The faces behind the project

Core team

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. Since then, Stella works full-time on the project.
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.
Hélio Benjara
Education Officer
Bruno was born in Nosy Be and is very involved with the youth community on the island. He leads our education programme, the "Guardians of the Oceans", where he delivers the school programme and leads the Saturday activities.
Costika Fidiarisandratra
Scientific Assistant
Léonce is a master student at the Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines (IH.SM). He is studying the spatio-temporal distribution of whale sharks in Nosy Be.
Haingo Andriamampionona
Survey Officer
Originally from an education background,Tiana joined us in 2019, helping to collect surveys from both fishermen and tourists
Social Media
Tine first visited Madagascar as a tourist in 2017 and then volunteered in 2018. Since has been managing social media content thanks to her extensive experience in this field.
Data Assistant
Claire first came to Nosy Be in 2016 and since has been involved with the project, helping us process photo-IDs from France through the season.
Administration & Translation
Alexandra is a translator and copy-editor for the IUCN and UNEP, and helps us translate our content. An avid amateur photographer and enthusiastic traveler, she volunteered with MWSP in 2018.
IT & Data
Stéphane is an IT genius and is helping us coordinate data entry thanks to his professional experience in this domain. He volunteered in 2018.

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-both in the field and remotely !

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

Les Baleines Rand’eau
Partner Operator and Co-founder
Tanguy and Arthur Guillemain d'Echon 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 have since welcomed the MWSP’s field team on their boats every day.
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.
MADA Megafauna
Partner NGO
Elina Sourisseau is the co-founder and coordinator of MADA Megafauna, a local NGO who we collaborate with on both the volunteer programme and the education programme. This year the NGO will focus on expanding the education’s activities across the island.

Project Collaborators

Dr. Chris A. Rohner
Principal Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Foundation
Dr. Jackie Ziegler
Researcher at the Marine Protected Areas Research Group at the University of Victoria
Professor Andrew Brierley
Professor at the Pelagic Ecology Research Group, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews
Dr. Jesse Cochran
Research Scientist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Project friends