A job less ordinary – veterinarian

Trainee vet Bernadette Lee and her mentor, Dr Komsin.
Trainee vet Bernadette Lee and her mentor, Dr Komsin.

Vet student Bernadette Lee loves working with animals because to her, everyday is unpredictable and that keeps her on her toes. We speak to the affable lady on her recent internship with the Marine Life Park.

Working in the lab at the Marine Life Park…

Is never mundane.  When it comes to working with animals, your work day is guaranteed to be exciting and unpredictable. The job is made even more enjoyable with my colleagues. Some think lab technicians are a boring bunch, but my colleagues brighten up my day with their lively and vibrant personalities.

What was the most demanding thing you had to do?

Planning a research project from scratch and carrying it out as part of my internship. Thankfully, my supervisor was not only knowledgeable but helpful in guiding me through the project process. It was a valuable learning experience for me.

One great thing I learnt from the internship…

I was barely able to identify the species of fish I saw when I went diving prior to my internship, everything just used to be “fish, fish and fish”. I have since been exposed to more species and can better identify them according to their families.

Part of the job:
Part of the job: identifying the different marine animals at the Open Ocean Habitat.

One thing most people don’t know about marine life is…

How amazing and gorgeous all types of marine life are, even the small things like nudibranchs and sea squirts.

How do you differentiate fresh from saltwater fish?

The colour. It is still confusing for me though, especially since some species like bull sharks can survive in both fresh and saltwater.

What’s your opinion about animals under human care?

Under human care, we are able to provide them with the treatments and medications they may need. We will also be able to have breeding programmes for them to ensure that future generations will be able to see such marine life. Furthermore, research can be conducted to understand more about the biology and ecology of animals when they are under human care

What is one thing guests must do at the S.E.A. Aquarium?

Try to spot our mandarin fish, a beautiful, brightly colored bottom dwelling fish. Their psychedelic shades add a pop of colour in the sea of blue.

One unique quality of marine life is…

How animals that look harmless can be the most dangerous and venomous.

If you can choose to be a marine animal, what would it be and why?

A blue ringed octopus. They are gorgeous and highly dangerous.

After this internship, what do you see yourself doing after graduation?

I would probably still involve working with marine animals. The ocean is vast and there is much more about marine animals to be discovered.

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