Team

The faces behind the project

Core team

Stella
Diamant
Project Founder & Lead Researcher
Stella first worked in Madagascar in 2011 and fell in love with the country. A biologist with a MSc from Imperial College London, she saw her first whale shark in 2014 in Nosy Be and as a result decided to set up the project. Stella leads the project since its inception in 2016.
Léa
Gonçalves
Project Coordinator
Léa has been working for over 10 years in project management in the finance sector. After volunteering with MWSP in 2018, Léa joined the team and has helped secure funds for the education programme. Today she oversees the administrative aspects
Richyna
Volarinina Soariziky
Education Officer
Richyna is a native of Nosy Be, she has worked for the GreeN'Kool association on recycling, she is a slammer and won the Ranomasy 2019 festival competition. She leads our education programme, the "Guardians of the Ocean", where she delivers the school programme and leads the Saturday activities.
Melissa
Hobson
Communications Manager
Melissa has worked with businesses and charities for over 11 years, combining her passion for the ocean with her extensive experience in public relations, communications and writing. She has supported the project for several years.
Minaëlle
Green
Communications Assistant
Minaëlle is a young conservation biology graduate, who is particularly attracted to marine wildlife. She manages the social networks with Kate and the content creation on Patreon with Stella.
Léonce
Costika Fidiarisandratra
Field coordinator
Léonce holds a master degree in Biodiversity from the Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines (IH.SM). He oversees the permit obtention aspect and is coordinating all data entry on site, as well as volunteers.
Claire
Eloy
Data and field assistant
Claire helps with content creation for the code of conduct as well as overseeing data processing. She is trained in cetology and dedicates time in the field with the MWSP each year, as well as other scientific research projects in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.
Amy
Jones
Database manager
Amy has a MSc in Bioengineering and is now putting her experience in the biomedical industry to good use for ocean conservation. She is joining us as a Scientific Assistant to help maintain databases, create field protocols, and develop grant applications.
Romain
Cariou
Webdesigner
Romain is a UX/UI Designer, passionate about graphic design, always willing to undertake new challenges that matter! Founder of Squad Six, a creative agency, he answers to graphic and web identity issues.
Olivier
Gomez
Business Advisor
Olivier Gomez is a recognized global expert and pioneer in the field of Intelligent Automation and the CEO/Co-Founder of IAC. He is passionate about diving and loves Madagascar. He is involved in strategic issues: communication, financing, merchandising.
Kate
Waite
Graphic Design & Comms
Kate is an expert in digital marketing, she has been working for several years in the tourism industry and is now at Natural World Safaris. She is in charge of social media and provides valuable communication advice.
Justin
Beresford
Data Scientist
Justin's formal training is in economics, and he is a data scientist at Deliveroo. Justin has helped us develop an electronic survey tool, including real-time data processing, analysis, and dashboarding as well as introducing secure and remote data storage processes.

Students

Tsiafoy Randrianantoanina
Whale shark tourism: benefits for the local community

Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines
Jacopo Fossati
Impact of tourism on local whale shark population

Università politecnica delle Marche

Project supervisors

Simon J. Pierce, PhD
Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation
Simon began working on whale sharks in 2005 off Tofo, Mozambique and co-founded the Marine Megafauna Foundation in 2012. His international work on the population ecology and management of this iconic species has made him a world expert on whale shark conservation.
Jeremy J. Kiszka, PhD
Assistant Professor at Florida International University
Jeremy currently leads a number of research projects on the ecology and behaviour of sharks, and other large marine vertebrates in the Western Indian Ocean. He leads his own lab at FIU and also serves as an expert for the Shark Specialist Group of the IUCN.

Thanks to our previous volunteers and staff-both in the field and remotely !

Tine Hollevoet
Lorrie Carassini
Noella Wai
Frédéric Barbotin
Tiana Haingo Andriamampionona
Vincent Bourdin
Mariana Perez
Marion Lovat
Robin Bally
Ingrid Richioud
Cédric Pfeiffer
Vincent Frasse-Mathon
Matthieu Bonhomme
Flore Meyerstein
Valérie Gagnolet
Guillaume Lechat
Amir Serhane
Laura Atchama
Simona Auteri
Marcel Caro
Magali Caro
Marie-Amélie Vidal
Romain Boucly
Mélina Lin
Agathe Gastaldi
Blaise Vincent
Juliette Eyraud
Amandine Pauvert
Tine Hollevoet
Léa Gonçalves
Alexandra Salmon-Lefranc Gennai
Chantal Dherbecourt-Solau
Fanny Floirat-Lohyer
Chloé Paré
Diane Bécu
Luna Payet
Raphaël Jarnias
Kelly Morvan
Mylène Richard
Carole Perrin
Fadia Al Abbar
Juliet Cussaguet
Mario Clemente
Florian Barnaud
Stéphane Gennai
Guillaume Bonnaud
Pierre Denneulin
Michaël Coconi
Arnault De Peretti
Jens Paulsen
Vincent Quiquempois
Joshua Rambahiniarison

On-site partners

Cetamada
Partner NGO
Cetamada focuses on humpback whale research and protection, and together we are collaborating to provide operator training and amend existing laws protecting marine megafauna
MADA Megafauna
Partner NGO
We collaborate with MM on both our volunteer and education programme, and have initiated together the "Guardians of the Oceans" movement on Nosy Be.
Wildlife Conservation Society
Partner NGO
WCS is the leading organisation for shark conservation in Madagascar. Since 2019 we share our data to support local conservation initiaitves
Les Baleines Rand’eau
Partner Operator and Co-founder
LBR have been instrumental to the project, and have collected data for us in 2015. Since they support MWSP’s field season.
Safari Baleine
Partner Operator
Since 2018, we collaborate on the volunteer program with Fanja, Yasmina and Nahema from local operator Safari Baleine, who operate whale shark tours from neighbouring island Nosy Komba.

Project Collaborators

Dr. Chris A. Rohner
Senior Scientist
Marine Megafauna Foundation
Dr. Jackie Ziegler
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Victoria
Dr. Rhett Bennett
Shark and Ray Conservation Program Manager
Wildlife Conservation Society
Dr. Gonzalo Araujo
Founder & Director
Marine Research and Conservation Foundation
Joshua Rambahiniarison
Research Scientist
CORDIO East Africa
Samantha Reynolds
PhD Candidate
Franklin Ecolab, The University of Queensland
Dr. Stephanie Venables
Senior Scientist
Marine Megafauna Foundation
Global Shark Movement Project
Marine Biological Association Laboratory
Megamove
Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre
University of Western Australia Oceans Institute and School of Biological Sciences
Western Indian Ocean Symphony
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Mar Alliance

Project friends