Juan Mayorga's work lies at the intersection between data science and marine conservation. He uses emerging earth monitoring technologies - in combination with marine ecology, fisheries science, and economics - to glean insights into our ocean’s socio-ecological systems and use them to inform conservation and fisheries management policies. He currently leads a partnership between the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project, the Sustainable Fisheries Group at U.C Santa Barbara, and Global Fishing Watch, to leverage the power of satellite technology, big data, and machine learning to advance marine conservation and fisheries science.
Fisheries and Community Partner
Agatha joined Blue Ventures in April 2018 as the fisheries partner support technician for Kenya. Her role is to identify partner organizations in Kenya and East Africa and provide technical support and guidance to them on fisheries monitoring and management. Born and raised in central Kenya, Agatha fell in love with the ocean working with Kenya Wildlife Service. Working with local communities to develop management plans for marine conservation areas awoke the drive to venture into local lead fisheries co-management.
Spencer Arnold has been working with Conservation Diver since 2014. His primary interest is in coral restoration through the design and construction of artificial reefs and underwater sculptures. His works include the Sculpture gardens on Koh Tao, including Despair, Hope, and Fight for the Last Life.
Architect, Skipper and Ocean Advocate
Emily Penn is an ocean advocate and skipper who has spent the last decade exploring plastic pollution from the tropics to the Arctic. She is on a mission to inspire and facilitate a community of changemakers through her project eXXpedition, and by training athletes and celebrities to be impactful advocates on ocean issues. Emily is developing upstream solutions to the ocean plastic issue with corporate partners, scientists and government bodies. Emily has seen first hand how much plastic ends up in our ocean. Over the past decade dedicated she has organized the largest ever community-led waste cleanup from a tiny Tongan island, trawled for microplastics on a voyage through the Arctic Northwest Passage, rounded the planet on the record-breaking biofuelled boat Earthrace, and worked on a sailing cargo ship trading western supplies for coconuts.
Marine Biologist and Slug Lover
Rahul Mehrotra joined the Conservation Diver team in 2012. He is focused on promoting conservation efforts through the lens of science and the world of academia. He has worked to apply Conservation Diver practices in consulting on marine protected areas in rural regions and has written a book on sea slugs, a topic he is passionate about. His research focuses on the taxonomy and ecology of benthic ecosystems in the tropics.
SAMANTHA MURRAY, J.D.
Ocean Lawyer and Policy Expert
Samantha Murray is the Executive Director of the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and also teaches Ocean Law and Policy. Samantha played a key role in the design and implementation of California's network of marine protected areas, which now cover 16 percent of state waters. She has spoken about best practices in ocean conservation and is committed to diversity, inclusion and equitable impacts of public policy.
Ohio, United States
Justin Grubb is a filmmaker, photographer, published writer, naturalist and co-founder of Running Wild Media. Their mission is to build a community of environmental stewards and empower their actions to conserve wildlife and protect the planet. With years of international wildlife field research and formal/informal teaching experience, Justin combines these two fields with media to enhance science communication. Justin’s love for nature and passion for the outdoors has brought him to some of the most extreme habitats on earth to film critically endangered wildlife. He is a 2017 Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leader and a Nat Geo Wild "Wild to Inspire" award winning filmmaker.
Brittany is a biologist at the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF), currently working as the clinical diagnostic coordinator as well as contributing to a variety of conservation research projects while currently earning her Master’s in Conservation Biology. Before joining the NMMF team, Brittany had interned and worked for many different facilities in her home state of Ohio, including Running Wild Media, The Greater Cleveland Aquarium and The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, as well as facilities in San Diego, including the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, and SeaWorld San Diego. In December of 2017, Brittany was crowned Miss SCUBA International and spent the following year traveling the world, educating others on topics of ocean conservation, and promoting women in the sport of SCUBA diving. Her passion for ecosystem preservation has recently been accompanied by community outreach and the drive to inspire others - especially young women, to take the road less traveled when entering, not just the field of marine biology, but into any field or profession they desire.
Mariano Schaller found his love of caves after starting work as a dive master in the Yukatan. He loves the complexity and beauty of the enormous cave system in that area, leading him into the relm of conservation. By going into the debths, and squeezing through the tight spaces of caves, Mariano hopes to create a new apreciation for the unique environment that are the cenotes.
Interdisciplinary Researcher and Writer
Liberty Lawson is the Knowledge Translation Officer & Content Editor at the Sydney Environment Institute. Liberty is an interdisciplinary researcher and writer, with a background in science and philosophy. She is currently completing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. at the University of Sydney looking at the ontology of art-nature symbioses, post-humanist conservation policy and the future of coral reefs. Liberty is the creative director of Holographia, a magazine exploring the intersection of art, science, philosophy and the hybrid ecologies of the Anthropocene.
Environmental Justice Professor
New Haven, Connectucut
As a pioneer in the field of environmental law, Torres has spent his career examining the intrinsic connections between the environment, agricultural and food systems, and social justice. His research into how race and ethnicity impact environmental policy has informed his teaching and practical experiences and has been influential in the emergence and evolution of the field of environmental justice.
Psychologist and Conservationist
Mikaela Gidö began her studies in social psychology in 2019 and she will be graduating in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Psychology. She started studying Psychology at the age of 20 but then took a long break from university to discover and experience the world by traveling and working abroad. Mikaela lives in Falköping, Sweden, but loves to go on adventures geared towards marine conservation.
Nova Scotia, Canada
Marena is an aquatic soul from Nova Scotia, Canada currently delighting in the wild Pacific coast of northern California. In her work at Mapbox, Marena supports non-profits and others to use geospatial technologies for positive social and environmental impact. Before joining Mapbox, Marena worked to secure customary and indigenous land rights in Africa and Asia and facilitated participatory planning efforts. Marena holds a master’s degree in natural resource management and planning from Simon Fraser University and a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Guelph.
Byron Bay, Australia
John Dahlsen is an award-winning environmental artist, writer, educator and speaker. He exhibits regularly in Australian capital cities, throughout regional Australia, and internationally in Europe and the US, where he shows regularly in New York. John works in paint, print, and sculpture, often using recycled materials like plastic, rubbish, and driftwood. He works at the intersection of art and activism by using found objects to make statements about contemporary society, and by providing strong yet aesthetically beautiful commentaries that ask people to think about their role in the environment.
Clinical Research and Outreach Coordinator
San Diego, CA
Celeste Parry currently manages the Outreach Team for the National Marine Mammal Foundation. Celeste graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2009 with both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in marine biology. Before joining the NMMF, she worked as a research associate for the Center for Marine Veterinary Virology at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute. In this position, she used a variety of molecular methods to discover and diagnose viral diseases in dolphins and sea lions. Celeste has always been passionate about teaching. While at UCSD she was a surf instructor, TA for biology classes at UCSD, and a volunteer in the education department at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. She is currently enrolled in a Masters of Arts program in Teaching Biological Sciences through Miami University and San Diego Zoo Global.
Conservation Coordinator and Research Manager
With an MSc in Protected Area Management and experience in research and environmental education Alan moved to the Philippines in 2014 and has since worked with a range of NGOs helping to protect our marine ecosystems. Joining Marine Conservation Philippines in 2018, he now manages the research programme exploring MPA effectiveness and fisheries science. Working to develop relationships with academic partners, Alan uses the observational data collected by citizen scientists to investigate reef ecology and better understand long-term MPA successes/failures. Either in the classroom or behind a dive mask Alan enjoys teaching sampling methodology, conducting monitoring (especially when he spots strange coral species), data analysis and GIS.
Sea Shepherd, Surf and Yoga Environmentalist
Portugal and the French Alps
In October 2019, Natalie Fox joined the crew of eXXpedition to sail from Plymouth to the Azores, collecting and analyzing sea samples for microplastic pollution. After studying media for her undergrad she traveled the world as a surf and yoga instructor and took up marine activism, joining Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaigning to protect minke whales in Antarctica and pilot whales in the Faroes. She has featured in documentaries “TransparentSea" and most recently, “Undercurrents", which explores the connection between surfing and mindfulness. Natalie splits her time between the French Alps (winter) and the South West of Portugal (summer). In both spots, she works with environmental groups testing novel ways to collect microplastic data in surfing areas and whether surfing is a unique opportunity to complete citizen science. She’s a Roxy Fitness ambassador, writer for Surf Girl Magazine and her website explores the parallels between surfing, yoga, and permaculture:
Marine Plastic Artist
For over 25 years Steve McPherson has used found objects from his local coast as a material within a range of artworks. Since 2007 the plastic shards and novelties have become his primary source material, and a focus for the development of his concepts and concerns.“…. Not only do the works highlight the problem of the amount of debris in the sea…. the mysterious, the unusual, the forgotten and lost. But these wreckage pieces these objects symbolize the history of the world up to this point, they are contemporary and future archaeology."
Juliana is a professional in the field of design and creativity, avid diver, and conservationist. She has directed her personal and professional life to use art, design, and targeted communications as tools to positively influence human behavior for the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. Her experience as a designer in the field of marine conservation has given her the tools to provide new ways of communicating complex scientific concepts to non-specialist audiences and to solve problems from a different perspective. She has developed innovative materials to implement Green Fins’ sustainable diving practices, through her work with The Reef-World Foundation, and on February 2020, Juliana joined Leg 7 of eXXpedition’s Round the World Voyage collecting and analyzing sea samples for microplastic pollution in one of the most remote areas of the world. She is now part of eXXpedition’s multidisciplinary network of female leaders
JoAnna Haugen is a writer, public speaker, and founder of Rooted, a storytelling platform at the intersection of sustainable travel, environmental conservation, and community-based advocacy efforts. Her work has been published in more than 60 print and online publications including PopularScience, Mongabay, Backpacker, AdventureTravelNews,
Travel Weekly, Delta Sky, and American Way. A returned Peace Corps volunteer, international election observer, and intrepid traveler.