Eric dos Santos is a researcher of biology hired in February of 2017 by the Marine Research Institute to work at the Icelandic Seal Center. His experience in marine biology is mostly with invertebrate animals and fish, but he is excited to have gotten a position here to study marine mammals, especially seals. He studied biology at the University of Iceland from 2002-2009, graduating with a Master’s degree in January of 2010 (MSc thesis: Community analysis of large epibenthos in the Nordic Seas). His thesis was based on the identification of animals living on the sea floor below a depth of 200 meters and the relationships between sea floor composition and animal species composition. This was achieved using photographs and video collected in Icelandic waters as well as waters from the Mohn Ridge near Jan Mayen. Following this, he worked as a photographic analyst for the Marine Research Institute until the end of January, 2016. During this period, he participated in several survey cruises both on institute ships and on commercial fishing vessels of various sizes. In addition, he used his mother tongue, American English, to translate and proofread papers, reports, and other written documents for friends and colleagues. During 2016, he worked as a guide on a whale watch boat from Hauganes and found that working with the public in a natural setting with the goal of educating people and causing wonder is quite enjoyable.
Eric’s main interest in biology is centered on the study of animals in their natural habitats. Questions of what species comprise the animal population of a region, what factors influence those patterns, and how populations change over time have always been interesting to him. In addition, he has also always had a talent for and enjoyment of observing animals in their chosen environment. He hopes that his time at the Seal Center will afford him many opportunities to investigate and develop these interests.