Talking to Julie Hartup about growing up in a conservative Mormon family in Utah, before ditching everything for a life in Guam studying the Mantas of Micronesia and working on Episode 4 of the BBC's Perfect Planet series.

Julie obtained her degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University and was a research diver and teaching assistant for their marine biology program held at Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey California. She completed several internships at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Water Quality, Visitor Presentations, and Tuna Research Center. 

After moving to Guam in 2007 with her husband Dr. Jason Hartup and four children. Julie began working on her master’s degree at the University of Guam. She came across a new undocumented feeding behavior of the reef manta ray, targeting reef fish spawning aggregations to feed off fish eggs. Julie trained in the Maldives with the international NGO Manta Trust Founder Guy Steven, and later became Manta Trust Project leader for the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marianas Islands. 

Julie is also a board member and scientist for Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research. Currently, she has expanded her area of study on manta rays throughout Micronesia such as Northern Marianas, Yap, Outer islands of Yap-Ulithi, Pohnpei, and the Marshall Islands. Starting in 2015, Julie Hartup along with fellow scientist Jennifer Cruce created Micronesian Conservation Coalition with extensive help and assistance from Whitney Blandford and Carlotta Leon Guerrero, co-founder, and Director of Ayuda Foundation.

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