My curiosity about sharks began when, as I child, I saw them on television and was amazed by these incredible creatures. I would get particularly excited every time the documentaries showed a shark hunting its prey. So when I grew up, I decided that I wanted to be a marine biologist studying sharks. The first time I visited a fish landing site I was fascinated even though the sharks were dead, because this was my first encounter with one and I recognised everything that I had learnt about them. As time passed I realised that more dead sharks were studied than living ones (at least in Mexico) and that the national fishing records lacked information about them. It was then that I decided my research would focus on molecular analysis of sharks, which would tell us a lot about them and thus benefit their conservation. My main objective as a researcher is to provide knowledge and the tools we need to create a better world.
I am based at La Paz in Baja California Sur, a state in Mexico that is located on the Baja California Peninsula, with the Gulf of California on its eastern side and the Pacific Ocean to the west. There are many landing sites where local fishers bring their catches all year round. So although we are surrounded by the sea, my project focuses on Mexican markets, where a lot of what is sold is not correctly labelled. One of my aims is to change this situation by giving both buyers and sellers correct information about the marine products they are trading in.
I am a PhD student at the Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas del Instituto Politécnico Nacional and the project for my thesis focuses on identifying sharks by loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). I am also a research collaborator at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, where we study the molecular ecology and conservation of many marine species from around the Baja California Peninsula.