Marine biology has somewhat become a ‘fashionable’ occupation and you hear the term thrown around a lot but what exactly does the job entail? South Australian born and bred Brinkley Davies is a marine biologist fighting to protect our backyard. She has recently started her own not-for-profit charity, Balu Blue Foundation, which aims to enhance and protect the environment.
Growing up in rural South Australia, Brinkley began surfing at the age of 4 and then went onto competition surfing – it was something that introduced her to a love for the ocean. Being around it so often inspired her to want to learn more about the ocean and the animals that she was seeing all the time. By the time she was six, she was pretty much set on going into the marine biology field. After finishing a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology at Flinders University, she went on to volunteer and work in fields such as eco tourism, film, conservation and diving.
“Many people choose to continue in Academia, going straight into Honours then a PhD, which is something that I will do when a project comes up that I am absolutely passionate about, until then, I feel as though my time is more well used elsewhere,” she says. “I admire so many biologists working hard in the science fields doing the hard work in labs, and report writing. It is not easy or glamorous by any means. Marine Biology is an extremely diverse field…”
After gaining diving and boating qualifications, Brinkley went on to work for Adventure Bay Charters in Port Lincoln – as a guide for Australian sea lion swims and great white shark diving – and more recently as a dive master in Exmouth with whale sharks and humpback whales. This is also where most of her research work has taken place, having volunteered with Ecocean for whale shark research.
All these diverse experiences inspired her to start BaluBlue, an organisation which focuses on education with major conservation and research projects scheduled for later. “We have a broad mission statement because we have large goals and we are taking baby steps right now, but are excited for what’s to come,” Brinkley says.
It hasn’t come easy though, legal work and structures have stood in the way of the charity coming to fruition, and she has spent the last 6-8 months working to get it off the ground jumping through all the hoops to gain the not-for-profit and charity status. The next step is to bring like-minded people on to the board and committee.
Brinkley has also been out and about at schools to speak about the organisation’s #ClearTides campaign. “Education promotes awareness, and awareness inspires people to create change in their own lives and to spread the word,” she says, and she does just this through her incredibly beautiful social media channels as well. “I love that I have that platform now to share both my passions for my career, and all of the causes that I am working with,” Brinkley continues.
If you have been on her Instagram lately, you might have noticed a new addition to her family. Bunji the euro (or wallaroo) is a rescue that Brinkley and her partner found on the side of the road, newborn and flung out of pouch. They have hand-raised her – complete with three hourly feeds, delicate care and nurturing – and now have a happy and fluffy little wallaroo who spends a lot of time at the beach.
As for what’s next, the marine biologist is heading to Africa (with her partner, Ty) to work with a conservation company – hosting a beach clean up and collaborating with a marine research company in Mozambique. We have been assured that Bunji and their dog, Ohana, will be well looked after while they are away.