Environmental and Safety Engineer
Tünde is an environmental process engineer and a safety engineer, interested in environmental sciences. She considers herself a global citizen, she is from Hungary but living in Austria, and is a mother of 2 kids. Tünde is passionate about protecting our beautiful planet and creating a sustainable world. She would like to use her enthusiasm and skills to explore the impact of plastic pollution, and to communicate and educate findings to different generations, to help everyone understand better how we can live a sustainable life.
Galapagos Science Center Researcher
Daniela Alarcon Ruales is one of the bursary recipients on eXXpedition Round the World, and a plastic researcher for the Galapagos Science Centre (GSC).
Jana was born in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) in the last years of communism. She first left her country and then her former career of a photographer to dedicate her time to studying and solving environmental issues. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science and a PhD in Environment and Agrifood. She was mainly involved in measurements of nutrient and uranium pollution in river and soil systems. But her interests in sustainability brought her to independent ways of living and the desire to share her scientific knowledge with wide audience beyond the walls of academia.
Jana is currently on sabbatical, combining her scientific and photography background with her passion for exploring the world. In the past, Jana volunteered for Zoological Society of London, on an organic farm in France and at Metropolitan National Park in Panama.
Environmental Science Engagement
Mo Langmuir is an aspiring socio-ecological researcher and environmentalist based in the UK. She is currently working with a conservation NGO in Malta.
In 2016, her undergraduate research was the first study on microplastic pollution in UK mussel farms, highlighting the link between marine plastics and health via the human food chain. Since then Mo has participated in marine litter research in South Africa, facilitated science workshops on plastic pollution and delivered lifestyle workshops and talks on the matter. She believes plastic pollution is a social issue as much as an environmental one.
Mo has always lived in big cities but was lucky to have grandparents in the Peak District and Scottish Highlands. These were Narnia. She now works on projects to engage young people with science and the natural world. She is an advocate for citizen science and its role in making science more accessible, inclusive and impactful. Mo has been running her own citizen science project to map Nottingham’s urban greening with giant helium balloons and young people which was exhibited in a public gallery last month. The silos of science and art need to be bridged which is why the interdisciplinary aspect of the voyage is so exciting!
SOPHIA is a Species at Risk Biologist in New Brunswick, Canada where she produces status reports and assessments for endangered species and undertakes habitat mapping to facilitate their protection. Sophia has a strong background in aquatic biology, animal physiology, microbiology and environmental management and has also field experience in Coastal Marine Ecology.
Sophia is comfortable on the water but is also looking forward to learning how to sail with eXXpedition. She is also looking forward to applying her experience during Caribbean 2017 and learn new skills in environmental monitoring that she can apply to real-world issues and give back to the community of Grenada, where she grew up for 16 years.
MELINA is a biochemist and water addict. She is currently studying for a PhD which involves the development of alternative treatments to replace chemotherapy for breast cancer patients. Her home is Germany where she learned to sail on the largest lake in Europe and absolutely loved it and is an overall water sports enthusiast.
Throughout her studies she was engaged in a green society spreading awareness to protect our environment. Melina is excited to join the eXXpedition Round Britain team as it will bring together two of her passions: science and sailing. She is looking forward to spreading the word about ocean pollution and how to change it, spending time with an all-female crew and gaining experience sailing in the North Sea.
United States of America
KIM has a background in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management with extensive graduate education and field experience in marine ecology and environmental education. She has taught marine biology and ecology to high school and university students for many years. Kim is currently working for the Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) as their Marine Litter Coordinator. TEP is part of the Coastal Partnerships Network (CPN) and the Marine CoLABoration working to help people reconnect to and value the ocean. Kim’s role involves liaising with a wide range of academic, regulatory and charitable organisations in the monitoring of plastic litter in the Thames. One of her key priorities is delivery of TEP’s role in the Marine CoLABoration’s #OneLess campaign’ to stop the flow of plastics pollution to the ocean by making London less reliant on single-use plastic water bottles and spreading the refill revolution in London.
Kim is passionate about motivating the next generation of women to become scientists and in order to encourage this is coordinating an education and outreach project for her time on eXXpedition. This includes live streaming and video blogs so that student groups can experience a virtual scientific cruise. Student groups following the cruise online will also be able to join the ship in port to participate in beach cleans and experience science first hand in the field.
MEGAN is currently studying for a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth, which is one of eXXpedition Round Britain’s partners. Her main interests lie in algae and conservation, including investigating the effects of microplastics on the marine environment. Megan has previously worked as a beach ranger for the Polzeath Marine Conservation Group in Cornwall, where she gained experience in educating the public on local marine conservation issues and also in leading beach cleans, rock pooling and boat surveys, among other activities. It was during her time as a beach ranger where she first heard of eXXpedition and she could not wait to get involved!
Megan is looking forward to using this opportunity to provide the wider public with an understanding of microplastics and the way that they are affecting the marine environment. Megan is also hoping to collect a data to investigate the relationship between microplastics and potential effects on plankton communities around the UK.
Marine Biologist and Science Educator
TEGAN is a marine biologist and science educator. When she can’t be found in the classroom she spends her time studying humpback whales (and ocean trash) in New England and teaching people about these amazing animals and their habitat. Tegan was previously a crew member on board eXXpedition Ascension in 2015 and since then has continued her coastal at-sea marine debris research with a strong emphasis on education and outreach work.
Tegan grew up sailing and although she now spends much of her time on board commercial whale watching vessels, she still finds time to sail. Apart from her Atlantic crossing on RV Sea Dragon in November 2015, she also sailed and beach cleaned along the coast of Maine on board RV American Promise last summer. Tegan has said that her time on Sea Dragon was life changing. She would like nothing more than to get back on board and do what she loves – engaging people about the issues that face our oceans – and in a place that is extremely special to her. She would also like to use her time on board to pilot her data collection on marine debris in the biological important waters of western and northern Scotland
JAN is a marine chemist from the UK, and has over 17 years experience, carrying out and managing research into contaminants in the marine environment, focusing on identification of toxic (particularly endocrine disrupting) chemicals in marine sediments, and the development of new technologies designed to detect and identify emerging chemicals in sediments and water.
She is an experienced sailor, having started sailing with her parents as a child.
Throughout my life I have been fascinated by the diversity of marine life and the power of the ocean. I became passionate about marine sciences very early in highschool and I soon recognized how quickly the marine environment is changing due to human impacts. In order to better understand the pocesses and the development of the earth system, I started a degree in geological sciences.
During my studies in Germany and California at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography I discovered my passion for marine research expeditions and participated in a number of cruises on research vessels off Namibia, off the Californian Coast and the Northern Sea. In particular I focused on climate change and biogeochemical cycles and the impact on our oceans and ecosystems. With the master’s degree and the motivation to communicate scientific knowldege about the importance of our oceans, I became the head of office of the German Ocean Foundation last year, fighting for the protection of the marine environment everyday. Besides my scientific career I am really enthusiastic about diving, surfing, climbing, travelling and exploring.
I think it is crucial to increase the public awareness about the importance of the health of the oceans for all of us and to pull together to protect the environment. Therefore I am very excited to join eXXpedition in the Carribean and to contribute to research and communication about the issue of plastic pollution and toxins.
In fact It wasn’t until I saw the vast destruction of our environment by plastics in Indonesia two years ago with my own eyes that I realized the impact of our consumption life style.
Furthermore I am really thrilled to improve my sailing skills on the beautiful Sea Dragon and to meet all the inspiring women from the fields of science, arts and more. I think that our combined skills can strenghten a change in our society and inspire people to change their personal life style. I hope I can take a part of the power and motivation back to Germany.
United States of America
My passion for the ocean has existed since I first started forming solid memories. This passion carried through my childhood all the way to Long Island University’s Southampton College, where I majored in marine science, and on still further to William & Mary’s School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where I earned a master’s in marine science.
If you had asked me at age 12 what I wanted to be, it would’ve been dolphin trainer or sea turtle biologist. But as I grew and learned, it became apparent to me that the world ocean is in trouble. My career focus became how to strike the balance between economy and resource protection. My graduate research was directed towards the vitellogenic cycle of fish as a biomarker of environmental contamination and reproductive disruption.
In 2002, I tried my hand at Washington, D.C. policy-making as a National Sea Grant Office John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. But, salt water runs in my veins, and I soon turned in my business suits and high-heels for oilskins and flip-flops, joining North Carolina Sea Grant in August 2003 as a fisheries extension specialist in their Manteo Office.
My ongoing work includes cultivating cooperative research with the commercial and recreational fishing industries. Working together, fishermen and scientists can improve our understanding of the complex interactions between fishery resources and fishing practices. And of late, I have been trying to turn the tide on derelict fishing gear and other marine debris, which can smother and crush sensitive salt marsh habitat. Beginning in 2014, with support from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and North Carolina Sea Grant, the North Carolina Coastal Federation began an annual sounds and shorelines cleanup. The effort is a public-private partnership between fishermen, N.C. Marine Patrol officers and the general public.
When I saw the expedition goals — making the unseen seen, from toxins in the ocean to toxins in our bodies, and raising the visibility and voices of women in science along the way, I knew I had to be a part of this endeavor.
As a female, marine scientist in what still is a male-dominated field, I am deeply devoted to empowering women in science (admittedly only one of the underrepresented minorities, but the one I have been most involved with).
This voyage also will provide a chance to revisit my early career focus on environmental toxicology and participate in scientifically documenting the extent of marine pollution in the Caribbean. More rewarding will be educating others about the potentially harmful effects of various chemical, biological and physical agents on marine ecosystems.
But most personal of all is, I just celebrated my second year as a breast cancer survivor. At the mere age of 37, I was diagnosed with stage 2 hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. One will never know the cause of their cancer, but research strongly suggests that exogenous, man-made chemicals that mimic estrogen can alter the functions of the endocrine system and cause various health defects including cancer. My story has a happy ending, or at least I’m determined to make it so. I feel blessed to have detected my cancer early, and so my mission is, like that of eXXpedition, to stamp out late detection of breast cancer.
Originally from East Sussex, I’ve always been close to the sea, my dad is a keen sailor and has passed on his passion down to me. My love for the ocean has always been a running theme in my life and in 2014 I started a degree in Marine and Natural History Photography. This degree has allowed me to expand my knowledge not only in the visual arts but has also ignited a love for science. I love how these subjects can be combined and complement each other, in raising awareness to the important environmental issues of the world. My area of expertise lies within the visual arts, I love documenting experiences and moments with photography and film. I feel its the best way to get vital messages across in the current, modern world.
My goals and aims for the expedition are to expand my own knowledge and understanding of the current state of our oceans. I aim to contribute to the best of my ability in all aspects of the trip, whilst documenting using film and photography to be able to educate and demonstrate to different communities. This investigation will allow me to grow as an independent person as well as taking a step onto the path towards my desired career.
The story goes that on my first trip to the beach, still a toddler, I sneakily crawled straight into the water, ‘encouraging’ my dad to take an unforeseen rescue dip into the rough and cold North Atlantic! Since then, my relationship with the Ocean has evolved from attraction to love, boldness to humbleness and admiration to awe.
Originally from Porto in Portugal, I pursued this early curiosity with the natural world, and particularly a fascination with sea turtles, by studying Biology at University of Madeira. I then returned to Porto in 1999 to study Pharmaceutical Sciences and worked there as a qualified pharmacist. I loved the contact with the community and how I could make a difference in people’s lives. However, my love for science led me to the UK in 2006, and back to the lab, to pursue a Masters and then a PhD in the biology of ageing. I earned a doctorate from the University of London where my research focused on finding specific biomarkers for a particular pathway of senescence in skin cells. Then, I worked on developing cell culture models in which to study mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis; in particular how Nickel causes cells to bypass senescence towards cancer.
Alongside the love for science, a passion for sports and physical expression has always been a constant in my life. After being introduced to gymnastics at an early age, I spent my fun time as a teen playing water polo and surfing. Whilst at university I competed in martial arts, against both men and women, and was National and Iberian champion in the Brazilian art of Capoeira for 3 years in a row. In 2006, I became the first Portuguese woman in my group to receive the belt to teach. Over the following decade I found my way from injury into Yoga and now, at 37 years old, I am a yoga teacher dedicated to generating a positive impact in my students lives.
As a child my father would take me and my brother treasure hunting. Waking up, in a tent on a beach, in the bunk of a sailboat or in the old fisherman’s cabin on our tiny island, we would get in the boat, lunchpacks, towels and all, and go for an Adventure. With a capital A.
We’d steer for one of the hundreds of wild islands and skerries in the outer belt, and the Hunt would begin. The prize: flotsam. Odd looking pieces of wood, twisted, saltsoaked boards, and the biggest prize of all: fishing floats or the occasional plastic bottle with foreign lettering. The latter two would be brought home with pride, rarities to be treasured.
I’m now 31 years old , a sailor, a marine biologist and a scientific diver. Six weeks before writing this I gave birth to my first child, a daughter. She will never get to play this game. The rocky beaches where we went hunting 25 years ago are now littered with plastic, in all its shapes and forms. I know, I went back to see for myself.
However, most people don’t. Get to see for themselves that is. And as the saying goes: out of sight, out of mind. Whether it’s previously pristine beaches or out in the world’s oceans, in the seafood we eat, in the water we swim in, if you can’t see it, it is of small importance. Except, in this case, it isn’t.
The contaminants in the fish on your dinner table, a plastic bottle on the beach or an accumulation the size of a country in one of the oceanic gyres, are all symptoms of the same problem. And the first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging that it exists. I hope that by being part of eXXpedition I can be part of bringing to people’s attention the magnitude of this problem, both the visible and the invisible, and show that it affects all of our lives.
“People protect what they love”. It’s as true now as when Jacques Cousteau first coined it. For the last 10 years I have been working for the marine environment and its conservation. Mapping underwater ecosystems around the same islands where I used to play. Coordinating international work on assessing the threat to marine species. Assisting multinational research groups when taking on questions on the sustainable use of the marine environment.
All of this I have done for myself, because the sea is what I love. But now, now I do it for my daughter. Because everyone deserves treasure hunts in their life. And because women are adventurers. With a capital A.”
BARBARA graduated in Biological Science, has a Masters in Bio-Medicine, a PhD in Microbial Ecology and I she is currently a research fellow at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE).
HIE’s diverse portfolio of research is renowned to bring excellence to decision-making in natural and managed ecosystems centring on ecosystem functioning in Australia and internationally. In a changing world, Barbara aims to understand the effects of rapid change in altered ecosystems and on the communities of living organisms ranging from the smallest microbes to the tallest forest trees.
On the Sea Dragon research vessel, she will use an automated microbial sampling and communication device (OSMO) developed by Indigo V Expeditions. The Indigo V Expeditions is a multi-national scientific and sailing initiative based that aims to gauge the health of the worlds’ oceans by taking water samples and looking at the relative health of the microbial communities in that sample.
Since 2013, Indigo V Expedition is effectively crowd-sourcing the collection of oceanographic data by harnessing the existing fleet of private sailing yachts. Their work has been awarded by the UNESCO, NBC news, Australian Research Council and presented in the most prestigious venues around the world. The data collected by Barbara in the Amazon eXXpedition will be coupled with the ones collected by Indigo V Expeditions across the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and the Amazonian terrestrial ecosystems.
Jen is a geographer and filmmaker fascinated by human-environment interaction. She has a BA in Geography (2:1) and an MSc in Environment, Science & Society (Distinction) from the University College of London. Her academic research explored environmental management and experience, film as an emancipatory tool for environmental education, as well as geographies of health and biological identity. She has been involved in several research, filmmaking and sport expeditions in a diverse range of roles. In 2009, she led a UCL-funded research expedition to British Columbia and in 2010 was a member of the Lost World Project documentary-making expedition to Venezuela’s Mount Roraima.
Following this expedition, Jen set up her film company, Your Frontier (www.yourfrontier.co.uk) to raise awareness of worldwide expeditions as well as social and environmental responsibility projects. She has since been Marketing Manager and Head of Media for several world-first expeditions including Row Zambezi (2011) and the Yangtze Adventure (2013). For the past year she has worked at the UK Energy Research Centre at the Oxford University Centre for the Environment, bringing together academic, industrial and political groups/individuals to bridge gaps in understanding and action around UK energy issues and climate change. She is also a Relationships Manager for Ibex Earth’s ‘Our World: Our Choice’ initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of preserving global biodiversity and find ways to offer support to environmental and conservation charities including the Galapagos Conservation Trust, the World Land Trust and ZSL’s EDGE of Existence Programme.
She is passionate about health, well-being and outdoor fitness. She is a keen runner and paddleboarder, certified as a SUP and PaddleFit Instructor. She is also Co-owner/Operator of an environmentally sustainable outdoor recreation park in Canada called Windmill Lake (www.windmill-lake.ca) which she hopes will be a springboard for community health initiatives in South-Western Ontario. The mission and aims of the Atlantic eXXpedition hold personal significance for Jen due to the diagnosis, care and loss of several family members and close friends to cancer. She is very excited to be a part of this incredible project that will allow her to explore her own health, behaviour and relationship with the environment while encouraging others to do the same. She is passionate about producing a wide range of high impact film-based outputs from this expedition and showcasing them internationally through different forums. This is a unique opportunity to have a tangible impact on the communication and understanding of human/environmental health and she can’t wait to get onboard!
Constança graduated in marine biology in Portugal and she has been working with marine and coastal ecosystem management ever since. Holding a Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of São Paulo, her life path has led her to bridge between science, policy and society keeping sustainability at its core.
She is currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark working on marine issues at the European Environment Agency (EEA). The EEA is a European public institution that supports environmental and climate policy implementation and assessments. Contaminants and marine litter are part of her core work. She is also leading a citizen science project to collect data on beach litter throughout Europe – Marine LitterWatch. Synchronicities and a great desire to grab opportunities and dive into the unknown have led her to join eXXpedition. An adventure Constança decided to take in her personal time, as she sees it as a unique opportunity to reconnect to the sea and herself. She also hopes to gain live insight about the interconnection between healthy seas and human well-being – and be inspired to take it to new realms! The sea is her passion and also one of her greatest fears. Her life drivers are love, family, friends, good times and trying to make the world she can touch a better place for all.
Scientist, eXXpedition Co-Founder
LUCY is a professional changemaker with a Degree in Biology and Phd in Molecular Microbiology. Her career has spanned academia, government, grassroots activism and supranational policy making. Lucy has a life-long passion for tackling climate change and toxic pollution. Currently, she works for Brussels based NGO, Transport & Environment, tackling climate impacts and pollution from shipping and aviation. She has sailed on three eXXpedition voyages and continues to support the project as a technical advisor and ambassador for the cause.
Lucy was Mission Leader for eXXpedition Caribbean 2017.
Scientist and Communicator
Growing up on the Isle of Man, ROWAN was immersed in the marine environment from an early age. At the age of five, she learnt to dive and snorkel in the waters around the Island. These early experiences created an inherent interest in the seas and led to her study a degree in ocean science and a masters in applied marine science at Plymouth University. Now working as a marine scientist, Rowan is passionate about the health of our marine environment, and is excited to be part of a team of inspiring woman that want to spread the word about plastic pollution to a global audience.
Rowan is a UNESCO Isle of Man Biosphere Ambassador.
United States of America
Engineer, Waste Management
Professor of Environmental Engineering and National Geographic Fellow
Jenna is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA). She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. She then worked for the US EPA Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park, NC as an ORISE post-doc. She became a research professor at the University of New Hampshire and then moved to the University of Georgia in 2009. She is passionate about her work and has been conducting research in solid waste issues for 17 years with related projects on marine debris since 2001, especially projects related to location and spatial analysis, waste (debris) characterization, and mobile device usage (mapping, etc.). She has published numerous papers, several book chapters and given talks in many countries. She was PI of the NOAA partnership the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative (SEA-MDI) and co-developer of the mobile app Marine Debris Tracker, a tool currently being used to log marine debris throughout the world.
Marine Debris Tracker will be used to log any visible debris items on the voyage, and data will be presented in real time on the website. Jenna will also be helping the team to sample microplastics in conjunction with other ongoing research related to plastic fragmentation and size distribution. While she has been on smaller sampling vessels and much larger cruise ships, Jenna has never been on this type of sailing ship, nor taken this kind of adventure before. She hopes to raise awareness about how waste generation, characterization and management relate to plastic in the oceans. As an engineer, she also wants to inspire and encourage women to enter STEM disciplines. She will speak to both her students at UGA and her young son’s classes about plastics in the ocean while out on the water and when she returns. More on Jenna and her projects can be found here: http://jambeck.engr.uga.edu/. Follow on her adventures on Twitter @JambeckResearch, @DebrisTracker or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenna.jambeck, https://www.facebook.com/MarineDebrisTracker
IMOGEN is a PhD student at Plymouth University researching ‘The Sources and Fate of Plastic in the Marine Environment’. Her research has influenced the ban of microbeads in cosmetics internationally and was also the first to estimate plastic contamination into the marine environment from washing clothes.
Imogen has been mostly lab-based during her PhD, so she is intrigued and eager to see the impact plastic can have both at sea and to coastline communities. She is passionate about science communication and is looking forward to using this North Pacific expedition as a platform to encourage positive change.
United States of America
Currently, using my experience and training in aquatic toxicology and fish biology to monitor, protect, and remediate ecologically sensitive areas of the globe adversely impacted by extractive industries, especially hydrocarbons a raw material of plastics.
Diana was eXXpedition Science Advisor from Atlantic 2014-North Pacific 2018. She continues to provide invaluable support to our science programme.
She was Mission Leader for Ascension 2015, Amazon 2015 and Round Britain 2017 Leg 3.
Honduran Marine Biologist
LAURA is a marine scientist and conservationist. Growing up in Honduras her passion since a young age was the constant exploration of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Throughout the years, Laura witnessed the ongoing deterioration of this beautiful but fragile ecosystem due to irresponsible fishing and plastic pollution, and pledged to be part of the solution by becoming a biologist.
Her area of expertise is marine benthic communities and she’s currently working as a research assistant for marine sponge molecular studies. Laura is interested to explore how nano plastics and micro plastics bioaccumulate, and how toxics biomagnify across the marine food web. Her main goal is to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in the ocean and the threat it poses to marine life and human health. Additionally, she is keen to know how much plastic is floating in the water column and, thus, reaching marine bottom-dwelling organisms.
EMILY is a PhD researcher at University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The research focus is on the Impacts of plastic pollution on marine turtles in research sites in the USA, Cyprus and Australia. Her area of expertise is the scientific background and consequences of plastic pollution on marine organisms and environments and sample collection for investigating plastic pollution in the marine environments, in particular large marine vertebrates (specialising marine turtles). During the eXXpedition North Pacific sail, Emily is planning to consider plastic pollution levels in the context of important development sites for post-hatchling marine turtles; a critical stage in development and recruitment in potentially vulnerable sub-populations.
United States of America
Wildlife biologist, focusing on contaminants.
OKSANA is a wetlands program director in Portland, Maine, USA-based non-profit organization called Biodiversity Research Institute (www.briloon.org).
Oksana has a Masters degree from the University of Minnesota in Environmental Biology and over the past 20 year has been involved in multiple projects focusing on mercury exposure and assessment in biota and people. Her research interests include wildlife toxicology, conservation on a global scale, coastal avian communities and plastics pollution.
Oksana’s concern for the marine environment has grown over the years since firsthand observing and collecting the astoundingly large amounts of trash and micro plastics during 2012-2014 mercury sampling campaigns in the Mediterranean Sea and while working on a “Limpia Guerrero” project in Mexico.
Oksana hopes to join eXXpedition 2017 to help collect data, spread awareness, share the science and work to reduce pollution and contaminants in our wetlands and in marine environments. Oksana grew up in Minsk, Belarus and now lives in Maine with her son.
Conserving biodiversity is Melissa’s passion. She is an advocate for science literacy who works with youth, Indigenous peoples, and community members to share perspectives on ways that people can affect the natural world.
MELISSA is based in Toronto, Canada where she currently works as an environmental scientist at Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). Prior to joining the NWMO, she worked as project manager at a global environmental and engineering firm, and as a researcher studying human interactions with terrestrial and marine ecosystems. She has a keen working interest in the environment and has undertaken environmental research in a number of countries. An essential part of her work involves engaging in community learning. She works with youth, indigenous people, and community members to build their understanding of landscape ecology and environmental impact assessment.
Being on, in, or near the water is Melissa’s favourite place. She is a qualified rescue SCUBA diver, and enjoys sailing on beautiful Lake Ontario on her 9 m cruiser. Melissa has successfully completed Sail Canada’s Basic Cruising Standard for keelboats, and participates in weekly club racing as crew on a Beneteau 36.7. Although an experienced sailor, Melissa is looking forward to developing her sailing skills, and learning to more confidently handle moderate wind and sea conditions. Melissa is also an advocate for science literacy. She is certain this expedition will provide exciting stories to share with her friends’ daughters, inspiring them to a life of adventure and active participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
A scientist, outdoor enthusiast, adventurer, Derya (meaning ‘sea’ or ‘ocean’) has worked as a geologist in remote and rugged conditions all over the world. Her research evolves around the reconstruction of Earth’s ancient oceanic lithosphere from the sparse geologic record preserved in mountain ranges. Derya’s biography is intimately linked to the sea.
She studied marine science and ultimately Earth Sciences. Driven by curiosity in the world that surrounds us and her personal motivation, Derya wants to use her expertise as Earth Scientist and educator to contribute to a cause that affects us all.
Independent Consultant - Marine, Coasts and Climate Change.
Emma has lived and worked around the marine environment all her life, as a scientist, coastal adaptation and resilience she brings expertise in oceanography and conducting engagement with policy makers internationally.
As a keen surfer and diver, Emma sees the damage on a daily basis. She hopes her volunteered time to collect samples and data desperately needed to support that change, reversing the dumpsite approach to waste management that curses our global oceans.
She runs her own business from Plymouth, Devon. Resilient Coasts provides technical expertise in coastal defence through adaptation and resilience approaches under climatic change, typically in the most vulnerable of the world’s communities. Emma hopes to network with the carefully selected team to enable change through innovation and technology.
Vinuri has always been drawn to the ocean and water since she was young. She has engaged in all water sports in school which includes swimming, rowing and water polo. Now, she is a 4th year Uni student studying her honours degree in Bachelor of Science- Marine Biology at the University of Adelaide, Australia. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia for her studies. As a dual citizen of both countries she wanted to tackle the oceanic plastic issue in both her countries to her best ability. Therefore she decided to investigate microplastics in small filter feeding fish in Sri Lanka and Australia for her honours year research project. Through the dramatic and scary results she has been finding, she wants to raise awareness and try and reduce the oceanic plastic problem in both her countries.
She decided to be apart of the eXXpedition crew to help solve the global oceanic plastic issue and contribute to this vital journey.
Bimadoshka is Saugeen Anishinaabe and is a recent PhD graduate in Anthropology.
She is a mother to three sons, based in Ontario and is very active within her indigenous community. She is particularly concerned about environmental issues impacting Lake Huron and the rapid changes to the water quality in recent years.
By joining eXXpedition North Pacific, Bimadoshka welcomes the opportunity to bond with other like-minded women. As she has never been to British Columbia, she believes that the educational and spiritual experiences on the voyage will be countless.
On the job, Margo is a highly motivated Associate Scientist with extensive quality and analytical experience in food, flavour and fragrance manufacturing, consultancy and environmental sectors. She has proven skills in managing teams, organising work flow and analytical testing with a record of achievement in implementation of strategic continuous improvement projects and delivery of outstanding cost and time savings. A dependable, hardworking, flexible team player.
She is looking forward to being a more informed ambassador with regard to marine pollution and is motivated to raise awareness and participate in seeking solutions. Her motivation stems from a lifetime love affair with the sea, boats and all things nautical. She recently completed her Coastal Navigation course and received her Day Skipper certificate in sailing. Margo is eagerly looking forward to sailing with the eXXpedition crew on Leg 9.
United States of America
Animal Care Expert
Nicole is an environmentalist at heart. Her passion for conservation efforts around the world is what drives her to act in raising awareness and to create global change. A love for the ocean at an early age brought her to San Diego working with marine mammals in a free release setting. Her most cherished experienced was in San Felipe, Mexico assisting with the efforts to save the critically endangered Vaquita Porpoise. It was with this experience that she grew a desire to dive deeper into conservation efforts and human-environment interactions.
As a volunteer for Global Conservation Force she coordinates environment and ecology projects that will bring awareness to the effects that plastics have on marine life. Her love for travel has helped her see firsthand the effects for pollution around the world and reinforces the need for global change. With a degree in Sustainability and Organizational Leadership Nicole is thrilled to share her knowledge and ideas with the world and to create a positive change.
Maureen is a PhD researcher at the Center for International Crisis and Conflict Studies (CECRI) and a teaching assistant in International Relations at the catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Belgium. Her PhD thesis is focusing on transboundary hydro-politics, water security and cooperation. Lately, she has been working more specifically on environmental security and gender. She is also a member of Louvain4Water, a multidisciplinary research platform for developing fundamental and applied research activities, advanced training programs and services related to water. Through the eXXpedition project, she intends to bring the issue of ocean plastic pollution on the agenda of the platform. Moreover, Maureen is the co-founder of the non-profit association Les Sous-Entendues, which aims at promoting feminine visibility in the European Union. She hopes to spread the message and the work of the eXXpedition team to women and girls all to inspire them to address ocean plastic pollution.
Having lived along coastlines in several countries such as Australia, Mexico, Ecuador, or the U.S., Maureen has developed a strong love for the ocean and its marine life. Roaming around the globe, she has surfed some of its waves and has a PADI rescue diver certification.
Science Communicator and Model
Laura Wells is an Environmentalist, presenter and one of Australia’s top curvy models. Holding degrees in both Biology and Law, qualifications in Environmental management systems and currently studying a Diploma of Paramedical Science; Laura’s passion for the environment, love for the ocean and interest in facilitating climate change action has led her to become a positive role model, advocate and ambassador for change.
Laura is currently presenting shows for National Geographic and working with environmental organisations and corporations to promote sustainable and ethical choices.
Laura believes in the importance of educating people not only on the issues, but focusing on solutions, to empower individuals to create change. Whether this be in their personal sphere around the relationship with their body and who they are, or the impact their actions have on the environment; fostering behavioural change can facilitate improvements in environmental and human health simultaneously.
Environmental Scientist and Advocate
Rachel is a Marine Ecologist and has a BSc. in Biology from McGill University and a MSc. in Ecology from UFSC in Brazil. During her studies she gathered international experience, working at places such as Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and more recently as a Research Associate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her passion for ocean advocacy led her to work with Sylvia Earle Alliance-Mission Blue, and participate in a 21-day all-female research voyage about ocean plastics and health impacts with eXXpedition. Rachel is currently working in development and science program management for 5 Gyres Institute, and spends her free time in entrepreneurship for her plastic pollution reduction start-up in Canada, The Green Stop.
United States of America
Professor of Science Education
Raised in Las Vegas and Bermuda and currently a science education professor at the University at Buffalo, Alexandra is excited to represent her communities on this voyage!
She’s a parent of two great children and a lover of oceans and freshwater. In her work, she teaches environmental and science education and research youth participation in citizen science.
Outside of work, Alexandra enjoys kitesurfing and cycling.
United States of America
Community Engagement Coordinator
Growing up in the Ocean State (Rhode Island, USA) Sasha has never lived far from the water. Thankfully! Raised by a nature-loving single mother, their vacations were all affordable camping, beach days, or visits to local parks and zoos. This inspired Sasha to become a Zookeeper.
After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in 2007 and interning at the Bronx Zoo, she began her career in animal care and public education. In 2012, she moved to the island of Galveston, Texas. Being a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, her new home inspired her once again to protect our world’s oceans. She has cared for Beluga whales, seals, sea lions, penguins, tigers, parrots, birds of prey, sloths, and more while connecting people to these species in real life. Through the zoo and aquarium field, she has been able to educate thousands of guests about the growing threats animals face in the wild while also participating in ongoing research and conservation initiatives.
As a Biologist, and now in Administration, at Moody Gardens biological park, she has been able to continue to inspire people with nature and participate in conservation projects and local preservation efforts. As a local yoga instructor, she has also found a way to link our empathy for the environment to mental and physical health.
Camila is Brazilian by birth, Italian by blood and world citizen by heart. Currently living in the Caribbean island of Curacao, in where she found her peace close to the ocean.
She is a Process Engineer, working in the Pharmaceutical sector. Besides her daily job, she’s a member of the company’s sustainability team and her role is to work on measures to improve their sustainable culture.
When she is not at work, you can find her practicing yoga by the beach or you can find her at the sea: sailing, diving, swimming, snorkeling, volunteering for the Coral Restoration Foundation, for the Curacao Sea Turtle Conservation Foundation or for the sea scouting helping with sailing lessons for the community kids.
United States of America
Biologist, Project Manager and Mother
Julie considers herself a mother and activist. She strives daily to advocate for the vulnerable and under served populations and the effects of plastic pollution in all stages of its “life-cycle” affects the entire planet. She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska USA. She received a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Phylogenetics but gave up the lab life to work managing research laboratory spaces at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Growing up on the Great Plains, she adored the vast oceans of prairies but when she traveled to the actual ocean for the first time at age 19, she was forever drawn to its power. The ocean is the terminus to all land based activity and she wants to protect it by gaining the tools to positively influence others to do the same.
A world-traveller from birth, Stav fell in love with sea turtles while volunteering in Costa Rica in 2008. She went on to obtain a degree in marine biology and pursue a wide variety of work surrounding endangered species protection, plastic pollution management and environmental education.
In 2018, after working with rural fishing communities in the Philippines for a year, Stav moved to Israel and started Plastic Free Israel: a grassroots movement harnessing the power of social media to educate, motivate and inspire others to act against plastic pollution. Later that year, she moved to London to pursue a Master’s in Climate Change, and began her (ongoing) research in atmospheric microplastic pollution.
Stav has always been an avid writer, blogging about her travels and using poetry and spoken word as an outlet for communicating difficult environmental issues. She hopes to keep
Eliana is the kind of person who believes we can all make a difference with our actions and positive change.
She was born in Porto, and it was in Portugal that she lived most of her life, where she first paid attention to this problem. She completed her masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2013 and her concern for public health and the toxic effects of micro plastics in our body are increasingly manifesting itself.
Besides her interest in science, research, nature and all living things, she recently discovered a new passion: scuba diving. Her passion for diving strengthened her relationship with the ocean and she wants to understand more about it. Since she is living in Macau, China, she took a dip in the Pacific and Indian Ocean and from that moment on she saw the magnitude of the problem of plastic pollution, becoming aware of how it affects marine life, like sea turtles, fishes, whales, coral reefs and countless other marine species and habitats.
Britt Buirs is a marine biologist and artist with a passion for protecting the wild spaces of our Earth. She resides in a small rural town surrounded by the sea, where she has managed a citizen science microplastic study.
Britt anticipates this expedition to be equally difficult and inspiring as she witness first hand the impact of plastic pollution in a different part of the world. She looks forward to working together with a group of like-minded women on solutions to the problem.
United States of America
A scientist, mother, diver, and ocean lover, Jennifer has dedicated her career to studying pollution in the ocean. She is a U.S. federal scientist and the co-Director of the Center for Marine Debris Research at Hawaii Pacific University with a Ph.D. from Duke University in Marine Environmental Toxicology.
She has published over 50 scientific manuscripts and three book chapters and mentored more than 75 undergraduate and graduate students through marine environmental research projects, focused mostly on measuring pollutants in marine organisms, especially sea turtles. Jenn’s mission has been to discover the truth about pollution exposure and effects in the ocean and educate others to perform excellent science and make positive changes for our environment.
Katherine is an ocean paddler, swimmer, scuba diver and marine scientist who has been passionate about marine conservation from an early age. Traveling is her other great love, and she has been exposed to many fragile and remote marine environments over the years but has never seen one untouched by the impacts of ocean plastics and waste.
Her career in environmental risk management and her water-based hobbies, together with a love of writing and public speaking, are what is driving her to participate in eXXpedition. She hopes to use her passion and skills to further explore the extent and impact of ocean plastics, and to communicate and educate others through her work and recreation to help everyone to reduce their footprints.
Martina is a marine scientist working on climate change impacts on fish (larval) ecology and commercial fisheries. Currently she is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. Previously she has worked at the European Commission in Brussels and graduated with a doctoral degree from Kiel University and the GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany.
She is very interested in how the ocean can sustainably help to feed the ever-growing human population while keeping its resilience to global change.
Sustainable Finance Analyst
Lily is a sustainable finance analyst working in London. Her main research areas are the transition to a green economy and sustainable business practices. She studied Earth Science at Trinity College Dublin followed by Environmental Technology at Imperial College London. She has previously worked for the UN World Food Programme researching gender equality in subsistence farming communities.
In her spare time she enjoys books, horses and keeping fit!
Candy Medusa is an artist, illustrator, marine biologist and loudmouth, constantly confused as to why bios are supposed to be in the third person.
Specialising in mixed media and upcycling, she draws much of her inspiration from nature and is passionate about the environment. She mostly makes art between midnight and 4am when the kids are asleep.
Candy has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, including with the Royal Society of Marine Artists at Mall Galleries in London, and with Creative Action Network in America and Bahrain. She was also resident artist aboard the Sea Dragon in the Caribbean.
Candy is the founder of the eXXhibition project, raising awareness of plastic pollution, organising beach cleans and workshops, and upcycling beach litter into art.
United States of America
Dr. Kristen Weiss is currently Communications Coordinator for the Long Term Ecological Research network. Previously, she was an early career fellow in Science Communication at the Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University. Kristen received her her PhD from James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, where she studied marine wildlife management.
Her goal is to continue communicating about significant environmental issues and contribute to better conservation and management strategies to protect our threatened ecosystems – and to explore these ecosystems as much as possible!
Postgraduate Student and Ocean Conservationist
KIRANA has a scientific background in Marine Science which has given her full understanding of Indonesia’s potential for leading the world in environmental issues. Working on marine conservation for nearly seven years and living in Indonesia – the heart of the Coral Triangle, a global epicentre of marine biodiversity, further confirm this. Unfortunately, its maritime potential is grossly neglected, especially with the young generation. And we are currently facing real threats such as marine ‘plastic’ debris that have a severe impact on the marine environment, economic cost and our health.
She just finished her postgraduate program at University College London on Environment, Politics and Society and researched on “Ocean Plastic, Politics of Scale and Indonesia’s National Plan of Action”. She believes through the exploration of environmental problems such as ocean plastic will provide insight related to the scientific, political, economic practices that are shaping the human perspective in their relation to the ocean. Before her postgraduate study, she was doing a United Nations-Nippon Fellowship program in 2018 at Division Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS) in New York City. Also, she worked at a different multilateral organisation, national government, and local conservation NGO focused on environment and ocean conservation.
Kirana is the recipient of a developing nations bursary, supported by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Having an opportunity to do ocean sailing on the plastic issue with eXXpedition is going to be like a dream come true for her. She hopes to help Indonesia’s Government in the future becomes an ocean advocate in the fight against ocean plastic issues. She is also very excited to learn from other eXXpedition crew how to shift the public’s perspectives on the importance of ocean issues.
Associate Professor of Public Health
Sheri Bastien is an Associate Professor of Public Health at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Norway and an adjunct faculty member at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada. She has been engaged in transdisciplinary research for over a decade in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia on a range of issues related to determinants of adolescent health and global health promotion, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene and most recently dengue prevention and control. As a post doc she developed an intervention called Project SHINE (Sanitation and Hygiene INnovation in Education) which has been successfully implemented and evaluated in rural Tanzania and India.
Through her participation in Leg 5 of eXXpedition, she hopes that being surrounded by an inspiring, passionate group of women on board will provide the first-hand experience needed to help develop an in-depth understanding of the issue of plastics pollution, innovative approaches to raise awareness and find alternative solutions, and to establish the network to help grow the SHINE model of science education and social entrepreneurship to include the issue of plastics which affects youth and communities globally.
Marine Biologist Intern
“Ocean nerd”, adventurer and a keen marine biologist, worked in science and management for public health and sustainable use of our seas and oceans. Passionate about ocean protection and climate crisis solutions. Having worked on research vessels around the globe, Liv is exited about the scientific field work and the very unique experience when working together with crewmemebers across disciplines for a common goal. Liv values the scientific discipline and big data management for key longterm solutions in ocean protection.
United States of America
Photographer & Marine Toxicologist
Jamie is a marine toxicologist turned photographer from Seattle, WA (USA). She photographs weddings, wrestling, political rallies and portraits. Her favourite is photographing pets; she lives with a wiggly dog named Mako Sharkpup who goes with her almost everywhere and loves cheese.
She has been interested in anthropogenic contaminants since university and she is grateful to be able to contribute to the efforts to curb ocean plastics. We have known about this for most of her lifetime and yet we are still contributing to the problem. In the US, the messaging is largely related to individual use, but she’s interested in addressing this problem at the production level – our approach needs to be multi-modal.
Trinidad and Tobago
La Daana Kanhai is a Trinidadian Marine Scientist that is presently based at the Department of Life Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. Since 2015, La Daana has been focused on the issue of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. During her recently completed PhD (2018) in Marine Ecosystem Health and Conservation (MARES) at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (Ireland) and The University of Plymouth (UK), La Daana sampled the various environmental compartments of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans for microplastics.
La Daana’s fascination with and passion for the natural environment are the main factors that propelled her to pursue her dream of becoming an Environmental Scientist. La Daana joins the Caribbean leg of eXXpedition because she wants to raise awareness among Small Island Developing States (SIDS) about the issue of plastic pollution in the Caribbean Sea.
Kirsten grew up amongst the rivers and coastline of North Yorkshire, a keen boater and sea kayaker she has sailed and lived aboard a variety of boats. Kirsten is passionate about protecting the UK’s coastline and loves getting hands on- from beach clean ups to restoring historic boats.
A keen researcher in child and adolescent mental health, endocrine health and fertility, Kirsten hopes to use her voyage as a platform to educate others and garner support for sustainable lifestyles that work towards plastic free seas.
A survivor of multiple IVFs, Kirsten is really keen to explore the link between microplastics, synthetic oestrogen and fertility issues in both sexes.
Environmental Science Graduate
Having recently graduated with a degree in environmental science Emily has become more aware of the problems facing our planet today. She is passionate about travelling because it allows her to experience different cultures and see some of the global issues she has learnt about in lectures.
Nita is a sociologist from Latvia. For more than 20 years she has been working in social and marketing research exploring humans’ behavior and motivation. Now professional challenges have shifted in to public administration and working with demographic issues.
Nita believes, that environment directly determines the well-being of human beings and will influence the quality of life of the generations to come. So, it’s very important to acknowledge and understand plastics in the broadest context – at the ocean, in living organisms, human bodies and even our minds! Real action has to be taken – that’s why Nita going to the exxpedition!
Love and harmony with nature and especially Baltic sea – is a part of every Latvians lifestyle, so I will be happy to bring home true stories and knowledge, experience, best practice and solutions to make our planet cleaner, better place! I would be happy to inspire people, manufactures, politicians to make more cautious decisions, habit changes and less plastic usage. Less plastic – more elastic!
Yanika is a data scientist and analyst, with a background in mathematics and a PhD in Synthetic Biology from University College London. She has been living in London for the past 8 years but is originally from the sunny Mediterranean island of Malta, where the sea is a huge part of their identity. As a data analyst, she loves working with data, digging in to find little nuggets of insight which provide us with new information and knowledge. She also knows how important it is to communicate results effectively and work with local groups and stakeholders to make sure the message is heard.
A lifelong sailor and marine biologist dedicated to the conservation of our ocean, Rikki has worked extensively in the Caribbean, South Pacific and West coast of the United States on a variety of science and policy issues. Growing up on the water, and an avid diver since 14 years old, Rikki has watched with concern the changes occurring in our ocean. Consequently, after 20 years as a scientist, Rikki has been working to educate policy makers, managers and the public about threats to and solutions for our ocean crisis. Rikki has crossed the Mediterranean and Caribbean sea several times sailing, worked with Fijian fisherwomen acoustically tagging reef fish, crewed on a commercial Alaskan fishing boat, helped establish the Easter Island marine reserve, and spent countless days on, in and under the ocean. She is excited to bring her knowledge of science communications and outreach to this amazing project.
United States of America
Kimberly has worked as an archaeologist across the geographically and culturally diverse state that is California, for several years in British Columbia, as well as field seasons in Stymfalia and Mytilene in Greece. In the last few years, Kimberly’s archaeological interests have started to merge with her more personal activism focusing on climate change. In part, this is because Kimberly is a mother of two genuinely nice humans, Sunday, a dancer, and Inigo, a high school athlete, and she feels a responsibility towards ensuring her children’s future. Kimberly is married to another archaeologist, Scott Baxter, so dinner conversations often revolve around history, field stories, artifacts, people’s behaviors, and dirt!
Winnie is a marine biologist with a PhD in plastic pollution. She completed her doctoral studies at the Scottish Association for Marine Science where she researched the prevalence and historic
occurrence of microplastic pollution in the deep sea ecosystem. Her expert knowledge in this area has led her to attend meetings at UK and European parliament. Winnie is also passionate about
communicating science to the public and supporting women in science.
She joined the eXXpedition team in 2019 as Lead Scientist for the Round the World mission. Winnie is based at the University of Plymouth, and is responsible for the design and delivery of the science program, which aims to address fundamental knowledge gaps in our understanding of marine plastics.
Winnie will be Mission Leader for Round the World voyages: Azores to Antiqua; Panama to Galapagos; Galapagos to Easter Island and; Perth to Mauritius.
Director and Co-Founder
As co-founder of eXXpedition EMILY has seen first hand how much plastic ends up in our ocean. She has spent the last decade exploring the high seas from the tropics to the Arctic – enabling scientists, filmmakers and interested individuals to gain access to the most remote parts of our planet.
She has organised the largest ever community-led waste cleanup from a tiny Tongan island, trawled for micro-plastics 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.
Emily splits her time between running eXXpedition and developing upstream solutions to the ocean plastic issue with corporate partners, scientists and government bodies. An experienced public speaker, Emily gives talks around the world at conferences, universities and global companies about her adventures and issues relating to our oceans, human mindset and future society.
You can find more information on Emily’s projects at www.emilypenn.co.uk.