Conserving the world's coral reefs

Alex Reid is interested in tropical ecosystems and found Wellington to be the best place to study a Master's focused on research in coral reefs.

Master's in Marine Conservation student Alex Reid

Alex is a postgraduate student working towards a Master of Marine Conservation.

A passion for coral

Alex says he “thrives on coral reef research”.

The 23-year-old science graduate moved from Dunedin to Wellington to pursue his interest in tropical ecosystems—coral in particular.

“When I was looking into doing a postgraduate degree I found Wellington had more coral reef researchers than other universities, and is ranked top in New Zealand for research quality.”

Mixing things up

Alex enjoyed the “good mix” of research, coursework and applied science in his Master’s degree, as well as the flexibility to pick up interesting courses outside his programme.

“There’s such a wide range of options available—you can really find your niche and figure out where you want to end up. I have honestly loved every assignment.

“The lecturers are really great—always happy to help students—and the postgraduate facilities and laboratories are top quality.”

Looking for dugongs

Alex travelled around New Zealand and abroad with his studies. The highlight was two weeks studying marine ecosystems in Queensland, Australia.

“It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. We spent a week at North Stradbroke Island looking at the management of mangrove and seagrass ecosystems, then a week at Heron Island studying the coral reef.

“We saw manta rays, heaps of sharks and a really diverse array of fish and corals—we looked for dugongs but didn’t find any.”

Smart career move

Alex says his studies have prepared him well for the workforce with the contacts and experience he needs for his career.

“For one course, people from different government and conservation organisations came to talk to us about what they do and what’s topical in their area. Having contacts in these outside organisations is a huge advantage.

“My postgraduate degree will help me stand out when I’m applying for work. Between my courses and experience working on collaborative research projects with lecturers and PhD students, it will be clear I have a lot to offer.”

Moving up North

“I love living in Wellington. Everything is really central and within walking distance. It’s such a nice city to live in, particularly for a student. There are a lot of different things in a really small area,” Alex says.

“At university I’ve felt more connected to the bioscience community. I have a strong postgraduate network of friends wider than just my Master’s programme.”

Know Your Mind

Alex didn’t realise he didn’t know his mind until he came to Victoria University of Wellington.

“Knowing my mind has given me direction and the incentive to keep on pursuing what I know is right for me.”
See other students talk about their university experience and what Know Your Mind means to them.