Meet the 2019 Ocean Talks Speakers

Dee Caffari MBE

Director, Dee Caffari Limited

Dee Caffari is the Director of Dee Caffari Limited and in 2006, she became the first woman to sail solo around the world the wrong way, non-stop. In 2009 her 6th place finish in the Vendée Globe made her the first woman to sail solo and non-stop in both directions around the globe. Dee has completed more non stop circumnavigations of the globe than any other woman. As skipper of 'Turn the Tide on Plastic' - a mixed, youth focused team with a strong sustainability message - Dee completed her sixth lap of the planet in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. Outside of sailing, Dee continues to showcase her talents in other areas such as TV and radio presenting, motivational speaking and supporting her chosen charities.

Dr Mark Spalding

Senior Marine Scientist, The Nature Conservancy and Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge

Doctor Mark Spalding is a Senior Marine Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and is leading a series of projects to model and map the value of nature to people. At the same time, Dr Spalding has a fellowship at the University of Cambridge and is the Chief Science Advisor to the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration.

In each of these roles, and for more than 30 years, Dr Spalding has sought to improve our understanding of marine ecosystems. Among over 100 publications, are 8 books which describe the worlds of coral reefs, mangrove forests, protected areas and marine conservation. Dr Spalding has an unparalleled understanding of our reliance on the sea; of the many threats to marine life; and of the opportunities to turn things around. This big-picture vision is also grounded in a real-world understanding: Dr Spalding has undertaken marine research and expeditions in many remote ocean settings. For him the connection between large scales and real places is essential – field-scientists often fail to see the bigger pictures, while the makers of maps, models and theories, grounded in universities, can be very clever, but they can also be wrong.

Oliver Steeds

Founder, Chief Executive & Mission Director, Nekton

Oliver Steeds is the Founder, Chief Executive and Mission Director of Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute (Nekton), dedicated to the exploration and conservation of the deep ocean. He is a leading explorer, submersible pilot, and a critically acclaimed, former broadcast journalist with NBC, ABC, Discovery Channel and Channel 4. Nekton’s current Mission First Descent 2019-2022 is operating in the Indian Ocean, the least explored and least protected ocean. Oliver is also the Co-founder of the educational non-profit, Encounter EDU and the Ocean’s Academy.

Richard Vevers

Founder & CEO, The Ocean Agency

Richard Vevers is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Ocean Agency, an unconventional non-profit that uses the combination of creativity, technology and powerful partnerships to accelerate ocean science and conservation action. Prior to joining the field of ocean conservation, Vevers worked at some of the top London advertising agencies, and it is this background that allows him to bring a new approach to ocean conservation.

His ideas have included: taking Google Street View underwater, funding a global survey of coral reefs through a sports sponsorship model (XL Catlin Seaview Survey), revealing the coral reef crisis in the Emmy Award-winning Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral, and marketing a plan to save coral reefs called 50 Reefs. Together, these ideas alone have generated over $400 million in media value and over $100 million in funding for ocean science and conservation.

Professor Andrew Brierley

Professor of Marine Biology, University of St Andrews

Professor Andrew Brierley is a Professor of Marine Biology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, where he leads the Pelagic Ecology Research Group. His research focusses on ecosystem processes in the pelagic – the watercolumn, away from the sea bed – and addresses questions to do with spatial and temporal patchiness, and how predators interact with prey in the vastness of the open ocean.

Professor Brierley has ongoing research projects in the Arctic, Antarctic and tropics. He is a UK delegate to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) Fisheries Acoustics Science and Technology Working Group, a UK representative on the International Arctic Science Committee’s Marine Working Group, and a member of the UK delegation to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee.

Professor Brierley convened the Third International Symposium on Krill in 2017, and in 2018 proposed to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) a Krill Action Group, which was adopted. His most recent research is using scientific echosounders to sample fish in the ocean’s ‘twilight zone’ (the mesopelagic; depth range 200 to 1,000m). There may be 1,000 Million Tonnes of fish there (the present total global commercial fish catch is about 100 MT) and it is vital that we develop a good understanding of this little-known ecosystem before commercial fishing develops.

Erika Gress

Marine Ecologist

Erika Gress has close to 7 years of research and conservation experience with her current focus being on mesophotic reefs (30 – 150m depth reefs) and black corals. She recently led a book review chapter on Mesoamerican mesophotic reefs for the ‘Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems, Coral Reefs of the World’, a Springer book. Additionally, she holds some experience working in the deep-sea (>200m depth)on invasive lionfish.

In recognition of her early career commitment to marine conservation, she was awarded the ‘Marine Conservation Leadership Award 2018’ by Fauna and Flora International and the Marsh Trust. Her work on mesophotic reefs and black corals spans different areas in the Mesoamerican Reef, Madagascar and Indonesia. Erika seeks to follow up this year with her work achieved in Mexico and plans to conduct research in the Indonesian reefs for consecutive years.

Dr Dominic Andradi-Brown

Marine Scientist, World Wildlife Fund

Doctor Dominic Andradi-Brown is a Marine Scientist at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where he works on the monitoring and evaluation of marine conservation projects. He works closely with WWF teams and other partners in Indonesia, Fiji, and Mexico to incorporate best-practice science to inform marine protected areas.

Dr Andradi-Brown completed his PhD in the Ocean Research and Conservation Group at the University of Oxford, researching fish ecology on mesophotic coral reefs (reefs 30-150m depth). During his PhD, he worked as part of a team supporting the inclusion of these deep reefs into reef management plans and conservation actions in Honduras and Mexico. He has over 20 scientific publications, and his previous academic background includes a masters degree and a undergraduate degree in ecology from Imperial College London.

Dr Andradi-Brown is a member of the Reef Conservation UK steering committee, and in the past, has worked for organisations such as the Zoological Society of London and Operation Wallacea.

Frederikke Magnussen

Co-founder, A Plastic Planet and Ocean Family Foundation

Frederikke Magnussen is the Co-founder of A Plastic Planet (APP) and Ocean Family Foundation (OFF). Frederikke left Denmark at an early age to pursue a career in fashion, living in Paris, Australia and New York. She studied Psychology at NYU and Birkbeck, exploring her passion for helping others, setting up ‘Being Human’ wilderness retreats to reconnect stressed people with nature, alongside Sille Lundquist.

During the mid-2000s, Frederikke became aware of the growing problem of plastic pollution in our ocean, during a screening of the first documentary feature on ocean pollution – A Plastic Ocean in which she played a role in the making. During the film launch Frederikke joined forces with Sian Sutherland to create the first APP campaign that asked supermarkets to give their customers choice by providing Plastic Free Aisles. After 12 months of extensive pressure on the food and drink industry, support from Theresa May as part of her 2025 Environmental Plan and considerable media coverage, the world’s first Plastic Free Aisle was launched; a symbol of possible change for the world. APP have this year alone opened another supermarket in London as a living lab to show that change can happen today with new innovations.

Privately, Frederikke and her husband have set up Ocean Family Foundation (OFF) with two other families who are passionate about conservation and education to protect the oceans the families share and love.

Rob McCallum

Co-founder and Expedition Leader, EYOS Expeditions

Seattle-based New Zealander Rob McCallum is the Co-founder and Expedition Leader of EYOS Expeditions and is regarded as the foremost provider of expedition services to the superyacht industry and holder of several world records. The team at EYOS Expeditions have lead over 1200 expeditions for private clients, scientists and film makers (often with all three groups combined) to the most pristine and challenging destinations on Earth.

Rob is presently managing The Five Deeps Expedition as the primary mission planner and as the Expedition Leader for each of the expeditions 10 dive projects. He has led multiple expeditions to Titanic (4000m), Bismarck (5000m) and helped with the design and management of many complex deep-water expeditions, including the search for AF 447 and James Cameron’s dive to the Mariana Trench in Deep Challenger.

Rob managed the refit of RV Nadir into MV Alucia, where his experience with the science, film-making and private adventure was able to be combined and infused into Alucia’s design. This experience lead EYOS Expeditions to be selected as the design partner for Damen Shipyards ‘SeaXplorer’ range of expedition yachts. These yachts continue the theme of enabling luxury yacht owners' full global access and the ability to support science, film making and private adventure.

Rob is a licensed aircraft pilot, a PADI Dive Master, a longtime member of the Explorers Club (NY) and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Dr Alan Jamieson

Chief Scientist, The Five Deeps Expedition and Senior Lecturer, Deep-sea Biology, Newcastle University

Doctor Alan Jamieson is the Chief Scientist on The Five Deeps Expedition and a senior lecturer in deep-sea biology at Newcastle University, UK. His research has made him a world leader in the biological exploration of the hadal zone (depths exceeding 6000m). He has designed multiple Hadal-Landers and has deployed them over 250 times in the ultra-deep subduction trenches of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas. Dr Jamieson has participated in, and often led, over 55 deep-sea expeditions covering every ocean. He has published over 80 scientific papers and sole authored the book 'The Hadal Zone, life in the deepest oceans', in 2015.

Highlights of his work include filming the deepest fish in the world, discovering supergiant amphipods in the hadal zone and a hadal species being named after him. He has also filmed in the deepest places on Earth; the Sirena Deep and Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. His work has featured in the BBCs Blue Planet II, and NHKs Deep Ocean, Descent into the Mariana Trench documentaries, and his discoveries have received extensive international media coverage. Dr Jamieson is also a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

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