The Ocean Decade Writing Challenge – Winners and Runners-up

Ana-Maria Munteanu and Ellie Sillar were named the winners of the Ocean Decade Writing Challenge during a Marine Biology Live session in conversation with author, Dr Helen Scales. 6 runners-up – Faron Quinn, Maddie Evans, Ruby Hobbs, Alina Bhaiwala, Imogen Day, and Oscar Petter – have also been selected.

The Ocean Decade Writing Challenge is an initiative led by science communicators at the Marine Biological Association in partnership with author and presenter, Dr Helen Scales. The event was launched in November 2020 during the MBA’s first online Young Marine Biologist summit, which celebrated the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 – 2030). Contestants were asked to consider ’10 years in the ocean,’ and given complete creative freedom to explore their own personal relationships with the ocean, possible scientific discoveries and even changes to ocean management and protection which may arise in the near future.

The competition received numerous entries from across the globe, which were divided into two categories for judging: 14 and under, and 15 – 18. Entries were judged by a panel of professionals from the publishing and science communication community, including author and presenter, Helen Scales, natural history book publisher, Julie Dando, author and underwater photographer, Paul Naylor, editor of The Marine Biologist magazine, Guy Baker, author and science communicator, Maya Plass, MBA science interpreter, Jack Sewell and MBA communications assistant, Rishad Maynard.

The winners and runners-up of the competition received bundles of fantastic marine natural history books and a selection of MBA goodies. The winning entries have since been published in the Guardian’s Seascape and are also set to be published in the July edition of The Marine Biologist magazine. Essays from some of the runners-up are also available to read below.


Quick Links:

See the winning entries in The Guardian’s Seascape

Marine Biology Live: Conversation with author and presenter, Dr Helen Scales

Coffee Time Talk: Young Marine Biologist Ocean Decade Challenge reading of winning entries


Runners-up Entries:

In the suburbs near Cambodia’s capital, I took part in a litter clean up with the local community. What I saw there was the same level of concern and appreciation of the environment, but without the resources to protect it.”

Read the essay by Faron Quinn

For years we have looked for the future in our stars, but we should be focusing our time and energy on the future of our own planet.”

Read the essay by Maddie Evans

It is not just pollution endangering our ocean, it is how we use it and also, because people cannot see what’s going on under the surface, they don’t care about it.”

Read the essay by Ruby Hobbs

"...Ocean exploration is an amazing activity that could result in important discoveries for both the planet and humanity."

Read the essay by Alina Bhaiwala

The truth is, this next decade is key for the future of this planet. We cannot afford to screw this up.”

Read the essay by Imogen Day

Therefore, in the future I see an algal revolution. I believe that these fast growing fronds will be critical in the fight against biodiversity loss, in the phasing out of fossil fuels, and in the restoration of local fishing communities.

Read the essay by Oscar Petter

Jun 23, 2021 By rismay