Jackson Wild Collective Spotlight: Moronke Harris

This post was first published on the Jackson Wild website. It is reposted here, in abridged format, with permission. Main photo by Nova West

“Every day I reach a new height. It is a constant process of growth.”

Moronke Harris does not fit into any mold. She is an oceanographer who has returned to academia after working in industry on climate engineering and intergovernmental, multi-vessel research expedition planning. She’s also an artist, founding The Imaginative Scientist, a science communication brand blending traditional outreach and artistry to produce an audience-first approach that engages, invites, and inspires curiosity. Moronke contains multitudes, and so does her work.

“I am prouder of myself today than I was last year or even last month. I just keep working, moving forward, and meeting incredible individuals, and as a result beautiful things continually fall into place. To say I am excited about what the future holds is a severe understatement,” Moronke shared upon reflecting on her journey thus far.

Her scientific research focuses on the most unexplored areas of the ocean, containing the most potential for discovery. Specializing in hydrothermal vent ecosystems 1,000-4,000 m under the ocean’s surface, she is fascinated with deep-sea exploration, blue economy, microbiology, and seafloor mapping.

“Observation of the largely unexplored ocean offers an unparalleled opportunity for revolutionary discoveries and the attainment of scientific milestones. I have been enthralled by this concept since I was young thanks to the help of multiple ocean exploration documentaries,” she shared. “ Within the ocean science community, there is an abundance of stories centring career aspirations birthed from a childhood spent by the sea. Since I grew up in a landlocked area of Ontario, Canada, the ocean did not play a large part regarding direct, regular influence on my childhood inspirations. However, these documentaries, coupled with my imagination, provided plenty of indirect influence. Additionally, as a child, my family travelled often and I would spend hours investigating any pools, rivers, lakes, and oceans I could get into. It was always a hassle to get me out of the water.”

The Jackson Wild Collective has allowed Moronke to dive deeper into the world of ocean documentaries that caught her attention at a young age.

Rob Shaer photo

“Connections afforded by the Collective have allowed me to collaborate with filmmakers and start dipping my toes into narration and expedition documentation. As someone with artistic tendencies, I have always had an interest in filmmaking and photography. Now I get to learn from talented individuals in these fields, and teach them a little science in return along the way.”

Moronke’s work has brought her out into deep waters with no sight of land, and into classrooms sharing the wonders of deep sea exploration and oceanography.

“The most fascinating and rewarding part of my oceanographic work is the rarity, the uniqueness of location, and the potential for discovery. Thousands of meters under the ocean’s surface exists a world that survives and thrives in the absence of sunlight. Here, scientists contribute to the discovery of our ‘final frontier’. It is akin to space exploration,” Moronke added, speaking about her science communication work. “As an avid science communicator and guest lecturer, I relive a tiny portion of this fieldwork experience each time I share my passions with an audience. There is nothing better than seeing others excited about what excites you!”

Read Moronke’s full story here.


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