on an island with five times as many giant tortoises as people and being regularly interrupted by nesting Hawksbill turtles (he is pictured with one above).

After spending three years in the field, he has now returned to England to work for the Environment Agency. Since returning, he has been able to indulge another long-term interest – cricket. This has included organising an OE team for the Founder’s Day match against the School’s current First XI. This Founder’s Day match, an old QE tradition, was re-established in 2012 by Headmaster Neil Enright. It was also given a new name, The Stanley Busby Memorial Match, in honour of Mr Busby, a former QE parent and also a Governor from 1989-2011.