2018 Australasian Rolex Scholarship

The 2018 Australasian Rolex Scholar, Olivia Johnson, is from Hobart, Tasmania in Australia and holds a degree in Marine and Antarctic Science with first-class honours from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.


Her passion for the ocean began at a young age: her father was a commercial diver and she has always loved swimming, snorkelling and fossicking through rock pools. It was in Year 9 at Taroona High School where Olivia discovered her true passion for all things marine in a course called “Exploring the Ocean.” Progressing to the advanced course, Olivia gained her PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver certifications by the time she was 15.

At University she went on to further her diving career by undertaking a commercial course in Scientific Diving, receiving her ADAS and AAUS certifications. After her undergraduate degree, Olivia received a six-month internship as a Marine Biologist at One&Only Reethi Rah, a world-renowned resort in the Maldives.

When Paralenz heard about the OWUSS Scholarships and her plans for future projects, we jumped at the occasion to give her an opportunity to video log all the dives and to have visual proof for any needs the project might bring.

You can find more about Olivia and the 2018 Australasian Rolex Scholarship on this blog, and below you can find a few words from Olivia regarding her passions and some of the plans for future projects.


The need for research

The areas of focus for my scholarship year and where I have the largest interest in ocean-related science include marine ecology, Climate Change, ocean conservation and science communication, specifically learning how we can bridge the science-communication gap. This is something I feel passionate about, with one of the aims for my year being to learn more about how we can change the “out of sight, out of mind” perception when it comes to critical ocean-related issues.  

As a scientist, I believe that if some of the incredible research and projects that are occurring around the world could be communicated in a way that everyone could understand, there may be more support for science, and a more urgent need from the general public to protect the oceans.

Learning ways we can communicate what’s happening underneath the surface is critical – people will only protect what they know about, so I feel extremely privileged that Paralenz has sponsored me with a camera to record the projects I am working on, and allow me the opportunity to educate more people about the underwater world.

Check out this video to learn more about my journey and some of the incredible projects I have been working on so far this year

A tool for researchers

As a research diver and scientists, the use of the Paralenz will be an incredible tool to record and document not only my experiences during my scholarship year, but also as a scientific tool underwater. My specialisation was in Climate Change and the effects the long-spined urchins are having on the kelp forests in my home state of Tasmania.

As an example, the Paralenz Dive Camera would not only be able to record the state of the ecosystems while I’m diving and undertaking surveys, but also other contributing factors which are significant to our understanding such as temperature and depth.

This compact and highly adaptable tool is something I will be able to use anytime, anywhere in the field or whichever project I may be working on next, recording important data through a high-end design with high-resolution results the entire dive.

I look forward to using the Paralenz Dive Camera on my upcoming experiences including in South Australia where I will be undertaking research on Great White Sharks with Rodney Fox, as well as the ENRICH Voyage to Antarctica in January 2019.

I cannot thank Paralenz enough for this incredible opportunity to use their product during my scholarship year and in my future diving career.


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