The GWSP is comprised of a small group of scientists and volunteers whose common interests are the marine environment, diving and conservation.
All have been inspired
by Whale Sharks.
Jonathan R. Green is a sciences graduate of the University of North London. He has worked for nearly three decades in the Galapagos Islands and has several thousand dives in the surrounding waters. An early fascination with whale sharks led to the founding of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project with a view to better understanding the part Galapagos plays in their life cycle.
He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and when not in the Galapagos works on expedition vessels in the Polar Regions. He also teaches photography workshops in destinations around the world and has won several international awards.
Dr. Alex Hearn is one of the lead scientists on the Galapagos Whale Shark Project. He is a Researcher and Professor of Biology at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and a founding member of the MigraMar network of scientists studying the movement patterns of threatened migratory marine species in the Eastern Pacific.
He has over 15 years of experience working in research, conservation and fisheries management in the Galapagos Islands, and also at neighboring Cocos, Malpelo and Revillagigedo Islands. Currently he is also a Board Member of the Fundacion Megafauna Marina del Ecuador, and Turtle Island Restoration Network in California, USA. His main research interest is connectivity of migratory sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
Dr. Simon Pierce founded MMF’s flagship research program on whale sharks, and is now studying these gentle giants in seven countries. His work on the population ecology and management of this iconic species has made him the world’s top whale shark conservation biologist. In 2016, Simon led a research team whose efforts resulted in whale sharks being recognized as globally endangered for the first time on the IUCN Red List. He is also a scientific advisor to the online global whale shark database (www.whaleshark.org), regional co-chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, and supervising multiple PhD students working on threatened marine species.
Chris got his PhD from the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2013 for his study on whale sharks in Mozambique. Since then, he has been working with the Marine Megafauna Foundation on various projects around the world, with whale shark research still as the main focus. His major projects at the moment are on the movement & feeding ecology of large marine animals, and he also likes biochemistry and oceanography. Apart from whale sharks, some of his other research is on billfish, sea turtles, and mobula and manta rays. Chris also shoots & edits underwater videos from his research trips. For non-science times, he likes the hammock & ukulele and hiking around remote mountains.
Jenny Waack is the founder of Galapagos Shark Diving and has supported the research of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project for several years. She was born in Germany and studied Business Administration.
She graduated as Certified International Investment Analyst and worked for many years in Investment & Retail Banking in Germany. Her passion has always been travelling, diving and discovering the world. On her travels she fell in love with whale sharks, the Galapagos Islands and the marine environment and dedicated her life to protecting these gentle giants and the oceans. She founded Galapagos Shark Diving to create a platform to support different research projects in the Galapagos, especially the Galapagos Whale Shark Project with donations and Citizen Science programs.
When she is not involved in diving or research, she works on an expedition ship in remote polar regions and continues to work in the financial sector in Germany.
She is fluent in German and English and has a good knowledge of Spanish. She lives in Ecuador and enjoys diving, hiking, yoga, skiing and all kinds of outdoor activities.
Sofia M. Green
Investigator / Data Analyst
Sofía M Green Iturralde grew up in mainland Ecuador, but always had a connection with the Galapagos Islands through her parents’ work in conservation. After graduating from university, she moved to the islands to work towards their conservation.
She is currently completing an international master’s degree in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea) with a focus on conservation and ecology.
She joined the Galapagos Whale Shark Project in 2017 as an intern and now works as an investigator, and data analyst, leading research into the diving behaviour of whale sharks using satellite depth profiles.
Besides her work with the project she has been involved with other marine conservation projects on marine invasive species, marine debris (plastics), marine turtles conservation, and the ecological monitoring of the Galapagos archipelago.
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