Anna SCHLEIMER (PhD)
Anna is a marine biologist specialised in baleen whale population biology. In 2021, she was awarded a joint doctoral degree from the University of Groningen and the University of St Andrews for her thesis entitled “Population biology of fin whales: Applying demographic and evolutionary approaches to studying populations”. Her work focused on the estimation of abundance, habitat use, and genetic population structure of fin whales in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Her research previously led her to the Philippines to study whale sharks at the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute. As a team member of the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, she studied baleen whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Anna enjoys sharing her passion during local outreach events or discovery field courses. She is currently working as a freelance population biologist.
Dr. Pierre GALLEGO
Pierre is a veterinarian specialised in marine mammal medicine. He has been working in the field of marine biology for 16 years and has been organising marine mammal research internships around the world since 2004. He represents the Government of Luxembourg as scientific advisor and alternate commissioner at the International Whaling Commission and works with numerous international NGOs to promote marine mammal conservation and to fight cetacean captivity. He is currently carrying out his PhD with the Oceanology Lab of the University of Liege, Belgium. His PhD thesis deals with pollutants and stable isotopes in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) off Ecuador and Mozambique, where we co-organise volunteer programmes as well. The ocean is his passion, and the water is his element!
Félix is a conservationist who has been an active member of Odyssea since 2017, when he first participated in a two-week research adventure at the Cetacean Research Station in Mingan, Canada. His passion for the ocean and marine ecosystems however started at an early age after watching Cousteau’s “Le Monde du Silence”, and he has been working towards being part of the solution to conserve the planet’s natural beauty ever since. He completed a BSc (Hons.) in Marine Science at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He then went on to study for an MSc in Conservation at University College London. Félix has gathered experience in international conservation and conservation policy during his internships at the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). He strongly believes that Luxembourg and its people, within the European Union, have the potential to play a leading role in fighting global climate breakdown and to ensure the conservation of the world’s oceans.
Sören completed his biology degree at the University of Kaiserslautern. His thesis, with the department of ecology, focused on analysing the effects of climate change on plankton, including their role in the functioning of oceanic ecosystems. In 2018 Sören got his first hands-on field experience while an intern with the Mingan Island Cetacean Study in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Canada) who focus on the study of large whales. As Odyssea’s outreach officer, his main goal is to raise awareness and inform the public about the simple things each one of us can do to help to preserve and protect our marine ecosystems.
Lola Wagner developed a deep passion for the ocean after snorkelling for the first time in the Maldives at a young age. She completed her Bachelor of Marine Science with Distinction at James Cook University (JCU) in Australia in 2022. During her study at JCU she volunteered at a turtle hospital, taking care of rescued juvenile green and hawksbill turtles. Alongside her volunteer work, she also assisted in the behavioural study and release of the juvenile hawksbill turtles. She is a passionate diver and completed her Divemaster in 2020. Lola is set to start her Honours degree at JCU in August 2022, where she is basing her research project on coral cores from the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland.
~~~~ Active members ~~~~
Paul has been working for the maritime sector since 2006. Paul is passionate about oceans and marine life. With that said his encounter with the Odyssea team in 2010 was decisive. He regularly organises events related to environmental issues at sea and gives the floor to renowned conservationists. He strongly believes that Luxembourg and its people may and have to play a crucial role when it comes to stopping plastic pollution or fighting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing to name but a few.
Jeanne Wagner is a marine biologist with a specialisation on ecology and animal behaviour. Since she completed her studies in 2010, she has been actively involved in marine conservation programmes in Mayotte. Located in the Mozambique channel, this small tropical French island is surrounded by one of the world’s largest closed lagoons. Through her job and involvement with NGOs, Jeanne studies iconic marine species and habitats, such as coral reefs, turtles and marine mammals in order to protect and manage them efficiently within the context of growing human pressures linked to the development of the island. She currently works as a marine biologist in the Parc natural marin de Mayotte and is the secretary of the association Oulanga na Nyamba (literally “environment and turtles”).
Amandine GILLET (PhD)
Amandine completed her Master in Biology of Organisms and Ecology at the University of Liège (BE) in 2014. The same year she participated in an internship on humpback whales in the Dominican Republic with Pierre and got involved with Odyssea. She then spent three months in the Philippines studying delphinids ecology with the University of Hong Kong and the Silliman University. She started a PhD about the ecology and morphology of cetaceans at the University of Liège in 2015. Her work involves spending a lot of time in various natural history museums to study cetaceans skeletons in order to understand their swimming abilities and their evolution. Besides her PhD she assists Pierre in the organisation of a marine biology internship in Mozambique. She is convinced that raising awareness about marine life is the best way to protect our oceans.
Mel COSENTINO (PhD)
Dr. Mel Cosentino is a conservation biologist with a special interest in the impact of human activities on marine mammals. She earned her Biology Degree in Spain, an MRes in Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology in the UK, and a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering also in the UK, during which she studied the acoustic behaviour of harbour porpoises in the Firth of Clyde, in West Scotland and the Little Belt in Denmark. She is currently a Lead Scientist in Breathing Andenes, a project funded by Innovation Norway, and owned by Whalesafari, the largest whale watching company in the Arctic. She is also affiliated with the University of Aarhus, in Denmark, where she is based. Her work is divided between research on different cetacean species, especially harbour porpoises and sperm whales, and developing tools and databases. She has been involved in several projects for almost 20 years, from a scientific perspective as well as education and outreach. Mel collaborates with researchers and NGOs from around the world and has several publications in conferences and scientific journals. She is a truth seeker and a citizen of all of the seven kingdoms.
Passionate about the ocean since an early age, Sarah quickly fell in love with scuba diving. Scuba diving gave her a whole new perspective on the importance of marine conservation. As an intern, Sarah participated in Odyssea’s marine mammal field course in Tarifa, Spain. The species that truly left a mark on her were the killer whales, which she was fortunate enough to encounter during several up-close sightings. Within a few days, she could recognise different individuals based on the shape of their dorsal fin and rejoice at each sighting of the large male Pingu. The encounters with killer whales, their majestic movement through the waters and tightly knit family networks made it clear to her that these animals do not belong in captivity. Those experiences led her to become more involved with Odyssea and its outreach and conservation work.
Sophie graduated from Maastricht University with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in January 2020. She spent the last year of her BSc at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, where she studied marine biology and oceanography. She then completed her bachelor thesis on coral restoration in Curaçao. Since her graduation, she has interned in different fields of marine science, namely fisheries, marine mammal ecology and coral restoration. She is a passionate scuba diver and a certified Divemaster. From December 2020 to June 2021 she sailed from Gran Canaria to Cape Verdes, Brazil and finally to the Bahamas. During this true “odyssey” she worked as a scientific advisor and gained experience in shark diving. Her passion for the oceans drives her deep motivation to contribute to the protection and conservation of the underwater world.
Carine has been an active member of Odyssea since 2021. She regularly assists on events such as the Science Festival, gives talks and guides through workshops in schools. She earned her BSc in animal management with focus on wildlife management. These studies led to several opportunities to work with cetaceans and she was even one of the few researchers that observed a Cuvier’s beaked whale in Turkish waters. She also had the chance to observe different behaviours and record distribution patterns of bottlenose and striped dolphins. She studied the distribution of harbour porpoises in the Netherlands for her Bachelor thesis. She is currently doing her Master’s degree in Animal Biology and Biomedical Sciences with a thesis on bat behaviour. However, her passion for the ocean remains strong and she managed to “sneak in” a few marine related modules.
Kianna graduated from the University of Alberta with an undergraduate degree in conservation biology. Despite growing up and studying in the very landlocked city of Edmonton, Canada, she first discovered her love for the oceans after volunteering as a research assistant for a marine conservation organisation in Honduras. It was here where she first learned to scuba dive and it quickly became somewhat of an obsession. After this experience, she shifted her focus towards marine biology and has since been working for various marine conservation organisations around the world including in Iceland, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Canada. It was while working in Canada as a team member for the Mingan Island Cetacean Study where she first met members of the Odyssea team. She has now completed an MSc in marine biological resources with a focus on global ocean change and has her sights set on a PhD with a similar focus. She wishes to share her passion for the ocean with others through creative, engaging, and interactive outreach initiatives.