About our keynote speaker.

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Dr. Suchana Chavanich

Dr. Suchana Chavanich received her bachelor degree in Marine Science from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Influenced by her interest in marine life, she has then pursued her master degree in Biology at the Central Connecticut State University and Ph.D. in Zoology at University of New Hampshire, USA. During her graduate study, Dr. Chavanich started learning scuba diving, and was soon captivated by the beauty of underwater world. She has been diving in different water environments including polar waters (as cold as -1°C) and tropical waters. Later on, she was certified as a scuba diving instructor.

In 2001, Dr. Chavanich began her academic career at the Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. At present, she is an associate professor. She has a broad interest in ecological researches that involve the study of nearshore species in tropical and polar regions. Her research focuses on conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems particular on the coral reefs. Her research group is considered to be the first group that successfully developed the technique of mass culture of corals using sexual propagation for coral restoration in Thailand. This project has been carried with the collaborations of the Plant Genetic Conservation Project under the Royal Initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Royal Thai Navy, and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thailand.

Currently, Dr. Chavanich is the project leader of Coral Reef Conservation in the Western Pacific under the UNESCO/IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific,. She also serves as a Thailand Reef Check Coordinator (Headquarter in California, USA) who teaches and stimulates local communities to protect and monitor coral reef health using ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions. She has been actively promoting marine conservation knowledge by teaching local children, dive shop operators, and diving instructors in coastal areas. She is also the author of many articles and several books, including marine conservation, Antarctica, coral reefs, and scuba diving. Her other significant research contributions go toward the Asian region and international collaborations, as a project leader of the UNESCO-IOC/WESTPAC Coral Reef Conservation and as a leader of JSPS Asian CORE Program of Benthos. She has initiated collaborations between member countries to work together and to draft the current status reports for the regional management on emergent issues related to marine biodiversity in the Western Pacific region such as marine non-indigenous species and coral reef restoration issues.

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Dr. Chavanich is Thailand’s first female scientist to go to Antarctica with the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition in 2009. Later, in 2014, under the Polar Research Project of the Royal Initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Dr. Chavanich again was selected to be one of the first two Thai scientists to join with the Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition for an Antarctic research collaboration between China and Thailand. She is also Thailand’s first female scientist to go diving in the South Pole, Antarctica. And in 2018, she became one of the two Thai scientists who have successfully dived in both north and south poles. Her research work on Arctic-Antarctica and coral reefs has inspired Thai and young people on the value of marine ecosystems, and the importance of international collaborations between Thailand and other Asian countries.

As a teacher, researcher, and scuba diving instructor and because of the love of the nature, she hopes to make a difference to protect our marine ecosystems. And because of that, she has received several awards and recognitions, for example:

  • Sustainable Ocean Ambassador appointed by UN-AFMA-FAO Annex in 2019

  • Explorer Award by National Geographic Magazine, Thailand in 2018

  • N.K. Pannikar Medal from UNESCO-IOC in 2017

  • One of 17 Asia Power Women of Inspiration, selected by Her World Magazine in 2015

  • Inspirational Person Award for Self Development, selected by six national universities in Thailand in 2015

  • UNESCO-IOC/WESTPAC Outstanding Scientist Award in 2014

  • One of the 100 Most Inspiring People in Thailand for 2013, selected by the In Residence in 2013

  • Award For Women in Science, Thailand by UNESCO and L’OREAL in 2008

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