LAMAVE would be nothing without its dedicated and passionate team.  United by their drive for conservation many of our team are experts in their field, with a focus on science and communication. Interested in joining the team? Click here for open vacancies.

 
Dr Alessandro Ponzo  Executive Director  Dr. Ponzo began his career as an ethologist, completing his thesis on odontocete cognition. In 2002, he studied orca whales for a non-profit conservation organization in Alaska. In 2004, he was part of the first international expedition to search for the critically endangered Western Pacific Gray Whale along the Russian coast of the Bering Sea. In 2010, Dr. Ponzo founded the Large Marine Vertebrates Project in the Philippines, where he has been working tirelessly to conserve marine vertebrates in the Bohol Sea and throughout the country. Ale is a  Kinship Fellow  and a 2018  National Geographic Explorer .  DVM, University of Perugia, Italy

Dr Alessandro Ponzo

Executive Director

Dr. Ponzo began his career as an ethologist, completing his thesis on odontocete cognition. In 2002, he studied orca whales for a non-profit conservation organization in Alaska. In 2004, he was part of the first international expedition to search for the critically endangered Western Pacific Gray Whale along the Russian coast of the Bering Sea. In 2010, Dr. Ponzo founded the Large Marine Vertebrates Project in the Philippines, where he has been working tirelessly to conserve marine vertebrates in the Bohol Sea and throughout the country. Ale is a Kinship Fellow and a 2018 National Geographic Explorer.

DVM, University of Perugia, Italy

Gonzalo Araujo  Executive Director  Originally from Argentina, Gonzo pursued his studies in the UK, initially with a lab-based degree in biotechnology (BSc Hons), and then a spreadsheet-based MSc. Today he oversees LAMAVEs strategy on the conservation of whale sharks and turtles. He and the team are using a combination of minimally-invasive techniques (e.g. photo-ID, focal follows) and new technologies (e.g. 3D tags) to understand habitat use and distribution of these endangered species. He works closely with project leaders to achieve conservation outputs. Gonzo is a  Kinship Fellow.   MSc. Management Science & Operational Research, University of Warwick, UK  BSc. Biotechnology (Hons.), University of Nottingham, UK

Gonzalo Araujo

Executive Director

Originally from Argentina, Gonzo pursued his studies in the UK, initially with a lab-based degree in biotechnology (BSc Hons), and then a spreadsheet-based MSc. Today he oversees LAMAVEs strategy on the conservation of whale sharks and turtles. He and the team are using a combination of minimally-invasive techniques (e.g. photo-ID, focal follows) and new technologies (e.g. 3D tags) to understand habitat use and distribution of these endangered species. He works closely with project leaders to achieve conservation outputs. Gonzo is a Kinship Fellow.

MSc. Management Science & Operational Research, University of Warwick, UK

BSc. Biotechnology (Hons.), University of Nottingham, UK

Jessica Labaja  Executive Director  Jess grew up in Iligan, Mindanao, before embarking on a degree and career in IT in Manila. Realising her passion for marine conservation, she quit her job and volunteered with LAMAVE in 2012. She never looked back and today she is the country's leading female whale shark researcher.  Jess plays a vital role in LAMAVEs in-country strategy. She is also currently leading LAMAVE Rapid Bycatch Assessment across multiple sites.  BSc. Information and Communication Technology Management – De La Salle University Manila, Philippines

Jessica Labaja

Executive Director

Jess grew up in Iligan, Mindanao, before embarking on a degree and career in IT in Manila. Realising her passion for marine conservation, she quit her job and volunteered with LAMAVE in 2012. She never looked back and today she is the country's leading female whale shark researcher.

Jess plays a vital role in LAMAVEs in-country strategy. She is also currently leading LAMAVE Rapid Bycatch Assessment across multiple sites.

BSc. Information and Communication Technology Management – De La Salle University Manila, Philippines

Sally Snow  Executive Director  Both a Zoologist and a Filmmaker, Sally is incredibly passionate about science communication. She has worked with the BBC, National Geographic, PTS, S4C and is a two-time grantee of the  Conservation Media Group .  She oversees LAMAVEs media output from print, online to film. She is passionate about using conservation filmmaking as a tool for behavioural change and delivering stories that connect both people and the environment.  BSc. Zoology and Psychology, University of Bristol, UK

Sally Snow

Executive Director

Both a Zoologist and a Filmmaker, Sally is incredibly passionate about science communication. She has worked with the BBC, National Geographic, PTS, S4C and is a two-time grantee of the Conservation Media Group.

She oversees LAMAVEs media output from print, online to film. She is passionate about using conservation filmmaking as a tool for behavioural change and delivering stories that connect both people and the environment.

BSc. Zoology and Psychology, University of Bristol, UK

Eric Chocat  Finance Officer  Eric joined the LAMAVE team as Financial Advisor in 2017. New to the world of ocean conservation, he brings valuable experience of financial and operational management. Prior to LAMAVE, Eric worked at an international investment bank in London, assisting multinational companies on a wide range of advisory and financing assignments including some of the largest transactions in history.  MSc. Finance & Strategy, Sciences Po Paris, France  BSc. Accounting & Finance, Warwick Business School, UK

Eric Chocat

Finance Officer

Eric joined the LAMAVE team as Financial Advisor in 2017. New to the world of ocean conservation, he brings valuable experience of financial and operational management. Prior to LAMAVE, Eric worked at an international investment bank in London, assisting multinational companies on a wide range of advisory and financing assignments including some of the largest transactions in history.

MSc. Finance & Strategy, Sciences Po Paris, France

BSc. Accounting & Finance, Warwick Business School, UK

Sue Andrey Ong  Research Assistant: Rapid Bycatch Assessment (RBA)  Sue is Filipina marine conservationist. She came from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Mindanao. Sue was studying Biology at Xavier University located in her hometown. She is passionate about large marine mammals and she just joined LAMAVE as a Project Leader of Apo Island Turtles Research and Conservation Project.  BSc. Biology – Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

Sue Andrey Ong

Research Assistant: Rapid Bycatch Assessment (RBA)

Sue is Filipina marine conservationist. She came from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Mindanao. Sue was studying Biology at Xavier University located in her hometown. She is passionate about large marine mammals and she just joined LAMAVE as a Project Leader of Apo Island Turtles Research and Conservation Project.

BSc. Biology – Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

Joshua Rambahiniarison  Project Leader: Ray Fisheries  Josh grew up in the French Alps, though his roots are in Madagascar. A biology graduate with a passion for diving, Josh went on to study a masters in Sustainable Development, which included a year at the University of Reunion Island studying Biodiversity and Tropical Ecosystems. Josh's' main interest is elasmobranchs; he leads LAMAVE research on Mobulidae in the Bohol Sea.  MSc. in Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, University of Perpignan, France  BSc. Biology of Organisms and Populations, University of Lyon, France

Joshua Rambahiniarison

Project Leader: Ray Fisheries

Josh grew up in the French Alps, though his roots are in Madagascar. A biology graduate with a passion for diving, Josh went on to study a masters in Sustainable Development, which included a year at the University of Reunion Island studying Biodiversity and Tropical Ecosystems. Josh's' main interest is elasmobranchs; he leads LAMAVE research on Mobulidae in the Bohol Sea.

MSc. in Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, University of Perpignan, France

BSc. Biology of Organisms and Populations, University of Lyon, France

Mary Jane Lamoste  Researcher  Originally from the province of Southern Leyte, Philippines, MJ graduated with a BSc major in Marine Biology at the Visayas State University, Baybay City, Leyte. She joined LAMAVE in 2015, initially on the Mobulidae fishery project in Bohol as a Research Assistant. She is incredibly passionate about the marine environment and now she is a Project Leader for the Apo Island Turtle Project.  BSc. Marine Biology – Visayan State University, Baybay City, Philippines

Mary Jane Lamoste

Researcher

Originally from the province of Southern Leyte, Philippines, MJ graduated with a BSc major in Marine Biology at the Visayas State University, Baybay City, Leyte. She joined LAMAVE in 2015, initially on the Mobulidae fishery project in Bohol as a Research Assistant. She is incredibly passionate about the marine environment and now she is a Project Leader for the Apo Island Turtle Project.

BSc. Marine Biology – Visayan State University, Baybay City, Philippines

Ariana Agustines  Project Leader: Palawan & Souther Leyte Whale Sharks Project  Ariana was born in the Philippines where she learned to dive at the age of 13, which sparked her fascination for the colourful and diverse marine critters. She pursued a biology-based degree for her undergraduate course and later worked at Mote Marine Laboratories' Ecotoxicology and then Marine Microbiology lab. Her desire to help marine conservation efforts at home led her to join LAMAVE where she is currently the Project Leader for the Southern Leyte and Palawan Whale Shark Project.  MSc. Marine Biotechnology, Heriot Watt University, Scotland  BSc. Biology, Lafayette College, USA

Ariana Agustines

Project Leader: Palawan & Souther Leyte Whale Sharks Project

Ariana was born in the Philippines where she learned to dive at the age of 13, which sparked her fascination for the colourful and diverse marine critters. She pursued a biology-based degree for her undergraduate course and later worked at Mote Marine Laboratories' Ecotoxicology and then Marine Microbiology lab. Her desire to help marine conservation efforts at home led her to join LAMAVE where she is currently the Project Leader for the Southern Leyte and Palawan Whale Shark Project.

MSc. Marine Biotechnology, Heriot Watt University, Scotland

BSc. Biology, Lafayette College, USA

Christine “Tin” Legaspi  Project Leader: Cebu Whale Sharks and Turtles Project  Christine grew up in the busy and polluted Metro Manila, where she earned a degree in environmental science and pursued a career in environmental consultancy. Her passion for marine research and conservation made her leave the corporate city life. She is now based by the sea, leading LAMAVE’s Cebu whale shark research project.  BSc. Environmental Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Christine “Tin” Legaspi

Project Leader: Cebu Whale Sharks and Turtles Project

Christine grew up in the busy and polluted Metro Manila, where she earned a degree in environmental science and pursued a career in environmental consultancy. Her passion for marine research and conservation made her leave the corporate city life. She is now based by the sea, leading LAMAVE’s Cebu whale shark research project.

BSc. Environmental Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Ryan Murray  Project Leader: BRUVS  Originally from Ireland, Ryan has more recently acquired the nickname "Honorary Ranger" for his work studying sharks and rays with the rangers of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Ryan leads LAMAVEs work in both Tubbataha Reef Natural Park and Apo Reef National Park.  BSc. Zoology, National University of Ireland, Galway

Ryan Murray

Project Leader: BRUVS

Originally from Ireland, Ryan has more recently acquired the nickname "Honorary Ranger" for his work studying sharks and rays with the rangers of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Ryan leads LAMAVEs work in both Tubbataha Reef Natural Park and Apo Reef National Park.

BSc. Zoology, National University of Ireland, Galway

Jia Dollano  Project Leader: Apo Island Turtle Research and Conservation Project  Jia Dollano graduated with a bachelors degree in Biology at Ateneo de Naga University. She has strong will and drive to contribute good science for her country to safeguard its rich biodiversity. She also finds interest working with community, children, and schools to raise more awareness about the importance of conservation and sustainable practices.  BSc. Biology, Ateneo de Naga University

Jia Dollano

Project Leader: Apo Island Turtle Research and Conservation Project

Jia Dollano graduated with a bachelors degree in Biology at Ateneo de Naga University. She has strong will and drive to contribute good science for her country to safeguard its rich biodiversity. She also finds interest working with community, children, and schools to raise more awareness about the importance of conservation and sustainable practices.

BSc. Biology, Ateneo de Naga University

Titus “Tides” Cañete  Project Leader: Palawan Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project  A young biologist with a passion for preserving and protecting the environment, especially the marine realm. Tides studied biology for his undergraduate course and has since worked and volunteered with several environmental organizations in the Philippines. Tides’ deep passion for the ocean and the hidden life underneath its surface eventually led him to join LAMAVE, where he is currently the Project Leader for the Palawan Whale Shark Project. As one of the youngest of the team, he wishes to inspire youth everywhere that you’re never too young to make an impact for the environment.  BSc. Biology, Bicol University, Philippines

Titus “Tides” Cañete

Project Leader: Palawan Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project

A young biologist with a passion for preserving and protecting the environment, especially the marine realm. Tides studied biology for his undergraduate course and has since worked and volunteered with several environmental organizations in the Philippines. Tides’ deep passion for the ocean and the hidden life underneath its surface eventually led him to join LAMAVE, where he is currently the Project Leader for the Palawan Whale Shark Project. As one of the youngest of the team, he wishes to inspire youth everywhere that you’re never too young to make an impact for the environment.

BSc. Biology, Bicol University, Philippines

Joni Miranda  Project Leader: Donsol Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project  Joni has been an active environmentalist for a couple of Manila-based NGOs and non-profit organizations. Back in 2014, the marine animal strandings she encountered during her stay in Mindanao made her decide to shift careers and leave the comfort of the city to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. Proudly makabayan (patriotic) and makakalikasan (environmentalist), she thrives in community immersions and is passionate about the sustainable management of the Filipino's marine resources.  BSc. Marine Biology, Surigao del Sur State University - Lianga Campus, Philippines

Joni Miranda

Project Leader: Donsol Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project

Joni has been an active environmentalist for a couple of Manila-based NGOs and non-profit organizations. Back in 2014, the marine animal strandings she encountered during her stay in Mindanao made her decide to shift careers and leave the comfort of the city to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. Proudly makabayan (patriotic) and makakalikasan (environmentalist), she thrives in community immersions and is passionate about the sustainable management of the Filipino's marine resources.

BSc. Marine Biology, Surigao del Sur State University - Lianga Campus, Philippines

Lorraine Aplasca  Project Coordinator: Turtle Photo-ID Citizen Science  Lorraine is a professional nomad who sustains her lifestyle by working on freelance market research projects. Realizing her love for the water and the creatures that inhabit it, she decided to pursue a role in marine conservation. She first joined LAMAVE in 2017 as a research assistant for the Panglao Dophin Project. She now coordinates with citizen scientists to build an ID catalogue of marine turtles in the Philippines.  BSc Management, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Lorraine Aplasca

Project Coordinator: Turtle Photo-ID Citizen Science

Lorraine is a professional nomad who sustains her lifestyle by working on freelance market research projects. Realizing her love for the water and the creatures that inhabit it, she decided to pursue a role in marine conservation. She first joined LAMAVE in 2017 as a research assistant for the Panglao Dophin Project. She now coordinates with citizen scientists to build an ID catalogue of marine turtles in the Philippines.

BSc Management, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

Steve De Neef  Conservation and Documentary Photographer  Steve is an award-winning conservation and documentary photographer with a keen interest in anything related to the oceans and seas. His images have been published worldwide (Asian Diver, Asian Geographic Guide to Great Photography, FOCUS Italy, DUIKEN, National Geographic Traveller, Sportdiver...) he is currently the assistant of renowned National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry. Through photography and video, Steve tries to create more awareness about environmental issues while also showing the beauty of our planet. He has been working with LAMAVE since 2012.

Steve De Neef

Conservation and Documentary Photographer

Steve is an award-winning conservation and documentary photographer with a keen interest in anything related to the oceans and seas. His images have been published worldwide (Asian Diver, Asian Geographic Guide to Great Photography, FOCUS Italy, DUIKEN, National Geographic Traveller, Sportdiver...) he is currently the assistant of renowned National Geographic Photographer Brian Skerry. Through photography and video, Steve tries to create more awareness about environmental issues while also showing the beauty of our planet. He has been working with LAMAVE since 2012.

Research Assistants

Freya Wilson, Research Assistant, Donsol Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project

Freya Scrowston, Research Assistant, Southern Leyte & Palawan Whale Shark Research and Conservation Project


Collaborators