Network of Women in Marine Science

Day 4 of the WiMS Women in Ocean Science Feature – Damboia Cossa

Damboia Cossa is a PhD candidate in Marine Sciences at Gothenburg University, Sweden. She is currently lecturer and researcher in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique with over 10 years of professional experience. She serves on the Dugong technical advisory group (CMS-Dugong MOU) as a seagrass specialist and is a recipient member of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) in a Box Kit. She is currently working with innovative tools (drones), restoration techniques and global changes issues, that can lead to an effective management and conservation of seagrass meadows in Mozambique.


  1.     What led you to pursue a career in marine/ocean science?

I grew up in a place where I was always taught to look at environmental issues in a serious way, while at the same time I was taught that education is the basis for change. When I realized that I live in a country with an extensive coastline, with diverse marine species and where the population depends greatly on such resources for their livelihood, I understood that I needed to have an active role in supporting the conservation of these resources, and so I began to nurture my passion for marine sciences and the desire to work and have my footprint in this area.



  1.     As a marine/ocean professional, what three critical lessons have you learned? Share your insights and experience with others who aspire to become experts in this field.
    •       We need to be well-educated, seek for opportunities and/or be willing to learn from others if we want to grow professionally. I have had the privilege of getting trained in the marine sciences field, and so I always feel that I have a key role, whether through teaching or in my research, to sharing all of these tools with others in my work environment.
    •       We have to recognize that we need to work as a team, whether by having good mentors, and/or establishing good networks with professionals in the field. I was blessed to have good mentors and people who gave me opportunities to grow in my professional career, so I always advise my students to be involved in mentorship and in regional/international networking programs.
    •       Finally, I’ve learned that in a world of changes, where marine ecosystems and species are under constant threats, all of us at different levels of intervention need to act. Therefore, even if we have few opportunities and limited resources, we need to start somewhere to see changes that we need in the marine/ocean field.
  1.     In celebration of International Women’s Day theme “Inspire Inclusion”, what progress do you envision for women in the Western Indian Ocean region?

I think that culturally, it has always been a huge challenge to be “a woman and a scientist” in our region. Fortunately, today I see that we are increasingly taking up positions, participating in decision-making forums and making changes in the marine ocean field. Personally, I always defend equity, which implies everyone having the same opportunities, benefits and even responsibilities. Despite recognizing that this is an ongoing debate, my joy is that at least nowadays we have an opening for it to occur, which allows us to understand that women in the WIO region have a key role in the ocean science space that cannot be neglected.

Learn more about Damboia’s work here.