Dr. Jahson Alemu I – Director
Jahson is marine ecologist with over a decade of experience coral reef ecology, marine conservation, the blue economy and ecosystem services assessments. Jahson has worked primarily with coral reefs, but his interests also include seagrasses and mangroves ecosystems in the Caribbean and Pacific. Before joining SpeSeas, Jahson led coral reef studies in Trinidad and Tobago for over five years including work on the invasive lionfish, coral bleaching, reef fisheries and coastal protection, culminating in the completion of his doctoral work on the sustainability of the blue economy of Tobago. Currently, he is is studying the impact of rapid urbanisation on the functioning of coastal ecosystems on small island nations.
Follow Jahson on Twitter @jahson_alemu.
Dr. Diva Amon – Director
Diva is a deep-sea biologist working at the nexus of science, policy, and communication. She studies the weird and wonderful animals living in a range of deep-sea habitats and how our actions are impacting them. She also participates in expeditions around the world and has an extensive science communication and outreach record with her work featured on National Geographic, CNN International, BBC World, etc. She is a 2020 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a Pew-Bertarelli Ocean Ambassador, a Co-Lead of the DOSI Minerals Working Group, and a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum in London.
Follow Diva on Twitter @divaamon and Instagram @diva_amon, or visit her website https://divaamon.com/.
Dr. Michelle Cazabon-Mannette – Director
Michelle is the local expert on sea turtle biology and conservation in Trinidad and Tobago, with a Ph.D. in Environmental Biology from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. Her Ph.D. research on sea turtles offshore Tobago was the first study of its kind locally, where research and conservation efforts have previously focused on nesting beaches. She investigated issues critical for management and conservation through the application of diverse disciplines such as ecology, population genetics and environmental economics. Michelle began her professional career as a research officer at a sea turtle NGO, and she currently works at an environmental consultancy as a Project Manager where she has gained significant experience conducting Environmental Impact Assessments and ecological studies in a variety of habitats. She continues to be actively involved in sea turtle conservation through her voluntary role as Technical Advisor to Save Our Sea turtles (SOS) Tobago. While Michelle’s research has largely focused on sea turtles, she is driven by a broader interest in marine ecology and is passionate about closing the gap between research and management of our natural resources.
Follow Michelle on Twitter @turtlegirl_TT.
Mr. Ryan Mannette – Director
Ryan is a marine scientist and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist with a M.Sc. degree in Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management from the University of Trinidad and Tobago and over fifteen years of experience employing GIS in a diverse range of applications from utility management to ecological modelling. One of his main goals is to encourage the use of GIS in the management of our coastal and ocean environments to enhance the decision-making process and lead to more sustainable use of our natural resources. He has volunteered with several research projects, providing GIS expertise, technical advice and fieldwork assistance, including conducting ecological surveys using both SCUBA and sonar technology. From 2003 to 2016, Ryan was a key member of the team involved in the planning and management of the NIHERST Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF). As a Chaperone/Coordinator at the forum, he got the opportunity to interact with young scientists and act as a mentor helping to guide them along their chosen career path, or helping those who were yet to decide to choose a path. He is passionate about science, especially marine and environmental science, and working with students to help prepare them for the challenges that they may face in their future careers.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanMannette and Instagram @rev_photo_tt.
Dr. Farahnaz Solomon – Director
Farahnaz is a marine biologist with B.Sc. and M.Phil. degrees in Zoology from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and a Ph.D. degree in Marine Sciences from the University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal. Her professional career spans over ten years during which she has worked for both governmental and non-governmental organisations including the Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, and the Buccoo Reef Trust, Tobago. Her work has focused on the management of coastal and marine resources, including extensive engagement with stakeholders to increase management of these resources. She has a special interest in the science and management of tropical biodiversity and would like the average citizen to understand the relationship between biodiversity and the ecosystem goods and services they provide, especially with respect to livelihoods. It is only through this appreciation that positive changes can be made to sustainably manage our coastal and marine resources. Her other areas of interest are the fisheries management of pelagics, the effects of climate change on fisheries and the design and implementation of marine protected areas.
Follow Farahnaz on Twitter @FarahnazSolomon and Instagram @farahnaz.solomon.
Dr. Anjani Ganase – Associate member
Anjani Ganase is a coral reef ecologist who specialises in understanding spatial patterns in coral reefs and the drivers of these changes. She did her PhD at the Global Change Institute, Healthy Oceans Programme at the University of Queensland, Australia, working on the XL Catlin Seaview Survey project. She used the imagery data collected from the project and stored in the Global Reef Record to understand the spatial arrangement of reef communities and their structural complexity along shallow Caribbean reefs slopes that are driven by wave exposure and the potential consequences it has on connectivity at broader spatial scales. She is passionate about communicating science to broader audiences to influence appreciation and use of the marine world. Anjani writes a weekly column for the Tobago Newsday collected in the blog, Wild Tobago.
Follow Anjani on Twitter @AnjGanase and Instagram @wildtobago.