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R. Aidan Martin
Director

R. Aidan Martin


Aidan is the Program Director of ReefQuest Expeditions and internationally recognized as an expert on the evolutionary biology, functional morphology, life history, and behavioral ecology of elasmobranchs. He has studied sharks and rays for over 25 years, logging some 14,000 hours underwater in 39 countries or island states. Aidan's current research includes predator-prey interactions, body language and social behavior of White Sharks in South Africa, the molecular phylogeny of whaler sharks of the family Carcharhinidae, the population structure and social organization of Bluntnose Sixgill Sharks off British Columbia, and bioluminescence, squamation, and physiological adaptations of deep-sea sharks.

Trained as a marine biologist and ichthyologist, he is a marine naturalist whose interests range far beyond matters sharky. Among other adventures, he has snorkeled with Green Sea Turtles during the day and Manta Rays at night off Hawaii, swum with Sperm Whales and Common Dolphins in the Sea of Cortez, free-dived with Dolphinfish and Greater Amberjack in the Gulf Stream many miles off the coast of North Carolina, dived with Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Wolf Eels, and Giant Pacific Octopus off British Columbia, snorkeled with Galapagos Penguins and California Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands, floated in 6" of water to observe a Dolabella Sea Hare feeding on Turtle Grass at Rarotonga, snorkeled with a Deadly Stonefish at Aitutaki, played hide-and-seek with a Day Octopus and been cleaned by Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse in Fiji, observed a Caribbean Reef Squid laying eggs off Cozumel, dived with Tarpon and dive-bombing Brown Pelicans in the British Virgin Islands, observed Australian Sea Lions and snorkeled with Southern Bluefin Tuna in South Australia.

An acclaimed marine wildlife artist and former stand-up comedian, Aidan seamlessly blends encyclopedic knowledge, quick-sketch artistry, and an off-beat sense of humor into his talks, making him a highly popular public speaker and television personality. Aidan has published over 120 popular and scientific articles and three books, including Shark Smart: the Divers' Guide to Understanding Shark Behaviour. He is an active member of the American Elasmobranch Society, the Physiology Section of the American Fisheries Society, the Eco-Tourism Society, the National Writer's Union, and the National Association of Marine Educators.

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Anne Martin
Public Relations Officer

Anne Martin

Anne is Operations Manager of ReefQuest Expeditions, a field and laboratory biologist, as well as a certified Personal Lifestyle Coach. A zoologist by training, Anne works as a salmon enhancement biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. She is a naturalist of wide-ranging interests, being especially captivated by the small, the easily overlooked, and the widely underappreciated. Among other adventures, she has snorkeled with Green Sea Turtles during the day and Manta Rays at night off Hawaii, swum with Sperm Whales and Common Dolphins in the Sea of Cortez, free-dived with Dolphinfish and Greater Amberjack in the Gulf Stream many miles off the coast of North Carolina, floated in 6" of water to observe a Dolabella Sea Hare feeding on Turtle Grass at Rarotonga, snorkeled with a Deadly Stonefish at Aitutaki, observed tuna predating upon parrotfish, played hide-and-seek with a Day Octopus and been cleaned by Blue-Streak Cleaner Wrasse in Fiji, and observed a Caribbean Reef Squid laying eggs off Cozumel.

Her other interests include reading, travel, graphic design, underwater and topside photography and videography. Orchestrating ReefQuest Marine Projects and husband R. Aidan Martin's public speaking engagements have honed her already exceptional organizational skills. Balancing a sharp mind and aggressive common sense against her warm and generous nature, Anne empathizes readily with others' emotional and situational problems and has a real knack for proposing practical solutions to make things better, qualities that make her much sought-after as a personal coach. She is creator and group leader of ReefQuest's "Marine Biology for Singles" program, which she conducts with grace and good humor, thus making this complex and often challenging job seem far easier than it actually is.

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Neil Hammerschlag
Field Research Coordinator

Neil Hammerschlag

Neil Hammerschlag is a ReefQuest staff biologist and is pursuing his doctorate degree at the University of Miami, Rosensteil School for Marine and Atmospheric Science. He concurrently is a research associate with the PEW Institute for Ocean Science. Neil also directs local shark research and education programs for Floridian marine science students. In 2004, Hammerschlag received a grant from the American Institute for Marine Studies to take a group of hand-selected South Broward Marine Magnet high school students and teachers with ReefQuest to South Africa to learn about White Sharks and participate in hands-on research.

Neil studied Great White Shark-Cape Fur Seal predator-prey interactions for his master's degree in marine biology at Nova Southeastern University. He completed his undergraduate degree in ecology at the University of Toronto, in Canada. Neil has satellite tagged and genetically sampled Whale Sharks in Honduras with the Shark Research Institute, studied parasite loads in leaf tent-making bats in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, studied coral disease in neritic waters off Bermuda, studied sensory modalities and behavior of chimney-building crayfish at the University of Toronto, studied population dynamics of Leopard Sharks and Blue Sharks off central California with Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, has researched Great White Shark feeding ecology in South Africa since 2002, has studied habitat utilization of sharks in the Mozambique channel and has also worked as a volunteer at the Marine Mammal Rescue Center in Santa Cruz, California.

In addition to his skills as a researcher, Neil is a Master Scuba Diver (PADI) and has been a teaching-assistant at Nova Southeastern University and South Broward High School. Neil is a South African native, raised in Canada, who now resides in Miami. He is a member of the American Elasmobranch Society, has a long-standing interest in fine art, and enjoys running, reading, and wildlife photography. He is dedicated to conservation and his goal is to educate the public about the wonders and perils faced by sharks.

Visit Neil4Sharks.com

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Cheryl Black
Education Coordinator

Cheryl Black

Deep care and concern for the ocean, a keen interest in "underdog" animals that no one likes (especially sharks), and a love of teaching others about the natural world has brought Cheryl to ReefQuest as education coordinator.

A "born" biologist, Cheryl worked with venomous snakes in the field and laboratory during her undergraduate college career, and fulfilled a childhood dream when she got her SCUBA certification and became a very active member of the campus SCUBA club. Her Master's research focused on the ecology of freshwater stream insects, and gave her the opportunity to complete several research projects, publish a few journal articles, and present papers at national meetings. She taught middle school life science for several years, developed natural history outreach programs, and worked as an ecologist in the private sector, and taking time to get her advanced underwater SCUBA certification and dive in Florida, the Dry Tortugas, Bermuda, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. In 1998 she joined Aiken (South Carolina) Technical College as the Director of Academic Success and instructor in the Biology department.   She teaches anatomy, general biology, and developed and continues to teach an environmental science class for non-science majors. This summer she is looking forward to presenting an introductory marine biology course to her students.

After years of being an "armchair" amateur shark biologist, keeping up with the scientific and popular literature, Cheryl "took the plunge" in 2004, diving with Caribbean reef sharks in Nassau and joining the ReefQuest research expedition in South Africa. Upon returning, she developed a program on the ecology of the white sharks in False Bay, and has enjoyed presenting it to schools, universities, civic organizations and nature clubs. She has seen fear of sharks turn to curiosity and respect during her talks, and takes great pleasure in raising awareness of the plight of these amazing animals and sharing her adventures with other.

Cheryl is looking forward to working with the Reef Quest staff to develop educational materials on sharks and ocean ecology for students of all ages, and to coordinate educational trips for everyone who wants to learn firsthand about sharks and the sea.

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Chris & Monique Fallows
Expedition Leaders

Chris & Monique Fallows

For the last decade Chris Fallows has worked at the most well known Great White Shark sites in South Africa. Initially at Dyer Island & Struis Baai for four and a half years and since then at Seal island, False Bay. Throughout this period his interest has been twofold, firstly an incredible passion for these magnificent predators that has concentrated his efforts into trying to conserve and protect these poorly understood animals. The second reason being a continual quest to capture through still photographs the unique behaviour that keeps people fascinated by the worlds most revered shark.

His work reflects his passion and undying love for these animals. Together with Monique Fallows this couple enjoy all that nature has to offer and hope that in some way their photographs will capture not only your interest, but also your hearts to help conserve and appreciate the ever-dwindling natural environment.

Visit Apex Predators to learn more about the Fallows.

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Alexandra Barron
Expedition Co-Leader

Alexandra Barron

Alex has had a lifelong passion for sharks and all things marine, despite growing up in a land-locked city in northern England. Her career started early with a Saturday job in a local aquatic centre.

Alex graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2000, with a keen interest in behavioural studies and animal cognition and communication, and has since had a varied career in conservation. She has spent the last two years working as an environmental educator at a coastal conservation centre in Devon, England. Alex's conservation career started with Archelon, The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece working initially as a volunteer and then as field leader. During her time with Archelon, Alex was involved in a range of conservation and protection activities, data collection, tagging, environmental education, fund raising, and volunteer/project management.

In the UK she has worked with and volunteered for the Shark Trust, including organising events promoting the trust and shark conservation. Alex has also been involved with organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society and Wildlife Trusts in a professional capacity.

In May 2004 Alex won the Earthwatch Institute / Amerada Hess award for educators, winning a place on the British basking shark research project run by respected marine naturalist Colin Speedie and a £250 Community action grant. Alex has also done a number of freelance lectures on basking sharks, marine conservation and marine life in general.

Alex joined ReefQuest in 2004 and has a particular interest in shark behaviour, especially social interaction, communication and cognition.

Mobile + 44 7843 449725

 
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Andrew Currie
Expedition Leader

Andrew Currie

Andy Currie is a life-long shark fanatic with a particular fascination for Great Whites. Like many of us, Andy's fascination with sharks was inspired by Jaws - indeed, he probably knows Quint's lines better than Robert Shaw ever did!

In pursuit of understanding real sharks, Andy has accumulated some amazing experiences. He is an alumnus of three ReefQuest White Shark Research Expeditions in False Bay, the White Shark Project's student education program in Gansbaai , a SharkTrust search for White Sharks in the Adriatic, and the "SharkLab" at Bimini Biological Station. Andy also toured behind-the-scenes at the Natal Sharks Board and wrote an article on his observations for the SharkTrust's newsletter, Shark Focus. He remains as enthusiastic as ever about shark research and conservation. Recently retired from the Royal Air Force (RAF), Andy now dedicates his efforts to facilitating shark research, education, and conservation full-time.

Sponsored initially by the RAF, Andy is earning a biology degree the UK's Open University, where from 2000-2003, he has successfully completed courses on introductory and integrative biology, animal physiology, and ecology. He has also successfully completed training in computer operation, sailing, and scuba diving. During 2004, in recognition of his personal development planning, both academic and practical, towards long-term ambition of working in shark related field work, Andy won the Significant Individual Learning Award, RAF, Marham.

Andy's brings to ReefQuest not only an impressive background comprising military and shark research experience, academic training, and self-teaching, but also a wonderfully playful and off-beat sense of humour. We are very fortunate to have him working with us to promote shark conservation through research, education, and laughter.

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Devi
Webmaster/Multimedia Designer

Devi Haripal

Devi joined the ReefQuest team in 2004 as webmaster & multimedia designer. Her early childhood love for sharks brought her to this destination.

ReefQuest & Devi collaborated on her graduate thesis project to create a fun, interactive shark education program targeted for youths. Devi completed her Master Degree in Media Arts & Science at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis).

She has since started up her own multimedia design business, Devi Multimedia. One important focus of the company is to continue in helping promote shark awareness & education through the art of technology. Devi has a strong background in fine arts, as well as print, web, digital, & interactive media.

Visit Devi Multimedia for more info.

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Matt Hawksworth
Marine Documentarian

Matt Hawksworth

Matt is ReefQuest's Official Marine Documentary Film-Maker. Matt joined our Team in 2003 and promptly demonstrated his film-making skills, technological wizzardry, dedication and fun-loving nature. So when he asked to be more involved in ReefQuest's on-going and future projects, we jumped at the opportunity. Like everyone else in the film industry, Matt has earned his stripes. He has completed a Bachelor of Communications at Edith Cowan University, which gave him a thorough understanding of practical filmmaking and analysis as well as media writing.

Matt has also been awarded Best Actor and Best Art Director at the Big Shave (Student Film Awards). Since 2000, Matt has tried his hand at just about every role in the film-making process: Director, Director of Photography, Sound, Assistant Cameraman, and Actor. Matt is also a certified Advanced Diver (PADI) and has obtained a Diploma in Hospitality Management at South Metropolitan College.

 

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