The Spirited Marine Guardian

The Spirited Marine Guardian

At the heart of Anantara’s commitment to tailored luxury and authentic experiences lies the passionate work of Oriana Migliaccio, a marine biologist whose devotion to oceanic preservation resonates deeply in the sky-blue waters of the Maldives. Here is the story of the spirited marine guardian of the Maldives.

 

Oriana, a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer with a PhD in Life and Biomolecular Sciences, embodies the spirit of discovery and conservation at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Naladhu Private Island Maldives.

 

The Spirited Marine Guardian
Preparing coral for its new home.

 

Raised on the sun-kissed shores of Naples, Italy, Oriana’s early years were steeped in the wonders of the Mediterranean Sea, a rich biodiversity hotspot. She frequently spent winter breaks at the aquarium. “It is this deep love for the marine world that got me interested from an early age in pursuing a career in marine biology,” she reflects.

 

Following her passion, Oriana earned her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Marine Biology in Italy. Her journey then took her to the Maldives for an additional master’s in Tropical Marine Biology, where the allure of tropical environments steered her focus towards specialising in coral reef biology and conservation. This newfound dedication culminated in earning her PhD in the United Kingdom, solidifying her commitment to preserving marine ecosystems.

 

The Spirited Marine Guardian
Oriana hard at work with her team.

 

Oriana’s expertise, honed in the jungles of Borneo as a Conservation Manager and Dive Leader, now flourishes in the Maldives. Her initiatives span coral reef restoration, sea turtle protection and sustainable practices, all pivotal to the region’s marine ecosystem. A crowning achievement is her creation of the Reef Hero PADI specialty, a course designed to educate divers on coral conservation, nurturing a new wave of ocean stewards.

 

“I created the Reef Hero course during my time as a marine biologist and dive instructor in Malaysian Borneo. This course, focusing on coral reef restoration and rehabilitation, was inspired by my diving students’ desire to positively impact the oceans they love exploring. Witnessing the adverse effects of marine issues like debris, over-fishing, pollution and global warming, this inspired me to create guidelines that can be used by recreational divers to save coral reefs around the world,” she says.

 

The Spirited Marine Guardian
A tourist swims off the coast of Anantara Veli.

 

In April 2023, Oriana joined Anantara, where her role transcends traditional boundaries, as she immerses guests in a world of marine wonders through various interactive initiatives such as Marine Talk on Coral Reef & Marine Life; Discovering Marine Biology for Kids; Workshop on Repurposing Ghost Nets; Marine Biologist Corner; Visit the Coral Nursery; and Coral Adoption.

 

“In the Maldives, a country faced with pressing environmental challenges, sustainability and environmental conservation are not just trends. They are a necessity,” Oriana emphasises, outlining the long-term goals for sustainability and marine conservation at Anantara’s Maldives resorts. “The survival of this tropical paradise is intertwined with adopting sustainable practices and reducing the anthropogenic impact on the environment.”

 

The Spirited Marine Guardian
Getting to grips with ghost nets.

 

Following the devastating coral bleaching event of 2016, Oriana has been instrumental in Anantara’s HARP initiative (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection), aimed at rehabilitating damaged coral reefs. With over 10,000 corals grown and planted since 2017, the project is on course to double this number, enhancing marine biodiversity. Guests are invited to become coral gardeners, contributing to the project’s success while receiving progress updates on their adopted baby corals.

 

Collaborating with esteemed organisations like the Olive Ridley Project, Manta Trust and the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program, Oriana’s work includes a photo-ID programme for studying sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. She invites guests to join as citizen scientists, aiding in data collection during their underwater explorations.

 

The Spirited Marine Guardian
The team attend to adopted coral.

 

Oriana Migliaccio’s contributions reflect the essence of Anantara’s luxury experience – unique, immersive and deeply connected to the local environment. Her passion and dedication are not just preserving the ocean’s beauty but also inspiring guests to become active participants in its conservation, ensuring its wonder endures for generations to come.

 

 

Source: Minor Hotels.

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