Conservation Conversation

Professor Michel Kaiser in Salzberg © Michel Salzberg

This issue we focus on JNCC Independent Committee member Professor Michel Kaiser. Michel is also Professor of Marine Conservation Ecology at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University. He also chairs Defra's Marine Fisheries Stakeholder Forum and is a panel member of the European Science Foundation Marine Board Working Group 'Valuing Marine Ecosystems'.    


Q. Species that inspired you as a child?

A. That's easy, I'll never forget finding my first common starfish under a rock at Llandudno at low tide. It was like finding something from an alien planet. I spent ages watching its martian tube feet and the way it seemed to float over the rocks in the rock pool.


Q. What are your main concerns for the natural world?

A. The ever increasing global population which is putting a heavy strain on the world's oceans to provide the food and services that we need.


Q. What do you do away from the office?

A. On a day to day basis I love cooking for the family, at the weekend I play hockey in the winter, walking in the Snowdonia National Park, and skiing for our holidays.


Q. What is your favourite place?

A. This is difficult, having had the privilege of travelling the World, I would say anywhere in Europe. Wherever I go, nowhere compares to Europe in terms of its diversity of landscape, coastline and amazing cultural heritage.


Q. Who is your human hero in the natural world?

A. That has to be Jacques Yves Cousteau. He brought the beauty of the marine realm into the living room in the 1970s and 80s, and his poetic illustration of the wonders that lie beneath the waves was more than enough to inspire me to pursue marine science as a career.


Q. If you could dine with any four guests who would they be?

A. Dinner guests have to be entertaining, capable of having an interesting debate and well endowed with good stories, so I'd go for: Melvyn Bragg, David Attenborough, Margaret Thatcher, and Terry Waite. I think that is quite a diverse set of dinner guests!



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