Stella Diamant, MSc
Project Founder & Leader
After first working with WWF Madagascar in 2011 as part of a fisheries project, Stella was drawn back to Africa and visited the continent on various occasions while working on conservation projects. On another visit to Madagascar in 2014 after graduating with an MSc from Imperial College in London, Stella saw the potential for a research project investigating the yet unstudied whale shark population found in Nosy Be and started investigating opportunities to form partnerships and initiate the MWSP. Stella joined the MMF whale shark team for their Tanzanian field season in 2015 and has been putting together the MWSP’s first season, as well as leading the first field season in Nosy Be. Stella now manages the MWSP and will be coming back to Nosy Be in September 2017 to lead the project’s second season and a team of volunteers.
Simon J. Pierce, PhD
Project Supervisor & Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation
Simon began working on whale sharks in 2005 off Tofo, Mozambique. His international work on the population ecology and management of this iconic species has made him a world expert on whale shark conservation. Simon co-founded the Marine Megafauna Foundation in 2012, where he is a Principal Scientist, and is currently a regional co-chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and science advisor to the Wildbook for Whale Sharks global photo-identification library. You can find out more about Simon’s work on his marine biology and photography website, and he regularly updates his Facebook page and Instagram account from the field.
Jeremy J. Kiszka, PhD
Project Supervisor & Research 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 French Polynesia, in the western Indian Ocean and in the Caribbean. He also serves as an expert for the Shark Specialist Group of the IUCN. In 2016, he initiated the Global FinPrint project activities in Madagascar, and facilitated the inception of the MWSP thanks to his extensive experience in Madagascar. Jeremy has published more than 60 scientific papers, book chapters, and the recently published book Sharks and Rays: a field guide to common elasmobranchs of East Africa.
Tanguy & Arthur Guillemain d’Echon
Tanguy and Arthur have been leading ecotourism trips around Nosy Be since 2001 as well as collecting photo-IDs since 2015. They were instrumental in organising the MWSP’s first season in 2016, and welcomed the Research team on their boats every day with captains Pat, Black and Franck and guides Boris and Juliet.
Elina is the coordinator of Mada Megafauna, our partner NGO in Nosy Be. She is helping us with the establishment of a code of conduct in Nosy Be, as well as organising outreach campaigns with operators and communities.
Field Assistants – 2016
Fadia Al Abbar previously studied whale sharks with LAMAVE and studied dolphin acoustics for her MSc in Marine Ressource Management at Wageningen University.
Jens Paulsen has been investigating whale shark energetics with MMF in Tanzania for his MSc thesis at the University of Bremen.
The MWSP Team in October 2016 with, from Baleines Rand’eau skippers; Patrick, Fernand and Frank, then from left to right; Stella, Arthur, Juliet, Tanguy and Jens
Les Baleines Ass’eau – The Malagasy NGO was founded by Les Baleines Rand’eau to further study and protect marine wildlife in the Nosy Be region. The team provided invaluable logistic support necessary to develop the MWSP.
Madagascar Centre National de Recherches Océanographiques (CNRO) – The National Center for Oceanographic Research in Madagascar, based in Nosy Be. The Center provides logistic support for fieldwork.