Melissa Marquez.
Melissa Marquez. Photo provided Melissa Marquez.

Melissa Marquez is a marine biologist specializing in sharks, a wildlife educator as seen in TED talks and Shark Week, and founder of The Fins United Initiative. To learn more about her research and outreach, please see her website ( or twitter (@mcmsharksxx).

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

We’re in the process of getting a puppy!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Yes. ALL the ocean- specifically shark- themed stuff.

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

A storm chaser!

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Antarctic research

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Malaysia – have been dying to go there for years now!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Stop time

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix. In four episodes, Samin Nosrat has you explore the world and introduces you to new methods and flavors.

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Wake up late, go for a run, shower, have a good breakfast, go out for a hike or go to the beach! Then enjoy a late meal by our fire pit outside.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My phone, a reusable water bottle, and sunshine

15 What beverage gives you life?

I’m a sucker for freshly squeezed lemonade.

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

I loved the Harry Potter series- they inspired me to write a series of my own

17 What did you want to be be when you grew up?

Marine biologist

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

My unwavering curiosity

19 What got you excited in science?

No idea – I’ve always been interested in it

20 What excites you about science now?

How I am constantly learning something new every day.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?


22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can draw decently.

23 What is your favorite game?

Scrabble or Jenga

24 What is the last book you read?

The Clockmaker’s Daughter

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Remember you’ll always regret what you didn’t do rather than what you did.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Cave diving

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

For me it’s a face mask, some soothing music, and a yummy-smelling candle.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Queer Eye

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

A mini-first aid kit, but I wouldn’t consider it weird just not something a lot of people carry around.

31 What is your favorite animal?

Tiger shark

32 What is your favorite book?

Ooh, too many to narrow it down!

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Mac ‘n cheese

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

The holidays is my favorite time of the year.

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

There are over 500 species of sharks and we are still discovering new species.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Ocean waves crashing against the shore.

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My smile.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Amor (“love” in Spanish)

42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting accepted for my PhD

43 What kind of tree would you be?

A pine tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The endless opportunities to explore nature!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

The endless opportunities to explore nature!

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Helen Cadwallader (@helecad)