Owen received his undergraduate degree in marine biology from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia in 2006 and subsequently gained a first class honours degree in 2007, studying the importance of cleaning interactions in coral reef fishes across multiple gradients within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Owen was awarded his doctoral degree from Murdoch University in Western Australia in 2013, in a federally funded research program, assessing the ecosystem importance of several species of tropical stingray, resulting in several publications and much press attention.
The following year, Owen was offered the Associate Research Scientist position at The Cape Eleuthera Institute’s Shark Research and Conservation Program in The Bahamas, where he took the lead in creating an applied scientific research curriculum to be taught at the sister organisation of The Island School. In 2014, Owen developed the Batoid Research Group - an integrative ecosystem driven initiative that promoted rays as indicators for ecosystem health and therefore, conservation value. This was the largest regional research program at the time, and supported seven graduate students, provided a syllabus for eleven consecutive teaching semesters at The Cape Eleuthera Island School, and further resulted in several published papers, with more currently under review as of June 2020.
Over the past seven years, Owen has lived and worked in Eleuthera, and has exposed over 2,000 students, educators and academics to marine research, outreach and education across several islands in the central Bahamas, as well as leading international collaborative efforts in applied scientific marine research. In 2017, Owen identified a deficit in local outreach and education efforts as they pertained to the natural world, and so took the rather bold step to leave an established research career, and by using his life’s savings and cashing in his pension, he established The Centre for Ocean Research and Education.
As of Summer 2020, CORE has provided environmental education and conservation research initiatives to over 400 Bahamian students from 8 to 18 years of age and regularly hosts science workshops and community outreach events at zero cost to the community. CORE has also been able to forge new and exciting collaborations with around a dozen international research institutes, NGOs and universities from the UK, Italy, THe Netherlands and the USA, and currently manages a portfolio of several novel, conservation driven marine research projects throughout The Bahamas.
Owen’s background, skills and familiarity with applied marine science and education, particularly in The Bahamas is unparalleled amongst his peers, as he continues to work with the community, in the community and for the community.
Owen has published close to 40 research articles, technical reports and two theses, with many more in review and prep based on this past four years research.
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