I would love to be “an expert” that gets invited to high level expert meetings to give my advice on how to deal with the latest problems on coral reefs. But I am not sure I am cut out to develop that kind of expertise, and my natural abilities tend to lean towards working with people, managing processes, having ideas and finding ways to make them work – generally helping make things happen. I feel like I am more of a process person and I wonder how I could develop that.
It is interesting that I have been told by conservation experts that the world doesn’t need more scientists, it needs more people who can bridge the gap between science and action and science and communication. And yet calling scientists experts and not giving all the others involved in conservation an impressive label doesn’t really help encourage that, does it? And if you need PhD (and ongoing publications) to be an expert, can you realistically develop your skills to effectively make things happen?