Lilian Ibengwe– I am a marine biologist with a strong background in environmental science. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology and my Master’s degree in Integrated Environmental Management, both from the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. I also attended an ‘Advanced Training and Research in the field of Fisheries Policy and Planning’ from the United Nations University Fellowship as well as a training course in “Advanced Lessons in Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics” at the International University Menendez Pelayo. I currently work for the Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, where I am in charge of the Fisheries Statistics and Policy and Planning Sub-Section. Recently, I had the privilege to work in a project commissioned by NEPAD-FAO Fish Programme (NFFP), to estimate the Value of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa.
Rahul Muralidharan-I come from the coastal city of Chennai, located in the south-east of India. As an undergraduate, I was involved in local student and community based sea turtle conservation initiatives and I spent a lot of time on-field observing sea turtle, marine mammal stranding and interacting with artisanal fishers. This motivated me to take up marine sciences for my masters’ degree, where I studied the presence and behaviour of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. I am currently a doctoral candidate with an interdisciplinary research institute in South India, where I am researching the nature and extent of humpback dolphin-fishery interactions in the east and west coast of India. I am particularly interested in the broader political, economical, social and ecological drivers of dolphin-fishery interactions.
Cassidy Pomeroy-Carter-I am a Duke University undergraduate candidate for a BS in Biology with an Animal Behavior concentration and a BA in German Literature and Culture along with a certificate in Marine Science and Conservation Leadership. Although I now reside mostly in North Carolina, I consider Vienna, Austria, home. My conservation interests are largely focused on marine vertebrates, and I hope to pursue a career in marine mammal veterinary science and translational medicine research with an emphasis on zoonotic diseases and their conservation implications. I am excited to gain a deeper understanding of the policy side of conservation and apply it to my own research interests. I hope to expand my knowledge base to include other marine conservation issues and draw conclusions about the connections among multiple aspects of ocean health.
Muhammad Nur Iman-I grew up in South Sulawesi, Indonesia and entered Hasanuddin University for Forestry undergraduate student in 2007. I began my Masters Degree in Forest Planning and Geographic Information Systems in 2012 and am now a member of Eastern Indonesia’s Responses to Climate Change Study and an assistant in the Forest Planning and GIS Laboratory at Hasanuddin University. Between 2010 to 2012, as Hasanuddin University researcher, I undertook a project with CSIRO Australia, entitled “the impacts of climate change and urban development on future water security and adaptation options for Makassar City, Indonesia”, which assess the water vulnaribility in watershed and coastal area. For marine conservation, I joined the research “Community Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts on Several Islands in the Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia” in 2012. My main interests are in climate change, marine policy, and coastal and small island management related to marine conservation.
Dimaris Colon Molina-I am from Puerto Rico and I received my B.S. in Biology this May 2014 from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Campus. This Fall I will begin my Master studies in the department of Marine Science at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Campus and will focus on biological oceanography with a particular emphasis on corals. My goals are to continue my studies in marine science in corals by working with the NASA observatory called Landsat7 where they look at the population of corals and their health. Also I’m interested in bioacoustics in dolphin and whale communication.
Ashley Lavender-My interest in marine conservation has its incongruous roots in the American Great Plains, where I founded the Save the Sea Turtles Committee at the age of 11. The youthful zeal has only grown, evolving into environmental stewardship in a professional capacity, encompassing broader scale issues including habitat degradation, global climate change, and sustainable seafood. At the University of Connecticut, I earned degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (Marine Biology minor) and German. After working as a Pfizer chemist, and later as a doctoral student on the Drexel University-Earthwatch terrapin research team, I accepted an offer to continue my Ph.D. at Old Dominion University, where I studied the underwater hearing capabilities of the loggerhead sea turtle and the behavioral and physiological effects of anthropogenic sound exposure on the diamondback terrapin. Now nearing graduation, I seek future opportunities to contribute to the understanding of the effects of rising ambient sound levels through wildlife monitoring and assessment efforts.
Siale Vailea-I am originally from the Island Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific and currently work at the Geology Section (Natural Resources) of the Ministry of Land, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources in the island of Tonga as a Senior Geological Assistant. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Earth Science in the University of the South Pacific, Tonga Campus. I find Marine Conservation always a very interesting matter since I started with the Natural Resources Department in 1999. I believe it is very important to realize the nature of marine biodiversity, what threatens it, and what humans can and must do to recover the biological integrity of the world’s estuaries and coastal sea.
Yaeli Etstein-I am a marine biologist, skipper, surfer and love everything about the sea. I recently completed a five-year research at the Israeli School for marine sciences, where I also had my B. Sc. The research focused on the development of a molecular biology-based protocol for the detection of fecal bacteria in seawater, for the French company Voelia Environment. During the research I have completed my M. Sc. In Biotechnology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and then continued studying sustainability in the Environmental Leadership Fellowship Program of the Heschel Center for Sustainability. With salty water running through my veins and sustainability issues enter more and more into my daily and intellectual routine, you can imagine how excited I was when I came across Duke’s summer session.
Kelsey Johnson-Sapp-A rising senior at Stetson University, I am majoring in Marine Biology with double minors in Spanish and Environmental Science. During the summer of 2013, I interned at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station at the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, where I honed my skills in fish husbandry, respirometry, and accelerometry for both Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna. Originally from Austin, Texas, childhood trips to the Gulf of Mexico ignited my passion for marine life and preservation of ocean ecosystems. While at Duke, I look forward to growing the knowledge base I will need to pursue marine conservation professionally. I hope to one-day serve as a liaison between the general public and the academic community, inspiring behavioral change and respect of our oceans through education.
Johnstone Omukoto Omuhaya-I have a Bachelor of Science (Fisheries) degree and an MPhil (Aquatic resources management) degree. I currently work as a Research Scientist at Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Mombasa, Kenya having formerly worked for 2.75 years as a fisheries officer at the Ministry of Fisheries Development, Kenya and earlier on as a research intern then research assistant at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Mombasa for 3 years. I was a collaborating researcher on an Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) funded Participatory modeling of wellbeing tradeoffs in coastal Kenya (P-Mowtick). I am currently collaborating on another ESPA funded research on sustainable poverty alleviation from coastal ecosystem services (SPACES). My career interest is in fisheries, aquatic sciences and aquatic resources management with particular interest in studying linkages between marine ecosystems, their fisheries production and contribution to poverty alleviation in coastal communities together with the accompanying fisheries trade-offs and management options.
Yang (Eva) Liu-I am an incoming Master student to the Nicholas School from Beijing, China. I just finished my undergraduate study in Environmental Science and Economics at the University of Minnesota this May. My interests are mainly in corporate environmental management, environmental health and renewable energy technology. Without much background in marine ecology and biology, I am really looking forward to learn as much as possible from the faculty members as well as all of the Participants in the Marine Conservation Institute.
Juan Rodriguez Baron-I am an enthusiastic Colombian marine biologist who has been studying the marine biodiversity in Mexico and Colombia for 8 years. During my undergraduate courses in the Colombian university Jorge Tadeo Lozano, I fell in love with ecology and conservation of turtles, sharks, marine mammals and birds. My interest in the ecology of marine turtles grew and motivated me to undertake graduate studies at the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences, in Mexico. I try to combine academia with working activities and have therefore worked as a technician, research assistant and scientific coordinator at universities and NGO’s, such as Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur, Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias and The Ocean Foundation. I currently serve as a research associate at the WWF Species Program in Latin America and the Caribbean, where I share scientific advice on experimental design and data analysis, as well as technical and scientific writing.
Liliana Ayala-With seventeen years of experience, especially in seabird research and conservation, I have developed conservation projects of several endangered seabirds and researches about breeding biology of Peruvian guano birds. In addition, I have participated in Scientific Research Cruises along the Peruvian coast and in the Antarctica with the objective to know predator-prey relationships among these environments. I have also developed several activities of Environmental Education in marine ecosystems. I am a member of World Seabird Union, Pacific Seabird Group and Peruvian Association for the Conservation of Nature.
Guillermo Ortuño Crespo-I am a Marine Biologist from Malaga (Spain) and I will be joining the Duke Marine Lab community again after my first experience on the Fall of 2013. My main interests lie in the conservation of biotic resources harvested by fisheries and the many ways we can protect them as well as their ecosystem. My latest research and involvement with organizations has orbited around the conservation of shark nurseries, tuna populations and highly migratory species through organizations and institutes such as the PEW Charitable Trust, the Bimini Biological Field Station, and the DUML.
Megan Doldron-I am a native of the beautiful twin Islands of Trinidad and Tobago. I currently reside in Greensboro, North Carolina. I attended Hollins University where I double majored in dance and Biology. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree I went on to pursue a Masters in Biology Education. Shortly after graduating I was offered a teaching position at Reidsville high school where I have been for the last 3 years. While at Reidsville, I was awarded teacher of the year. I also applied and got accepted into a summer research internship program at UNCG. My interest in marine conservation stems from my love of dolphins. They are incredibly smart and their display of learned behavior fascinates me. The documentary Blackfish also played a significant role in my love for dolphins as well.
Austin Allen-I’m from Middleburg, VA, a small town in the middle of rural horse country. I graduated from William and Mary in 2010. Currently I work for Dolphin Quest in Hawaii, an organization that promotes conservation by connecting people with marine animals while educating and inspiring them to conserve aquatic habitats. My interests in marine conservation are broad. I’ve participated in bottlenose dolphin health assessments in Bermuda and Sarasota, FL. I designed an experiment through an NSF grant at Virginia Institute of Marine Science to look at diamondback terrapin bycatch in the blue crab fishery. I’ve always been hooked on coral reefs and their conservation, and spent most of 2013 working in Malaysia to help start a science and education remote field station, while training select reef fish and stingrays for guest interactions. I’m excited for the MSCI this summer and to begin the CEM program at Duke this fall.
Madelyn Pineault-I am originally from Cincinnati, OH and currently live in Dayton, OH where I attended the University of Dayton. I graduated in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology. I worked in the research lab of Dr. Ryan McEwan studying Bush Honeysuckle (lonicera maacki), an invasive species. Through UD, I traveled to Ecuador and Hawaii. During the 2013-2014 school year and summer, I interned with the City of Dayton Water Department, working in the Division of Environmental Management. I performed storm water sampling and analysis to protect the area rivers and aquifer. My marine conservation interests include marine mammals, ocean warming, and protecting marine estuaries/salt marshes.
Orlando Perera Perez-I finished my graduate course in Biology Science in 2008 at the University of Havana, Cuba. Since my graduation I have been working in the Center of Marine Research at the University of Havana (CIM-UH), specifically at the Ecology and Conservation of Marine Ecosystems Department. I also got my Master degree in Marine Biology and studied the spatial-temporal variation in recruitment patterns, bleaching and diseases of scleractinian corals in the western region of Cuba for my Master’s thesis. I’m currently a researcher and a lecturer of undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Havana. My research focuses on understanding the dynamic and structure of coral reef ecosystems under anthropogenic and climate changes impact in order to better support conservation efforts tailored to preserve these fragile ecosystems. I am especially interested on estimation of several ecological indicators at the community and population level in impacted and well preserved reefs.
Heather Afford-I grew up in a small town in the Pine Barrens called Tabernacle, but now reside in Manahawkin, a town near the Barnegat Bay and Long Beach Island, New Jersey. I graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Marine Science (Biology) where I interned and conducted individual research at the Rutgers Marine Field Station where I still volunteer. Some of my main interests include human-marine species interactions, anthropogenic effects, marine protected areas, and endangered species (sea turtles in particular). One day I would like to join a governmental or non-governmental organization dedicated to conducting research and pushing policies related to marine protected areas (national or international) while helping to bind the gap between humans and their knowledge about the ocean, its inhabitants, and how to better conserve it for the future.
Caroline Wiernicki-I am from Potomac, MD, and I am beginning my junior year of undergraduate study at Duke. At Duke, I am majoring in Environmental Science (BS) and English (BA), and I am a co-leader of the Divest Duke campaign. Growing up half an hour away from the Chesapeake Bay—and spending countless hours on the water—conservation has always been an issue close to home. Over the years I have watched the direct impact of human activity on local oyster and blue crab populations, as well as the visible decline in the water quality. A little further from home, I actively participated in a project with the Tennessee Conservation Institute to reintroduce a population of lake sturgeon into the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, a region whose ecosystems have also been drastically altered by people. I hope to use these experiences and the knowledge I gain through further explorations in environmental science to address issues of conservation.
Ellie Heywood-Snorkeling on a reef off of Tulum, Mexico when I was five was my first source of inspiration in the marine world. I grew up in Wisconsin but was very determined to study marine science throughout my childhood and into my adulthood. I learned how to sail and dive and began working for a live-aboard dive/sailing/marine science program in the British Virgin Islands. Here, I obtained my U.S. Coast Guard Captains license and NAUI instructor certification. In addition to teaching students sailing and diving, we also inspired love for the underwater environment. In 2012 I finished my B.A. in Biology with an emphasis in marine science from Occidental College in Los Angeles. After spending my summer in the Caribbean, I embarked on an eight month long voyage in the Indian Ocean conducting visual and acoustic surveys of cetaceans. In addition, we collaborated with 5Gyres onboard the 100 year old sailing research vessel on the first micro plastic debris study across the Bay of Bengal. That fall I applied and was accepted at the Nicholas School of the Environment for their MEM program with a concentration on coastal environment management.
Alessandra Bardi-I am a 28-year-old Italian student with a degree in Marine Biology (Pisa University, Italy, 2010). My Master Thesis focused on the influence of oceanic currents on the tracks of the leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea. To carry out my project, I used the combination of satellite telemetry and oceanographic data to quantify the influence of oceanic currents on the sea turtles’ tracks with the aim of understanding if they adapt their movements with respect to currents. I am passionate about marine biology, environmental conservation, ecotoxicology and animal orientation. Currently I am working in Livorno (Italy) as environmental guide and my main academic goal is to gain the abilities needed to allow me to become an international-level researcher with highly-specialized knowledge in the field of marine biology.
Jason Flower-I am a marine scientist and dive instructor, with a keen interest in communicating science to resource managers and policy makers. I have worked with several conservation NGOs including Coral Cay Conservation in Tobago, Operation Wallacea in Honduras and Nature Seychelles. I completed my master’s degree in Tropical Coastal Management at Newcastle University in the UK. I have been working for the last year as a research associate on the Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment (FORCE) project at the University of Queensland, coordinating, writing and editing a reef managers’ handbook entitled “Towards reef resilience and sustainable livelihoods: a handbook for Caribbean coral reef managers”. More than 50 researchers and 20 partner institutions worldwide have been involved in the FORCE project and development of the handbook.
Renata Pereira-I was born in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul (the southernmost state of Brazil). I’m a biologist, and during my studies I focused on ecology, limnology and geo-processing. Since 2011, I have worked for Conservation International Brazil as the Ecosystem Services Coordinator in the Marine Program, based in Caravelas, Bahia. In this position, I coordinate the Brazilian side of an Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) project founded by the German government, collaborating with teams in South Africa and the Philippines. The goal is to carry out EbA strategies in marine, terrestrial, and coastal regions as a means of improving livelihoods and conserving biodiversity in the face of climate change. One other aim is to support local, national and international EbA policy. On the terrestrial side, my working area has some of the last standing Atlantic Forest patches; the marine environment of the area has the greatest coral biodiversity in South Atlantic. These ecosystems support thousands of people that rely on fisheries and tourism.
Lou Vanny-I come from Cambodia. I hold a Master’s Degree in Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management (AARM) from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)-Thailand, 2009 2011. Since 2012, I have been working for IUCN as a National Coordinator for the Mangroves for the Future initiative, known as MFF. Mangroves for the Future is a partnership-based initiative promoting investment in coastal ecosystems for sustainable development. I am interested in learning more about effective communication and cutting-edge capacity development to create positive environmental change and advocate for sustainability of the coastal ecosystems.
Kelsey Quaile-I’m from Winston-Salem, NC and I’m currently a rising junior at Duke University majoring in biology and minoring in evolutionary anthropology. Outside of the classroom, I spend my time working at the Duke Lemur Center and with the Writing Studio as an Undergraduate Writing Tutor. It wasn’t until last semester when I took a class called “Marine Megafauna” that I realized my fascination with marine biology. Science and animals have always been major interests of mine, so to have the chance to combine them this summer at the Marine Lab will surely be an unforgettable experience! I’m particularly excited to be part of the Marine Conservation Summer Institute; I haven’t learned a lot about marine conservation yet, but I’m very interested in sea turtle conservation and whaling.
Tapiwa Sondayi-I come from Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe and I am currently a rising Sophomore at Duke University. My interests mainly lie in governance and policy making. When I was a Freshman in high school, I remember coming across a book about different leaders and in it, Theodore Roosevelt was depicted with the caption ‘American President and Conservationist.’ For a kid whose understanding of our responsibility to the environment had been as basic as picking litter, turning off lights and closing the tap, the idea that someone as prominent as a U.S President had dedicated his work to conservation just opened my mind up to how more work really could be done at a much deeper level. The Duke Marine Summer Institute therefore gives me the opportunity to understand how policy can be used to effect change in conservation.
Kelly Adams-I am from Plano, Texas and am currently an undergraduate at Principia College. I am obtaining a B.S. degree in Biology and recently went on a week abroad to Trinidad and studied Leatherback sea turtles. This experience helped me realize how much more research needs to be done in to order to help restore populations. Last summer I interned at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina where I worked with many species of birds including flamingos and penguins. I am interested in preserving habitats and endangered species populations (sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds).
Irushinie Wedage-I am a Conservation Scientist and an Environmental Educator, born and bred in the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, imbued with a strong interest in coastal and marine ecosystems. Driven by the passion to pursue a biodiversity-oriented career, I earned my First Degree in Zoology with a major in Wildlife Conservation and Management from the University of Colombo, followed by a Master’s in Conservation Leadership from the University of Cambridge. My experience in marine conservation includes migratory seabird research, coastal habitat restoration, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, modelling climate change impacts on coastal habitats and communities and managing trans-boundary issues affecting the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem. I am keenly interested in contributing to policy-defining research and tapping into transformative technologies to scale up the global conservation response.
Grace Domingo-I am the executive director and founder of Ocean-action Resource Center (ORC), a small local non-profit based in my coastal hometown Silago, Southern Leyte, Philippines that specializes in multi-sector support for marine conservation and education. I hold a Master’s degree in Communication Research from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. In 2007, I became Marine Conservation Scholar of Coral Cay Conservation and since then have striven to merge my communication background with conservation science. I then took up marine science courses at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in 2009 and three years later, I became EDGE fellow of Zoological Society of London where I was trained in coral reef conservation. Having worked in my own town for four years now, I have seen how wide the knowledge gap is between the scientific community and our local stakeholders. I hope that my training in Duke University will equip me to bridge this gap, give voice to homegrown environmental initiatives like ORC and align ourselves within a supportive global framework of policies and solutions.
Umair Shahid-I am a development professional with Masters in Marine Zoology (2007). I did my Bachelors in Zoology (2006). I have been affiliated with World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF) for 5 years and 10 months. I joined WWF-Pakistan in 2008, and since then I have worked on data analysis, field surveys, livelihood development, natural resource management and fisheries management broadly. I have always had the passion to work on nature conservation, which has brought me closer to reaching my goals. My goal has always been to keep on learning , changing and adapting, as I think of life as a ‘sea in motion’. Everything changes, nothing remains the same. The very way we think about ourselves changes dramatically fast, and I want to keep living and keep changing for the better.