Sea Watch Staff
Director – Dr Peter Evans established Sea Watch Foundation in 1991 and is the Charity’s Director. He has worked on cetacean research for 40 years and oversees the UK national cetacean monitoring scheme. He was founding Secretary, and later Chairman of the European Cetacean Society, as well as Editor for 21 years. He is a Director of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust, a Trustee of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, a member of the ICES Working Groups on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME) and on Bycatch of Protected Species (WGBYC), Co-Chair the ASCOBANS-ACCOBAMS Bycatch Working Group, and Chairs the ASCOBANS Harbour Porpoise North Sea Conservation Plan. He has provided advice to UNEP, OSPAR, the European Commission, UK government and various NGO’s on cetacean matters. In 2009, he received an award for achievement in conservation education & outreach from UNEP/ASCOBANS, and in 2012 the European Cetacean Society’s Conservation Award. Peter’s field research concentrates upon ecological, behavioural and conservation biology studies of cetaceans in the UK, particularly harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and minke whales. He also studies the effects of human disturbance upon cetaceans. He has worked extensively on seabirds in Britain, Ireland and the Arctic and was former Secretary of the Seabird Group and editor of its journal, ‘Seabird’. He has written and/or edited 12 books and >200 scientific publications and is Honorary Senior Lecturer at the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Bangor.
Sightings Officer – Claudia Afeltra first started working with the Sea Watch Foundation in 2019 as the Research Assistant and Intern Co-ordinator. She returned for a second season in 2021 after spending lockdown 2020 in New Quay carrying out voluntary work for the Sea Watch Foundation, including leading line transect surveys in North Wales. During this time she worked on a photo-identification project in association with and funded by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species. Claudia has extensive experience working with non governmental organisations and project management, having run a mangrove project in Belize for Frontier.
Monitoring Officer – Katrin Lohrengel started work as Sea Watch’s Monitoring Officer in April 2015. She has been working with the Sea Watch Foundation since 2011; first as a Research Assistant on the Cardigan Bay Monitoring project during 2011 and then as a Regional Coordinator for North-west England. Katrin was appointed as our Wales Development Officer in September 2013 and worked on the Welsh Sea Watchers project until taking over as Monitoring Officer. Katrin has further experience working with cetaceans at the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program in Florida and participation in an IFAW survey for harbour porpoises in the North Sea, as well as acoustic studies in West Wales and conducting photo-ID and line transects (also for Sea Watch) in North-west England and Wales.
Communication & Outreach Officer – Katie Baker joined Sea Watch Foundation in April 2022. As our Communication & Outreach Officer, Katie will be ensuring regular updates and news releases of our work, organising events and outreach programs to raise awareness about Sea Watch and the importance of marine conservation. She studied Biology at Oxford Brookes University where she focused on conservation biology and zoology. Katie has extensive experience with several organisations including the West Cumbria Rivers Trust where she assisted with habitat restoration, electrofishing surveys and education programs. Katie gained skills in marine mammal research through her internship with the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute in Spain where she carried out boat and land-based surveys, photo-identification and database input.
Adopt a Dolphin Administrator – Kirsten Hintner works with Sea Watch Foundation as the ‘Adopt a Dolphin’ administrator and is involved in film making and producing. She is based in Buckinghamshire and trained at the London College of Communication. She gained wildlife filming experience at the BBC’s Natural History Unit before starting work at the Open University, producing course material for distance teaching. Kirsten has experience in all aspects of filmmaking, including operating cameras, recording and editing audio, vision mixing, voice-over and many other techniques. She became a freelance worker in 2000 with her own company, ‘Worldimg’, and has since worked for a variety of organisations, including the United Nations, BBC, NIACE, the Open University, the Community Channel and many charity organizations, including Fauna & Flora International, National Phobics Society, Barnardos and Sea Watch Foundation. Kirsten produces short films, documentaries & video journalism pieces for internet use, and other media for marketing, education, broadcast and fundraising purposes. She has been involved in community film-making projects and has worked with children, people with disabilities and isolated communities. www.kirstenhintner.co.uk
Research Assistant and Intern Coordinator – Rebecca Valani works with Sea Watch Foundation as our Research Assistant and Intern Coordinator for the 2022 season. Rebecca studied her BSc at Copenhagen University before completing her Masters in Marine Biology in the Mediterranean at Haifa University. She has volunteered for Humpbacks and High-Rises, where she worked on habitat protection for mother-calf pairs of humpback whales in Queensland, Australia. Further, she was recently an intern at DTU Aqua in Denmark, where she worked on the reduction of cetacean by-catch via acoustically visible gill-nets. Her main interests are conservation and behavioural ecology, particularly to benefit wildlife when in-cooperated in ocean policies.
Education and Outreach Assistant – Katherine McGregor previously worked with Sea Watch Foundation in 2019 as an intern. This year, she will be joining the team as our Education and Outreach Assistant. Katherine studied Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology at the University of Plymouth. Katherine has extensive work experience with the Marine Biological Association where she has also secured her Rocky Shore Training. Katherine is also an ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyor. Katherine can’t wait to use the all the skills she has gained from her experience in her education and outreach role with Sea Watch.
Dr Pia Anderwald comes from Switzerland, and was Sea Watch Foundation’s data analyst until 2011. After a Masters thesis from the University of Zurich on niche differentiation of cetaceans in the North Atlantic, using Sea Watch sightings database, she completed a PhD at the University of Durham on the foraging ecology and population genetics of minke whales. Pia has extensive field experience with a number of cetacean species, including minke whales, bottlenose and Risso’s dolphins, harbour porpoises, and in conducting behavioural studies, photo-identification and line transect surveys. Pia is currently employed as research analyst for the Swiss National Park but remains a consultant for Sea Watch, also managing the Sea Watch Risso’s dolphin photo-ID catalogue.
Mick Baines was Sea Watch Foundation’s Database Manager from 2002 to 2011. He also worked on the database’s structure refinement, error checking and extraction procedures. Mick has been researching and monitoring marine mammals in Wales for over a decade, during which time he functioned as Sea Watch’s Welsh co-ordinator, collating sightings records and producing the Welsh newsletter. In addition to his work on the bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises found around the UK, Mick has carried out surveys of the grey seal population in Wales and breeding seabirds following the Sea Empress oil spill. Mick now works as a consultant for Sea Watch in between spells at sea around the world, working professionally as a Marine Mammal Observer.
Dr James Waggitt is a lecturer in Marine Biology at the School Of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University. After completing a BSc and MRes at Plymouth University in 2009 and 2010, respectively, James completed a PhD at the University Of Aberdeen in 2015. His research focuses on cetaceans and seabirds, in particular the environmental and behavioural processes influencing their distribution in time and space. This ranges over numerous scales – including an understanding of animals’ movements and behaviours in coastal environments, to the production of species distribution maps across the North-East Atlantic. James has experience in observational surveys, statistical modelling and multi-disciplinary science.
Simone Fick was the Research Assistant on the Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project for The Sea Watch Foundation in 2018, after which she took on the role of Data Manager. She studied in South Africa, which is where she worked as a Veterinary Assistant, volunteered at the Two Ocean Aquarium and was a field assistant on The Wild Coast Project, working with cetaceans, collecting tissue samples and doing photo ID. Over the years she’s also worked with the Namibian Dolphin Project; in Madagascar as a Marine Mammal Observer and Passive Acoustic Monitor on survey vessels; and three years as a Wildlife Field Guide in Wales; sailed with BOAZ for its maiden voyage for Plastic Pollution awareness and been a delegate for them at the African Marine Waste Conference in 2017; while freelancing as a Data Analyst for various companies for the last 8 years.
Lauren Fidler has been a Sea Watch volunteer since 2017 first coordinating our National Whale and Dolphin Watch, then as our Education and Outreach Officer, before undertaking fundraising work on our behalf. Since graduating Lauren has continued to support us whilst working at the Marine Biological Association as a data officer within their Data Archive Center.
Sea Watch Ambassadors
Robin Petch is our Yorkshire Regional Co-ordinator and has been involved with cetacean study and protection for over 25 years. Having resigned from his paid employment as a primary school headteacher, Robin is now a self-employed naturalist, small boat captain, and public speaker. When he is not working directly for Sea Watch he is usually either taking people on wildlife and whale watching boat trips from Whitby or giving lectures and leading deck watches on cruise ships around the world. He is passionate about cetaceans and marine conservation and his leisure time is generally spent on something related! You can learn more about Robin’s activities, or book him for a talk, on his website: www.thewhaleanddolphinman.co.uk. Robin has become Sea Watch’s first Ambassador and serves on its editorial committee.
Sea Watch Trustees
Kelly-Marie Davidson is the Senior Communications Officer at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (www.pml.ac.uk), an independent marine research organisation and Delivery Partner of the Natural Environment Research Council. Previous employment includes a project manager at a TV production company, marketing at a regional newspaper and a junior designer at a leading graphic design agency. In 2015 KM obtained her MSc in Science Communication with Merit from the University of the West of England, focusing on science writing, stakeholder engagement best-practice and the changes in newsroom practices by science journalists since the growth of social media. As well as corporate work at PML, KM has led or been involved in publicity and knowledge exchange activities for a number of national and international marine science research programmes, such as the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (http://www.oceanacidification.org.uk/), Marine Ecosystems Research Programme (http://www.marine-ecosystems.org.uk/), European Project on Ocean Acidification (http://www.epoca-project.eu/), ShellEye (http://www.shelleye.org/) and the Global Challenges Research Fund Blue Communities programme (http://www.blue-communities.org).
Prof. Graham Pierce works at Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, a Spanish government marine research institute in Vigo, Spain, where he is currently head of the Department of Ecology and Marine Resources. He was previously based at the University of Aberdeen for 35 years, latterly as a Professor at the University´s Oceanlab. His research is mainly in marine biology and ecology, and he has published over 260 scientific papers on topics including squid abundance, PCB bioaccumulation in marine animals, abundance of nematode parasites in marine fish and fishers´ perceptions of conservation measures. He has worked on marine mammal diet, life history, habitat use and conservation for over 30 years, including long-standing collaborations with the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme and the Spanish NGO CEMMA, who monitor strandings in Galicia. He is a member and former co-chair of the ICES Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology, a former council member of the European Cetacean Society, a member of the International Whaling Commission´s Scientific Committee and has also contributed to the work of ASCOBANS.
Hannah Parkinson spent most of her working life explaining pensions and other benefits to her employees, former employees and pensioners. She has always been interested in wildlife, particularly whales, dolphins and porpoises hoping to spot them wherever she goes. She joined us for our annual Cetacean Survey Training Course in 2016 and has since returned to New Quay in 2017 and 2019 to help out at Sea Watch. She also travelled up to John O’Groats for Orca Watch in 2019 and has since taken the role of Orca Watch Project Manager. She has also helped to edit and layout our Sea Watcher magazine and the monthly bulletins over the last year. Hannah looks forward to helping to further support Sea Watch as a Trustee.
George Boyer currently lives on Ynys Mon (Isle of Anglesey) where he enjoys spotting wildlife, particularly cetaceans. He worked for many years as an Internal Training Consultant within the Civil Service developing and delivering Management, Leadership and Personal Skills Training and specialising in Change Management. In 2005, George left the Civil Service and set up a Training Consultancy and served as a Non-Executive Board Director for an NHS Trust in England. Since moving to Ynys Mon in 2013, George has become more involved with marine organisations, including Sea Watch, for whom he and his wife have undertaken many landwatches and submitted sightings. George enjoys recording and photographing cetaceans and looks forward to continuing this with Sea Watch as a Trustee.
Jim Boran retired in 2021 after working for 22 years on the Researcher Development of postgraduate researchers (MPhil/PhD), postdoctoral research assistants and academics in the Faculty of Science & Engineering at the University of Manchester. This was preceded by 23 years of research in the orca in the Salish Sea (1976-1983), pilot whales in the Canary Islands (1989-1994) and Programme Coordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation (1994-1999) maintaining the National Cetacean Sightings Database. Jim hopes to return to whale research to explore how cetaceans can drive scientific understanding of complex ecosystems undergoing radical change due to climate change. He intends to do this through supporting researchers studying whales worldwide and to promote the research findings to the wider scientific community. LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-boran-160aa84/). ResearchGate (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/James-Boran)
Prof. John Turner is Head of the School of Ocean Sciences, and Dean of Postgraduate Research at Bangor University. John has a degree in Botany and Zoology from the University of Bristol a doctorate in marine symbiosis from University of Oxford (St John’s College). He moved to a NERC funded postdoctoral position at Bangor University in 1985 to investigate fish behaviour and ecology before taking up lectureship in School of Ocean Sciences in Marine Biology. John developed and led the international MSc in Marine Environmental Protection for 22 years, and has over 30 years of experience in a wide range of projects involving coastal habitat survey, Marine Protected Areas, Environmental Impact Assessment), and Integrated Coastal Zone in a wide range of countries and contexts. He held a visiting lectureship at the University of Mauritius in the 1990s. His research has focused on coral reefs of the UK Overseas Territories but not exclusively, and research strategy is driven by the need to protect marine environments largely through the establishment and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas, or use of tools such as Environmental Impact Assessment and Coastal Zone Management, often to comply with the major conventions (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity CBD, Convention on Migratory Species CMS, Convention on Trade in Endangered Species CITES, RAMSAR Convention on wetlands, and EU Habitats Directive). Research is developed in partnership (e.g. British Indian Ocean Territory Government Section of Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Cayman Islands Government; Seychelles Island Foundation; The Nature Conservancy, USA) and through liaison with stakeholder organisations (e.g. UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum, BIOT Scientific Advisory Panel, Chagos Conservation Trust, Sea Watch Foundation, UNESCO, UNDP-GEF)) and implemented through practical research involving scientific diving operations, training, stakeholder consultations and outreach initiatives, often including placement of Project Support Officers to build capacity within organisations. Recent major funding for his research comes from DEFRA, Darwin Initiative, and Bertarelli Foundation.
Colin Speedie Colin Speedie is a partner at Wave Action (www.wave-action.com) an environmental and yacht construction consultancy. Wave Action also manage the WiSe Scheme (www.wisescheme.org), Britain’s marine ecotourism training and accreditation project, a product of Colin’s many years at sea working as a yacht skipper and researcher leading cetacean and basking shark projects around the UK. Colin has been proud to be part of the Sea Watch family since its inception, as a co-ordinator in south-west England, latterly as a trustee. He lives for part or each year in Cornwall and the other part aboard an aluminium yacht somewhere in the North Atlantic with his wife Louise.
Craig Miller is an IT consultant specialising in website development and infrastructure. He joined the Sea Watch Foundation after becoming involved with the Adopt a Dolphin website and helps the charity with any IT challenges that they might face.