Dulap headshot

Dulap Ratnayake

GEBCO Seafloor Mapping Intern
GEBCO Scholar
The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping / Joint Hydrographic Center, University of New Hampshire

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

I began my career as a hydrographer with the National Hydrographic Office (NHO) of Sri Lanka in 2014. Since then, I have been working as a hydrographer on various range of projects for applications spanning especially safe navigation, sustainable management of the coastal and marine environment and resources, and maintenance and development of ports. Currently, I’m a GEBCO scholar pursuing a Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetry (PCOB) at the University of New Hampshire.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I completed my undergraduate internship at NHO, Sri Lanka. The opportunity I had during the training to survey Sri Lankan waters sparked my interest in hydrography. So I chose hydrography as my lifelong career, realizing the dream of becoming a professional in a field that evolves rapidly and has an important role in scientific and commercial development.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My undergraduate mentors, former chief hydrographers at NHO, and Senior hydrographers at NHO who were former GEBCO scholars have been influential in selecting my career path.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

Multibeam sonars paint a 3D picture of the seafloor and reveal seafloor geomorphology and geological processes. Seeing and interpreting the seafloor topography kilometers below the waves has been a fascinating experience.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

My interest in Deep Ocean bathymetry was aroused at the R/V SONNE cruise SO258 Leg 2 in 2017. Collecting, processing, and visualizing bathymetry in the Central Indian Basin, especially submarine rises and seamounts, enthralled me, and I was immersed in this fascinating subject.

What are your degrees and certifications?

BSc in Surveying Sciences (Faculty of Geomatics, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka)
MSc in Surveying Sciences (Faculty of Graduate Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka)
Postgraduate Certificate in Ocean Bathymetry (PCOB) at the University of New Hampshire (in progress)

What are your hobbies?

I love playing cricket and working out in my free time as they help to improve body balance, coordination, and endurance. Spending time with my pet dog is also one of my favorite things to do. Along with these, I also like gardening

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

As a hydrographer, you may work in teams of people from various cultures and backgrounds worldwide. The most important skills and characteristics are openness to ideas, listening to others, asking open-ended questions, and creating an environment where people can share their perspectives and ideas.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

In the summer, GEBCO students visit an international laboratory and/or take part in a deep-water ocean mapping research cruise. I participated in this expedition to complement my training program and I think it will help me to build networks and deepen my acquired theoretical knowledge. I am grateful to Dr. Rochelle Wigley, Project Director of Nippon Foundation GEBCO projects, who paved the path to participate in the expedition.


Dulap participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: