Conservation through Research, Awareness and Education

UK Registered Charity Number: 1145387

Scientific Advisors

Professor Callum Roberts

Professor Callum Roberts is a marine conservation biologist at the University of York in the UK. He was first tempted into marine science by a trip to the coral reefs of Saudi Arabia, where he studied behaviour and coexistence of herbivorous fishes. This led to a lifelong love of coral reefs and effectively dispelled his prior notion that marine science was all about freezing on the deck of a North Sea trawler knee deep in fish. In the early 1990s his interests in behaviour gave way to concern about the deteriorating condition of coral reefs, leading to his current emphasis on marine conservation.

Currently, Callum’s research focuses on human impacts on marine ecosystems. While his interests in marine conservation have blossomed over the years, his field research remains firmly rooted on coral reefs. On the islands of St. Lucia and Saba in the Caribbean, he has studied the effects of marine reserves closed to all fishing. Those studies revealed both the huge scale of human impacts on the sea, and the means of protecting marine ecosystems from such effects. He is now working to gain acceptance for marine reserves more widely, including in Britain and Europe where he is helping fishers to promote the concept within the industry and to politicians.

He was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 2000 to tackle obstacles to implementing marine reserves, and in 2001 he was awarded a Hardy Fellowship in Conservation Biology at Harvard University.


Sarah Fowler

Sarah Fowler has a First Class Joint Honours Degree in zoology and marine zoology from the University College of North Wales, Bangor and an MSc in conservation from University College, London. After eight years of service as the marine ecologist for the former UK government conservation advisory agency, the Nature Conservancy Council, she became Director of Marine and Coastal Services for Naturebureau International, an ethical environmental consultancy. Sarah was appointed Co-chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group in 1991 and is currently vice-chair for international treaties. She developed the concept for and founded the European Elasmobranch Association to promote the conservation and management of sharks and rays in European waters, as well as its UK member body, the Shark Trust. In 2004, she was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to marine conservation and a Pew Fellow in marine conservation in 2005. Sarah has over 20 years of professional experience in applied marine biodiversity conservation and natural resource management and is particularly interested in natural resource management projects, the interface between fisheries and wildlife interests, and in the resolution of conflicting user requirements. She currently works as a principal scientist for the Save Our Seas Foundation and as an independent consultant.


Dr. Julie P Hawkins

Julie is a lecturer at the University of York where she runs an MSc in Marine Environmental Management. Her research focuses on human impacts on marine ecosystems and how to reduce the problems these create. This interest began when she witnessed a massive and rapid growth in tourism on Egypt’s coral reefs. Over the years her research on the effects recreational scuba diving on coral reefs has moved from firstly playing a major role in getting the issue recognised, to then seeing it become addressed throughout the tropics. More recently her work has explored the impacts of fishing and how marine protected areas can help rectify the failings of other forms of fishery management. In terms of field work this has largely been centred on Caribbean coral reefs. Julie is a keen naturalist whose love of marine wildlife, which is definitely focused on fish, extends from the small (e.g. blennies) to the large (e.g. manta rays) with just about everything in between (particularly parrotfish).


Professor Olof Linden

Professor Olof Linden holds the Nippon Chair in Marine Environment Management at the World Maritime University and is also a professor of Coastal Management at the Linnaeus University in Sweden.

During the last 20 years Olof has focused on the issues related to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) mainly in tropical developing countries, as well as on the topic of climate change and its impacts on the coastal environment in the Indian Ocean. In the Western Indian Ocean he is credited with the establishment of the Sida/SAREC´s Regional marine research and capacity building program in East Africa in 1989. He is also project leader for the CORDIO project dealing with impacts on climate change on coastal ecosystems of the Indian Ocean. These programs were precursors for a number of initiatives that have contributed to the increasing profile and visibility of marine science in the management of coastal and marine resources currently being observed in the Indian Ocean.

Olof has also published extensively on the topics related to climate change in coastal environments, the impacts of oil spills on marine ecosystems, and the impacts of military conflicts on the environment. He currently supervises several PhD projects both in South Asia and Africa.


Dr. Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Giuseppe earnt his Ph.D. in Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego in 1985.  Mantas and mobulas have always played a role in his career, he started out as a species-oriented marine ecologist with a particular focus on marine mammals and manta rays, of which he described a new species, Mobula munkiana.  Since these beginnings he progressively moved towards place-based marine conservation.

In 1986 he spearheaded the creation of the Italian national cetacean stranding network, which he coordinated until 1990. In 1986 he funded the Tethys Research Institute in Milano, which he directed until 1997 and now again since 2010. In 1991 he proposed the creation of the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals, which was established in 1999 by a treaty amongst Italy, France and Monaco. In 1996 he was nominated president of the Central Institute for Applied Marine Research in Rome, the Italian governmental body providing scientific and technical support to national marine conservation policy, where he served for seven years. He served from 1999 to 2003 as Commissioner or Alternate Commissioner for Italy at the International Whaling Commission, and from 2002 to 2010 as Chair of the Scientific Committee of ACCOBAMS.

His current activities include: Regional Coordinator for the Mediterranean and Black Seas, IUCN WCPA – Marine (since 2000); Deputy Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission – Cetacean Specialist Group (since 1991), and member of the Shark Specialist Group (since 1993). Giuseppe teaches science and policy of the conservation of marine biodiversity at the University of Milan.


Dr. Robert Rubin

Robert Rubin received his Ph.D. in Comparative Physiology and Marine Ecology from the University of California at Irvine. Dr. Rubin presently is a faculty member in the Department of Biology at Santa Rosa Community College, where he teaches courses in Marine Biology and The Biology of Marine Mammals. In addition, he has taught at the University of California Irvine and Santa Cruz, University of Maryland, Sonoma State University and The Huntsman Marine Laboratory in New Brunswick, Canada.

Dr. Rubin has conducted field and laboratory research on several species of marine mammals, including: hooded and harp seals in the Arctic, elephant seals in California, harbor seals in the Atlantic, Alaska and California, and sea otters in California and in Russia at the invitation of the Russian government and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Rubin’s research interests in the Gulf of California have spanned over three decades and have included field and/laboratory studies of the physiology of salt and water metabolism in fish-eating bats at Isla Partida and the population ecology of sea birds at Isla Raza. Beginning in 1990, he has been conducting field research on the population and community ecology of manta rays in the Revillagigedos Islands.

Dr. Rubin has served as an educational program consultant to the US Department of Energy, The National Science Foundation and to the California of Education. He has been awarded several faculty and teaching awards, including but not limited to: Distinguished Teaching Award from University of California, Irvine, Alumni Professor of the Year from Santa Rosa Community College, Excellence in Education Recognition from the California State Senate and Special Congressional Recognition for Educational Excellence from the United States Congress.


Dr. Mark Erdmann

Mark is senior advisor for Conservation International-Indonesia’s marine program, with a primary focus on managing CI’s marine conservation initiatives in the Bird’s Head Seascape in West Papua. Mark is a coral reef ecologist (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) who has lived and worked for the past 22 years in Indonesia. During this time he has logged over 10,000 scuba dives while surveying marine biodiversity throughout the region. He has published 120 scientific articles and 5 books, including most recently the 3-volume set “Reef Fishes of the East Indies” with colleague Dr. Gerald Allen. Mark was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 2004 for his work in marine conservation education. Though his work is now largely focused on the management of marine protected areas, his continuing research interests include reef fish and mantis shrimp biodiversity, genetic connectivity in MPA networks, and coral reef restoration techniques, and he maintains a research associate position with the California Academy of Sciences.

Most recently, Mark has become quite involved in manta conservation research in Raja Ampat and in advising the Raja Ampat government and Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in development of manta ray protection regulations.

Mark now lives with his wife Arnaz and three children in Bali, and maintains a deep personal commitment to do whatever is necessary to ensure his children will be able to enjoy the same high-quality underwater experiences that continue to provide the inspiration for his dedication to the marine environment.

© 2017 Manta Trust