Mar 11

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Media ResearcherI’ve always had a bit of a fascination with nature and the outdoors, and like nothing more than being outside in my wellies, camera in hand. This led me to study Biological Sciences at Oxford University and then Biological Photography & Imaging at the University of Nottingham. After completing my Masters degree I moved to Bristol to start work as an ARKive Media Researcher and have been here ever since.

What are you currently working on?

As well as researching lots of new species, we are currently updating some of the older species so watch this space for great NEW images of the red panda, the leafy seadragon and the olive ridley turtle.

I have also recently become a STEM Ambassador, and with National Science and Engineering week coming up soon (11th-20th March) we have lots of school visits scheduled and lessons to plan.

What animal skill would you most like to have?

I think the skill I would most like is the ability to fly. I tried hang-gliding while I was in New Zealand and that was amazing (despite my fear of heights), so being able to do that without all the equipment would be awesome. Failing that, I think breathing underwater would come a close second.

Which three people would you invite to the ultimate dinner party?

From a biological point of view I would invite Ian Douglas-Hamilton, zoologist and founder of Save the Elephants. I fell in love with elephants while working on a conservation project in Botswana and imagine he would have some interesting tales.

William Shakespeare would probably be my second guest. Perhaps he could be persuaded to read one his plays or sonnets as after dinner entertainment.

Finally, to lighten the mood I would invite Julie Walters. I think she’s a brilliant actress and comedienne and I’d be curious to know what it was like working on the Harry Potter films!

Where in the world would you most like to go?

If I was allowed to return to somewhere I have already been it would have to be the Australian outback. I’m a big fan of the heat and they have some awesome animals out there, who doesn’t love kookaburras, koalas and kangaroos?!

If I had to pick somewhere new, I would love to go to Alaska as you can see polar bears and the Aurora Borealis, or then again maybe I’d go to the Amazon – decisions, decisions.

Which celebrity do you most look like?

I don’t think I look like any celebrity in particular really so I sought the wisdom of an internet facial recognition website which suggests I look like either Scarlett Johansson or Anna Paquin (of True Blood and X-Men fame). Not sure I can see a striking resemblance with either though…

What’s the best wildlife encounter you’ve ever had?

Whale watching off Vancouver Island was definitely an awesome wildlife encounter – a male orca surfaced about 8 feet from our boat, which made even the captain jump! A little closer to home, ringing storm petrels in the Isle of Man was brilliant – they’re very feisty little birds.

What’s your favourite thing on ARKive?

I think I’ll always have a soft spot for the South American sea lion and the southern carmine bee-eater because they were the first species I ever researched. One of my new favourites is the pygmy three-toed sloth, and the video of the sleepy meerkats really never gets old.

Tell us an animal related joke.

There are two fish in a tank…..

one turns to the other and says, “do you know how to drive this thing?

  • Doug Hutchinson (March 13th, 2011 at 12:05 am):

    Hi Laura, Iam an engineer, am self employed and run my own company called Power Generation Services (UK) Ltd – PGSL – in the last 18 years PGSL has completed assignments in 19 countries.

    I too am a STEM Ambassador – I am going to South Africa & Australia at the end of March ‘ 11.

    One of my passions is wildlife photography and I am looking to take it up professionally. Is there anyway I could show my work in order to commence commercial operations in writing & photography. Any assistance to shuv me in the right direction would be much apprecaited.

    Doug Hutchinson