Crew aboard SY Independence

MANUEL Marinelli

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Manuel Marinelli is Marine Biologist, Diving Instructor, Sailor and Environmentalist. He has spent the last years of his life sailing around the world for major Environmental Organisations and during this time came across a lot of passionate people eager to make this planet and particularly our oceans a better place for future generations. That was the Birth hour of the idea to create a platform for other NGOs to operate from and he founded "Project Manaia" to give Organisations, great minds, students, Universities and other people with great ideas a platform to operate from.
Even though he was born in Austria he always had a passion for the oceans and it was the driving force in his entire life, making sailing, diving and the creatures of the sea the air he is breathing.
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PINAR Marinelli

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Pinar has been working with Ngo`s since she studied Archeology at University. She spent most her life helping out Ngo`s as volunteer and it became what she wants to do rest of her life. In the end, this is how she got in contact with Project Manaia.
She has been on board our boats since 2016 and making sure of the good mood on board.
As Archeologist by study and sailor by heart she is also the one cooking up a storm in the galley and feeding the crew (And happily welcoming helping hands) as well as first mate on board.
Depending on the running projects she is helping out, flying the drone, driving the ROV and diving herself.
She is also the person who is mostly dealing with social media accounts and being a part of Youtube videos of Project Manaia with Manuel.
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Operation 3 Seas Crew aboard SY Independence

Jack Clarkson

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Name: Jack Clarkson
Role in Operation 3Seas: Project Coordinator
Age: 23
Education: University of Nottingham
Years in Aquatic Mammal Research: 3.5 years
Specialism: Behavioural Ecology
Bio: After graduating in Environmental Sciences (BSc Hons), I have developed a key interest in aquatic mammals through both my academic and professional experiences. After beginning my experiences with aquatic mammals on the Otterly Amazing project with the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, aimed at investigating the localities and distribution of otters in Sheffield, I turned my attentions to marine life. As researcher at the Marine Mammals Research Association, over the last 9 months I have studied the behavioural ecology of cetaceans and how anthropogenic pressures may influence biological decisions, which has built the basis for my current work – investigating the impact of tourism vessels on the behaviour of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Montenegrin waters.
Holding a key interest in innovative solutions to marine mammal monitoring, I presented a short presentation on the use of social media as a preliminary platform for increasing photographic data contributing to the identification of cetaceans in Montenegro at the IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for
the Sea, Bari, Italy. The presentation documented my findings on aiding data collection for NGO’s on very limited budgets, working in regions where Citizen Science contributions are extremely scarce.
The Operation 3Seas expedition itself between DMAD and Project Manaia, will be the first project which I have had the pleasure of coordinating. In the hope we can explore more about our world’s seas and oceans, we hope that this project will help provide one of the bases for better protection of eastern Europe’s marine ecosystems.
Favourite Marine Mammal: Southern Right Whale Dolphin; it basically looks like the James Bond of the cetacean world!
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Lucy Abbiss

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Name: Lucy Abbiss
Role in Operation 3Seas: Project Coordinator Age: 25
Education: University of Plymouth
Years in Marine Mammal Research: 6 years
Bio: After always being passionate about our oceans and marine life, I decided to study Marine Biology (BSc Hons) at Plymouth University where I developed my skills as a researcher and my passion for marine conservation grew. After graduating university, I dedicated my time to working on gaining additional qualifications I felt would benefit my career, such as becoming a BSAC Ocean Diver and a BDMLR Marine Mammal Medic. Since joining Marine Mammals Research Association as a researcher 11 months ago, my research has primarily focussed on photo-identification of bottlenose dolphins and more specifically, using new methods to identify the movement patterns of individual dolphins sighted in Montenegrin waters. Operation 3Seas will be the first expedition I have coordinated and I am very excited to see the data our amazing team will collect!
Favourite Marine Mammal: Dall’s porpoise – despite looking like a very overweight Orca, a Dall’s porpoise is an impressively fast swimmer!
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Tim Awbery

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Name: Tim Awbery
Role in Operation 3Seas: Project Coordinator Age: 27
Education: University of Exeter
Years in Conservation and Mapping: 8 years Specialism: Distribution of cetacean species Bio:
With a background in Conservation Biology and Ecology, I completed an MSc in Survey and Environmental Management. I then worked as a Geomatics Surveyor before returning to the field of Ecology and Conservation, to combine the two fields. My first experience within Marine Conservation was in 2012, when I volunteered with the Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT).
Through this work, I was involved in tagging flippers, night walks in order to assess and measure any potential nesting females and hatchling release – an educational public event where a number of members of the public can release hatchling turtles under the supervision of the volunteers, on the beach, shortly after dark. Following this, I spent time on another project in the Maldives, working on turtle rehabilitation and coral reef regeneration. This enabled me to work with Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles.
Over the last 8 months I have been a Research Associate at the Marine Mammal Research Association (DMAD), combining my experiences to contribute to the research and conservation of dolphins and other marine species in Montenegrin waters and the wider Adriatic. The basis of my research here has involved the spatial distribution and encounter rates of cetaceans in Montenegro. In November, I represented DMAD at the 12th Meeting of the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS (the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and
contiguous Atlantic area), chaired by Simone Panigada. This four day event saw the meeting of organisations and experts from around the ACCOBAMS region who come together to present ongoing and completed projects and make recommendations for the next steps for ACCOBAMS and the countries involved in the agreement. Contributing to two small working groups on bycatch and anthropogenic noise, I was able to share ideas and experiences with experts from around the Mediterranean.
Favourite Marine Mammal: None, I like Grizzly Bears!
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Rocio Prieto Gonzalez

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Name: Rocio Prieto Gonzalez
Role in Operation 3Seas: Team leader
Age: 34
Education: University of St Andrews
Years in Aquatic Mammal Research: 9 years
Bio: I am both an ecological statistician and a marine mammal biologist. My research work is motivated by ecological applications, particularly related to wildlife conservation. I develop and apply statistical methods and the associated software to estimate the size, density and distribution of wild animal populations. I mostly work on a group of related methods called distance sampling. In particular, I focus on estimating the size of whale and dolphin populations. My first degrees are MSc (in mathematics and statistics) from the University of Valladolid, Spain. In 2009, thanks to "La Caixa" funding, I joined the Bioacoustic team at the University of Paris-Sud, where I worked on a cetacean acoustics project. It allowed me to further expand my training, in particular, on density estimation of cetaceans using acoustics. In 2012 I joined the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) for a PhD programme on distance sampling methods development, supervised by Professor Len Thomas and Dr Tiago A Marques and in 2018, I graduated with a PhD from the University of St Andrews, United Kingdom. I was lucky enough of conducting field work in Guadeloupe, France. I participated in managing the field team and logistics and was in charge of the acoustic data collection during three years. I was also involved as acoustic supervisor on the Project AGOA, "Sur la route des baleines" and on a Tag's and biopsies campaign. Moreover, I initiated ongoing involvement with OMMAG (Marine Mammal Observatory of Guadeloupe archipelago); and "Mon Ecole, ma Baleine", an association which motivates children to protect cetaceans through activities and games. I believe it is our responsibility as researches to communicate with the public, and the first step to serve conservation is through education and awareness. My last involvement was with Alaska whale foundation. I spent two months in Warm Spring Bay (remote and amazing environment) working on three main humpback whales projects in Southeast Alaska.
In the Operation 3Seas, we will reach regions where little is known about eastern Europe’s marine ecosystems, and the goal of the expedition is to provide a better understanding of the cetacean populations of the Eastern Mediterranean with a conservation purpose.
Favourite Marine Mammal: Impossible to choose only one! I love them all (I'm a small person with a big heart)
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Boulder Island Team 2018/19


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Robert Sarginson - 22, Newcastle University Graduate In Marine Biology. Conducting Marine and Terrestrial research on Bolder Island
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Hello, my name is Charles Rhodes and I am 21 years old. I studied at Newcastle University and I have a Bsc honours degree in Marine Biology. I am currently conducting marine and terrestrial research at Boulder Island, Myanmar.
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Matija is a passionate ocean lover and diver that has Master's degree in Resource Management - Coastal and Marine Management from University Center of the Westfjords, Ísafjörður, Iceland. Matija is every summer managing Operation Wallacea expedition in Croatia, which includes coordinating, teaching, supervising and conducting 2 months marine research and education expedition with students and scientists from all over the world. His goal is to further understand management techniques through ecosystem approach and biodiversity monitoring and to learn how to manage natural environments and their resources in a sustainable way.
On Boulder island, Matija was alongside Isabelle working on marine species identification, creation of Marine ID guides, creation of snorkel trails and cleaning the beaches and the sea, especially from the ghost fishing nets.
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Isabelle has a Master’s of Science in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health from the University of Edinburgh in the UK. On Boulder Island, she worked in improving the visitors’ awareness about plastic pollution and marine life species as well as clearing the sea from ghost nets. She has a project manager background working for top-companies. Currently she works in sales for a marine and terrestrial science expeditions’ organization. She hopes she contributes to the efforts made worldwide for improving the health of our ecosystems.
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Boulder Island Team 2017/18


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Thor graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University Rhode Island. During his studies there he participated in a semester at the BIOS station in Bermuda where he began working with coral. He has years of experience growing corals for the aquarium trade as well as for graduate research. In 2015 he conducted coral disease research in the Red Sea at KAUST, Saudi Arabia. Thor was on Boulder Island in 2017, where he was surveying the reef and planning coral restoration efforts.Even though he was born in Austria he always had a passion for the oceans and it was the driving force in his entire life, making sailing, diving and the creatures of the sea the air he is breathing.
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Annika has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's degree in Marine Ecosystem- and Fisheries Sciences from University of Hamburg, Germany. Lately she has worked in Laboratories and on research vessels in Germany, done coral restoration work in Thailand and conducted research on the shrimp fishery of Borneo, Indonesia. In 2017 Annika is working for Project Manaia on Boulder Island where she examined the composition and state of the local coral reefs
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Nicole is a passionate diver, sailor and biologist with a PhD in Marine Ecology. During her career she has mainly focused on coral reef fishes and benthic algae of the Indo-Pacific. Recently, while working at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, she has started studying coral reproduction and early life history. She has become increasingly interested in Coral reef restoration and has joined the reef restoration project on Boulder Island.
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Neus is an Oceanographer with a Master's degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, a writer and an environmentalist. She collaborated with several European programs working with jellyfish and marine pollution before starting work for the Institute of Marine Sciences in Barcelona.
She focused her Master thesis on Marine Ecological Restoration and during the dry season 2017/2018 she led a coral restoration project on Boulder Island. She is currently writing a story book about coral reefs to raise awareness about their global importance and the problems they face today.
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Anna is a Marine Biologist, Scientific Diver and Diving Instructor. She did her Master's degree in Marine Biology at the University of Rostock, Germany. Additionally she took part in an international Project of the GEOMAR in Kiel, conducting research on micro plastics and global warming in five different countries around the world. Besides she assisted as scientific diver on research about open acidification and its effects on cold water corals in the Comau Fjord, Chile. She is mainly interested in the effects of anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems and what we can do against it; trying to make a little change for the conservation of our oceans
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Oshin is a passionate marine conservationist with a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. During her time at the university Oshin has taken part in a coral restoration Project in Marsa and participated in boat surveys, onshore surveys and marine mammal surveys in the U.K. and the North Sea. She is particularly interested in sustainable marine consultancy solutions that minimise damages cause by off shore drilling and overfishing. She is currently working on collecting the data required to make a "No Take" zone around a 2 mile radius around Boulder Island in Myanmar. She hopes that she can contribute in a meaningful way towards the health of the oceans.
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