Meet the 2019 Ocean Talks Speakers

Matthieu Rytz

Visual Storyteller, ARKAR

Matthieu Rytz is a producer, curator, photographer and director. A visual anthropologist by training, his passion for photography and ethnology has led him across the globe to photograph cultural and human diversity over the past ten years. His photographs, as well as those he has commissioned, have been exhibited internationally.

He strives to bear witness to complex human stories and focus especially on the relationship between Man and Nature. He specialises in photographic installation and is currently working on a multidisciplinary project using film, still images and virtual reality - whatever best serves the story.

He recently produced, filmed and directed his first feature film, Anote’s Ark, a documentary dealing with the realities of climate justice and migration. It premiered at Sundance 2018.

Matthieu was born in Switzerland and is now a digital nomad and can be followed at

Richard Madden


Richard Madden is a travel writer and journalist who has written, co-written or ghost written six books including a Top Ten best-seller for TV adventurer, Bear Grylls. He has written for the Daily Telegraph for more than 25 years where he was also Adventure Travel Editor. Richard has travelled to all seven continents and is a specialist writer on African safaris where he recently spent two years filing the Bush Telegraph column for the Daily Telegraph. Now back home, he is focussing on travel in Britain with particular emphasis on walking and adventure activities.

A keen writer on conservation issues, Richard worked with Nekton on their first mission to Bermuda. His latest book for the National Trust The Great British Bucket List - Discovering Unmissable Britain will be published in May by Pavilion Books. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Blue Badge Tour Guide (MITG).

Dr Rob Hall

Senior Lecturer in Physical Oceanography, University of East Anglia

Doctor Rob Hall is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Oceanography at the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of East Anglia. He uses autonomous underwater vehicles to measure subsurface ‘internal’ waves in the ocean worldwide, from the shallow seas around the United Kingdom to the deep Southern Ocean. These internal waves, which can be hundreds of metres high, affect the strength of ocean currents and therefore the Earth’s climate. They also impact marine biology by supplying key nutrients from the deep ocean to photosynthesising organisms in the photic zone and resuspending organic material around deep-water coral reefs.

Dr Hall started his training in oceanography as an undergraduate student at the University of Southampton, followed by a PhD in Physical Oceanography at Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the University of Liverpool. He then spent three years working as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Hawaii before returning to the United Kingdom to become a lecturer at the University of East Anglia. He now teaches oceanography to students at a range of levels, from first year undergraduates to master’s students, including hands-on experience of ocean measurement during a field course in Scotland.

Dr Madhavi Colton

Programme Director, Coral Reef Alliance

As Programme Director at the Coral Reef Alliance, Dr Madhavi Colton oversees an international portfolio of community-driven conservation programmes that are addressing local threats to reefs, including overfishing, land-based pollution and unsustainable tourism. Dr Colton is also spearheading new scientific research into how ecosystems adapt to the effects of climate change. This knowledge can then be applied to develop innovative approaches to coral conservation that can be replicated globally.

Her most recent paper, “Conservation plans that prioritise diversity can leverage evolution to adapt to climate change” (currently in review) analyses the results from a multi-year research project that used a powerful mathematical model to simulate different future scenarios for coral reefs, identifying the types of management networks that best facilitate coral adaptation.

Dr Colton’s expertise lies in building partnerships between academic researchers, conservation organisations, governments and local communities to implement durable solutions to conservation. She has worked in California, Hawaii, the Mesoamerican region, Indonesia, Fiji and Australia and has a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Steve Gresham

Founder and Principal Designer, Gresham Yacht Design

Image courtesy of Andrew Johansson

Steve Gresham is the Founder and Principal Designer of Gresham Yacht Design, a studio based in Mayfair, London, that specialises in the design of superyachts ranging from 50m to 150m.

Using a combination of traditional and digital techniques, Gresham Yacht Design conceives, develops and delivers a complete design programme to suit the needs of any client. Sketches, 2D and 3D renders, CAD drawings, videos, interactive 3D presentations and project management are at the team’s disposal to deliver the client’s vision. Interior design expertise is offered in collaboration with Seymour Diamond to deliver a complete turnkey service.

With over 30 years of experience in design, Steve has worked on a variety of projects from high performance craft, refitting vessels through to large private yachts. Each project is different and is approached with a clear mind and blank sheet of paper.

Brandon Harvey

Board of Trustees Member, Polar Citizen Science Collective and Director of Expedition Operations and Programme Development, EYOS Expeditions

Brandon Harvey is a Board of Trustees Member for the Polar Citizen Science Collective and also the Director of Expedition Operations and Programme Development for EYOS Expeditions. He grew up on the shores of the Salish Sea, in British Columbia and his early passion for marine mammals lead him to a long career in the polar regions aboard a variety of expedition vessels and yachts. Brandon has participated in countless expeditions to the Southern Ocean and the High Arctic as an educator, adventure guide, and Expedition Leader.

Over the past 20 years, Brandon has demonstrated his proficiency in developing exceptional client experiences and engaging educational programming. The past decade has found Brandon directing operations for tourism operators, previously as Operations Manager for Maple Leaf Adventures, Director of Expedition Operations for Polar Latitudes and currently as Director of Expedition Operations and Programme Development for EYOS Expeditions. Brandon was a key partner in developing a dedicated Citizen Science programme aboard polar expedition vessels. In 4 seasons the programme has become the model for integrating citizen science on polar expedition vessels and maximising client interaction with citizen science projects.

Working for EYOS Expeditions Brandon’s goal is to integrate citizen science projects aboard private yacht expeditions. While exploring remote regions client’s experience can not only be enriched by conducting research but legitimately contribute to scientific research. Brandon’s field expertise as a marine ecologist and environmental scientist is supported by a Master of Science in Environmental Practice.

Bec Atkins

Director of Operations, Manta Trust

Bec Atkins is the Director of Operations for the Manta Trust. She has been working with the Manta Trust since 2011, having joined the Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP), the Manta Trust’s founding project, to conduct a research study as part of her Master’s degree. The study looked at manta tourism, and more specifically, human interactions, behavioural impacts and management implications; this would later be used to help inform a Code of Conduct for manta ray tourism. After completing her MSc, Bec worked in marine conservation as a Researcher and later as a Marine Lead Adviser for Natural England. She remained involved with the Manta Trust as a member of the charity’s Board of Trustees for several years, before taking on the role of Director of Operations in 2016.

As an experienced diver and dive instructor, Bec has always been fascinated by the marine world but her first encounter with manta rays in Western Australia in 2005 had her hooked on these majestic and graceful creatures. As one of six members of the Core Operations team, Bec works to support the Maldivian Manta Ray Project and over twenty other affiliate manta and devil ray research and conservation projects worldwide.

Simon Evans

Sustainability Director, Ecobooth

Simon Evans is an experienced project manager of sustainability strategy programmes for multinational companies. As the Sustainability Director of Ecobooth, Simon helps drive a new use for ocean waste plastic, through repurposing the material to create high quality event and exhibition stands using innovative technologies. Ecobooth ensue that ocean waste is put to use, and not incinerated or sent to landfill. Ecobooth are working to turn the wasteful events industry into a positive one, manufacturing with circularity in mind to create positive events from ocean waste.

Simon works with businesses, NGOs, governments, industry bodies and consumers to deliver advice to the executive level of brands in a variety of sectors including those just beginning their sustainability journey and those who wish to lead the way. Simon has 10+ years’ experience in the designing, implementation and strategic communication of sustainability strategy for brands who want to maximise positive environmental and social impact.

Dr Tessa Hempson

Senior Marine Scientist and Operations Manager, Oceans Without Borders

Doctor Tessa Hempson is a Senior Marine Scientist and Operations Manager for Oceans Without Borders, a project partnership between &Beyond and Africa Foundation dedicated to marine conservation and community development in East Africa. She is also an Adjunct Researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia, where she completed her PhD, and continues to work with many of the world’s leading marine scientists on the most pressing issues facing our oceans.

Recognising the importance of working at multiple scales and the need for effective inter-sectoral partnerships, Oceans Without Borders offers a unique platform for bringing together diverse stakeholders to address the complex inter-related challenges facing coral reefs. At a local scale, Dr Hempson’s work in East Africa focuses on the inseparable links between coastal communities and the marine resources on which they depend. At a global scale she endeavours to raise awareness around marine conservation issues, highlighting that many of the threats facing our oceans are driven by consumer and political choices in the developed world, and that each of us can take positive steps in our daily lives to secure a bright future for coral reefs and oceans on which we ultimately all depend.

Alexander Flemming

Co-CEO, Greenwich Maritime

Alexander Flemming is currently the Co-CEO for Greenwich Maritime, part of the philanthropic OceanX program, whose mission to explore the ocean and bring it back to the world. With a background engineering and construction, Alexander’s career took him to sea working on various vessels completing several circumnavigations with adventurous owners, until stepping ashore over 25 years ago. He then continued a path of surveying and vessel refit/project management, usually for slightly discerning owners with difficult and complicated projects. This hands-on experience of both the high-end uber luxury work of the super yachting industry mixed with more adventurous global cruising has subsequently allowed Alexander to be uniquely placed with vessel owner’s looking for something a little different, including innovative projects like the Pegaso, a hybrid research vessel/yacht built in Vigo with its 5 PAX diver lockout submersible, and the Alucia which brought us some of the vivid images of giant squid, and the haunting views seen on recent BBC, Blue Planet II.

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