Make a Difference

Take action! Find out how you can help protect seahorses and conserve costal ecosystems around the world >>

Staff Spotlight

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Our Team

The team is composed of about 30 professional team members (plus village staff) working in Canada, Philippines, Portugal, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, and U.S.A. Project Seahorse has also managed projects in Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Vietnam, and maintains strong collaborations with colleagues in many more countries. 

Director, Co-founder

Amanda Vincent has a PhD in marine biology from the University of Cambridge and was Darwin Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford from 1994 to 1996. She is considered the leading authority on seahorse biology and conservation, and in 2000 was named a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation. She also serves as lead scientific advisor and chair of the seahorse working group for CITES. Publications

Field Conservation Manager & Co-Founder

Dr. Koldewey is the Section Head for Global Programmes at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). She holds a BSc from the University of Plymouth and a PhD (Genetics) from the University of Wales, Swansea. Heather was previously the Senior Curator for Aquarium Projects at ZSL. Publications

Chai Apale
iSeahorse Project Coordinator – Philippines

Chai is interested in coastal resource management, especially in the establishment and enforcement of marine protected areas. She received her BSc in Marine Biology from Mindanao Statue University – Iligan Institute of Technology where she studied the community structure of coral reef fishes. Chai has experience in handling the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of a local tourism-related company and was a Coastal Resource Management Trainer for the United States Peace Corps-Philippines. She continues to volunteer with local NGOs to promote marine conservation initiatives in the Philippines.

Lindsay Aylesworth
PhD student

Lindsay is the lead field investigator for Project Seahorse's work supporting the Thailand Department of Fisheries to implement CITES recommendations. Lindsay’s research interests include detection rates, occupancy modeling, and geospatial analysis, specifically to address seahorse conservation, threats and management. As a Fulbright Scholar, she brings over 7 years of marine biology research and international experience to Project Seahorse. Prior to joining the team, she worked in Brazil to identify microhabitat preferences of the longsnout seahorse. Lindsay holds a Master’s in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University where she studied bycatch in Pacific Island fisheries and a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University where she explored illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing of the Patagonian toothfish.

Regina Bestbier
Research Biologist

Gina joined Project Seahorse in 2007, after many years of working on watershed management issues with a neighbouring research group: UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Gina completed a MSc degree in Conservation and Environmental Biology at the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). At Project Seahorse she applies her knowledge of design tools, multimedia applications, web-authoring applications, and GIS to the marine realm

Miguel Correia
PhD student

Miguel is based at the Universidade do Algarve (CCMAR), Portugal and is investigating the variation in seahorse populations (H. guttulatus and H. hippocampus) at various scales (time and space) throughout the Ria Formosa lagoon, Faro, Portugal. He will also test several artificial strutures and their potential for seahorse settlement/colonization. He recently completed a Masters in Biology and Management of Marine Resources at Universidade de Lisboa, and he has experience in maintaining seahorses in captivity, at Ramalhete Field Station (CCMAR).  Publications

Janelle Curtis
Honorary Research Associate

Janelle is a Project Seahorse graduate who received her PhD from McGill University for her study of the life history, ecology and conservation of the long-snouted seahorse (H. guttulatus) and the short-snouted seahorse (H. hippocampus) in Europe. As an NSERC postdoctoral fellow (Centre for Applied Conservation Research, University of British Columbia), she collaborated on a Parks Canada project to develop and evaluate quantitative tools for assessing critical habitat for species at risk in Canada. Janelle is now a Research Scientist position at the Pacific Biological Station with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and anticipates developing collaborative research with Project Seahorse and other members of the Fisheries Centre to address aquatic conservation issues in the Pacific region. Publications

Scott Finestone
Operations Manager

Scott comes to us from the Vancouver Aquarium. He took a degree in Business Administration then worked for many years as a tour guide leading camping tours around North and Central America. He moved to the Vancouver Aquarium in 2009 to lead its AquaVan work. This community outreach education program brings a 32’ truck full of live marine animals, teaching tools and conservation messages to schools and communities all over Western Canada. Nearly a year ago, he was head-hunted (as a result of his fund raising work with AquaVan) for the Development Office at the Aquarium, where he looked after the grant application process, with lots of database experience.

Sarah Foster
Research Associate

Sarah's research and conservation work spans the areas of trade and bycatch - specifically the listing of marine species on the international trade convention CITES, and the issue of small fish species in bycatch. Sarah recently obtained her PhD from UBC. Her thesis examined bycatch in tropical shrimp fisheries, which are believed to be a major cause of population decline in many species, including seahorses. She has a BSc and an MSc in marine biology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. Publications

Kyle Gillespie
MSc student

Kyle studies coral reef invertebrates and small, community managed marine protected areas in the Philippines. He is interested in how invertebrate communities respond to fishing as well as their roles in larger ecosystem processes. Kyle completed his BSc at the University of Guelph and has worked as an ecologist with Parks Canada studying eelgrass communities, songbirds, forest systems, bivalves and ungulates, and with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on arctic salmon and Pacific marine species vulnerability projects. He has worked globally, in Indonesia and with the Government of Grenada on marine protected area management and ecosystem monitoring projects as well as at the NGO level, working with marine resource users.

Danika Kleiber
PhD Candidate

Danika is fascinated by the intersection of gender, small-scale fisheries and marine conservation. She's pursuing her PhD research on small-scale fisheries in the Central Philippines, and specifically examining how the inclusion of women's fishing changes the quantification and characterization of small-scale fishers and their catch. Danika received her BSc from Tufts University, where she undertook a double major in biology and women’s studies, and later received a MSc on song sparrow breeding biology from the UBC Department of Forestry. Most recently she has collaborated with the Palau International Coral Reef Center to develop a socio-economic monitoring program for the Micronesia Challenge. Publications

Ting-Chun Kuo
PhD student

Ting-Chun received her BSc in Life Science and MSc in Oceanography from National Taiwan University. During her Masters, she studied the influence of overfishing and climate change on fishes' spatial distribution shift. She also spent 3 months at Scripps institute of Oceanography, working on non-linear system dynamics. Ting-Chun joined Project Seahorse to investigate the trade of seahorses and other marine species, and the impact of international trade agreements on trade and marine species conservation.

Julia Lawson
MSc student

Julia is interested in the biology of coral reef fishes – in particular the reproductive patterns, life histories and recruitment processes of these fish. Julia is pursuing her MSc on life history patterns of seahorses in peninsular Malaysia, where she conducted her field research. Julia completed her BSc at Dalhousie University where she was also a student in the Science Co-op Program; through this program she spent two semesters conducting her honours research in coral reef reproduction and recruitment. Before joining Project Seahorse, Julia collaborated on a variety of projects, from studying deep-sea sponges in Canada’s Northwest Atlantic to studying the lionfish invasion in the Bahamas.

Tse-Lynn Loh
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Tse-Lynn is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, working closely in collaboration with Project Seahorse on the conservation of seahorse populations in Southeast Asia. She recently completed her PhD at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, studying the cascading effects of overfishing on coral reef communities within the Caribbean region. With Project Seahorse, Tse-Lynn plans to conduct a series of rapid assessments in Southeast Asia to identify the distributions of seahorse species there and estimate their population levels. She will also be training and setting up local monitoring networks with in-country partners to provide long-term data for seahorse population trends.

Sara Lourie
Research Associate

Sara Lourie has been involved with Project Seahorse since 1996. She has written an identification guide to the seahorses of the world based on original taxonomic research and has described several new species of seahorses, including four of the world's smallest. Her PhD focused on genetic connections among seahorses in SE Asia, and the application of biogeography to marine conservation. Post-PhD she has worked on developing a set of Marine Ecoregions of the World in collaboration with scientists from the The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and others, and is also a contributing author to a textbook on conservation biogeography. She is currently a research associate and lecturer at the Redpath Museum at McGill University.  Publications

Clayton Manning
MSc student

Clayton will be studying seahorse abundances and how they relate to trophic interactions within coral reef communities in Southeast Asia. He completed his BSc in Environmental Scienceat the University of Calgary. While at UoC Clayton looked at how plant chemical defences impact mountain pine beetle reproduction, and he also that examined the relative influences of pH and solar radiation on pathogen concentrations in river environments.

Sian Morgan
Honorary Research Associate

Sian completed her PhD thesis with Project Seahorse on movement and dispersal of exploited populations of the seahorse Hippocampus comes and graduated from McGill University, Quebec. She holds a BSc(Hons) in ecology and environmental biology from the University of British Columbia.  Sian is currently Director of Science at Fishwise in California. Publications

Nishan Perera
PhD Candidate

Nishan is doing his PhD with the University of Kalmar, Sweden with Heather Koldewey as one of his co-supervisors. Nishan is working on the sustainability of seahorses in the aquarium trade and will be primarily working in Sri Lanka. Prior to this Nishan was the Senior Marine and Coastal Programme Manager with IUCN in Sri Lanka.

Jenny Selgrath
PhD Candidate

Jenny is interested in the relationship between habitat quality and fisheries, using the Central Philippines as an example. Jenny previously studied marine protected areas at the Friday Harbor Laboratories in Washington and worked on fishing policy at The Ocean Conservancy. Jenny holds an MSc from San Diego State University, California, and two BA degrees (in Environmental Science and Dance) from Wesleyan University, Connecticut. Publications

Riley Pollom
Research Biologist

Hailing from the prairie badlands of Drumheller, Alberta, Riley brings a wealth of biological field experience with him to Project Seahorse.  His undergraduate degrees in ecology and geography from the University of Calgary were complemented by field studies in Mediterranean Europe, the west coast of Vancouver Island and in Kenya.  His work since then has taken him around Canada, focusing on such far-flung taxa as leopard frogs, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, rattlesnakes and cougars.  In 2011 he began an MSc project at Memorial University of Newfoundland studying seasonal population dynamics in freshwater fish through the use of hydroacoustics.  Based out of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, he also took part in several multi-species research surveys off of Newfoundland's Grand Banks, one of which included a trans-Atlantic crossing.  Riley has worked extensively with government bodies, academia, industry and NGOs to further conservation efforts.

Tyler Stiem
Communications Manager

Tyler has a wealth of experience in communicating social/environmental issues. He has worked in media and non-profit sectors, working as a communications manager for NGOs in Canada, Africa, and Europe while also reporting on topics as diverse as climate change, ecotourism, and HIV/AIDS for the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, and CBC Radio.

Allison Stocks
Masters Student

Allison is studying the seahorse populations of Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, to determine their vulnerability to target and non-target fisheries. Allison holds a BSc in Environmental Science, Honours from UBC. Her undergraduate thesis investigated the migration time of juvenile sockeye salmon. Allison has worked in both governmental and NGO roles, most recently as an Environmental Educator in South Africa, interacting at the community level to promote sustainability and conservation.

Tanvi Vaidyanathan
PhD student

Tanvi is interested in marine conservation and coastal resource management, with a focus on Marine Protected Areas. She has a Bachelors in Zoology and a Masters in Marine Sciences and in Marine Affairs. Her work has included understanding the impacts of climate change on marine resources, integrated coastal zone management in India (her home country), and understanding and managing shared ecosystems. At Project Seahorse, she will be studying the impacts of conserving the shallow seas in the Gulf of Mannar, and identifying solutions to the challenges faced in the shallow areas would help the region as a whole.

Lucy Woodall
Research Associate

Lucy is a conservation geneticist, and is interested in using the analysis of DNA to answer ecological questions. She completed a PhD entitled ‘Population genetics and mating systems of European Seahorses, Hippocampus guttulatus and Hippocampus hippocampus’ from Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research involved diving in over 30 locations across Europe and as well as studies at Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Lucy continues work with European Seahorses and in marine conservation. Publications

Mai Yasue
Research Associate

Mai is investigating both the conservation and development issues that surround the fisheries and ecotourism of Viscaino Biosphere Reserve in Baja California. Maï joined the Project Seahorse team following the completion of her PhD studies at the University of Victoria (British Columbia), where she studied the impacts of tourism on shorebird nesting in marine protected areas in Thailand. Her most recent research involves examining changes in coral reef fish and seahorse abundance in around MPAs as well as the economic importance of seahorses to local fishers. Publications

Xiong Zhang
PhD student

Xiong received his Bachelor of Engineering form Chongqing University, China (his home country) in June 2010, where he studied Environmental Science. He then began his graduate studies at the Key Laboratory of Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, where he has studied endemic fish conservation. During that time he participated in fishery resource monitoring and fish habitat evaluation in the Upper Yangtze River. His major research interests at Project Seahorse are quantifying the interactions between seahorses and their habitats, to evaluate and predict the impact of habitat destruction/loss on seahorse species, and to identify their critical habitats.