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MMOA Executive Committee

The MMOA Executive Committee works to represent the Association's members. Under the clear mandate of the MMOA membership, the committee will form policy true to the stated aims and conduct day-to-day affairs. The MMOA Executive Committee is made up of the following experienced MMOs:

Neil Niru Dorrian, Patrick Lyne, Dr. Carolyn Barton, Juliet Vines, Ed Oliver, Wanda BodnarHeather Fowle, Monica Arancibia, Mike Ambler, Peter Nilsson and Enda McKeough.

Current Committee Members


 Niru Dorrian

 

Neil Niru Dorrian (Chair)
 
Neil is a marine mammal biologist and a Co-Founding Director at Whalefish - an international non-profit marine conservation and research organisation. Neil has over 10 years experience specialising in marine mammal fieldwork, conservation and media. Neil is experienced in cetacean survey methods, including PAM and photo ID. The past 8 years has seen Neil work on over 30 offshore projects around the world. He also has extensive experience in marine mammal stranding research, rescue and rehabilitation of delphinid and pinniped species and works regularly with international stranding organisations in Europe and the United States. His professional interests include: marine mammal stranding research, aquatic pathology, anthropogenic impacts on marine mammal health and animal rescue.

 

 

 

Ed Oliver (Vice-Chair)
 
Ed has a marine biology background and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since 2009 on numerous projects around the world in the oil and gas exploration and renewable sectors. Specialising in PAM and bioacousics, Ed has gained a wealth of experience as a contractor and working for Seiche where he was involved in a wide range of projects from tech support to testing emerging technology systems and writing and delivering training courses. Ed has been involved in conservation from a young age and has volunteered as a marine mammal surveyor for MARINElife.

 

 Carolyn Barton

 

 

Dr. Carolyn Barton
 
Following a PhD on barnacles Carolyn spent 5 years with the JNCC's Seabirds at Sea Team, but has spent the last 20 years working in MMO-related areas. She has substantial experience working as an MMO covering seismic surveys, drilling, dredging and pile-driving operations. She has been an accredited MMO trainer since 1996 and has trained over 2000 MMOs. She has been involved with the development of the JNCC guidelines for seismic surveys and designed the JNCC Marine Mammal Recording Forms. She has created and analysed JNCC's database of MMO data from UK waters, most recently using a 15 year dataset to examine the effects of seismic airguns on marine mammals and compliance with the JNCC guidelines.

 

 

 

Wanda Bodnar (Secretary)
 
Wanda is a marine scientist with a wide range of experience working in both academic and industrial environments. She holds a master's degree in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Wanda has been involved in offshore and coastal surveys of marine mammals and seabirds, shorebirds and benthic invertebrates and plankton. She has experience in developing and implementing marine mammal mititgation plan according to government and industrial regulations: deployment of acoustic deterrence devices, visual (MMO) and passive acoustic (PAM) monitoring of marine mammal activity and real-time underwater noise monitoring during the construction of offshore windfarms and substations, and seismic surveys. In 2016 she became accredited as a Registered Marine Scientist by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST). In addition to her professional work, she dedicates her free time to Thames Estuary Partnership, Thames21, Hungarian Marine Biology Society and Whalesfish - an international non-profit marine conservation and research organization, where she holds the Communications Officer position. She is also an assessment specialist at Cambridge International Examinations.

 

 

Juliet Vines (Treasurer)
 
Having spent several years volunteering and working for the RSPB, Juliet started working offshore undertaking bird and cetacean surveys on prospective wind farm sites. This led to working as a MMO and eight enjoyable years working all over the world. She was involved several times in the training of local MMOs on board ship, thanks to an abilility to speak French fluently.  She is now retired from the industry but keen to remain involved and contribute to the association.  Lucky to live on the Isle of Mull, recently voted 4th out of the top 10 places to watch cetaceans in Europe, she is a volunteer at the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.

 

Patrick Lyne

 

 

Patrick Lyne
 
Patrick has been involved with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and recording marine mammal sightings around Ireland since 2005. He has worked as a MMO in the seismic industry since 2008. Currently working for the IWDG as their MMO Coordinator he is aiming to place suitably qualified MMOs for work in Irish waters whilst also creating a small profit to support the group’s efforts. He is committed to better understanding cetaceans and geophysical survey and has been fortunate to work with cetaceans in various locations around the world.
 

 

 Heather Fowle


 

 

Heather Fowle
 
Heather is a passionate marine biologist and ecologist who has been extensively involved with conservation, environmental protection and biodiversity enhancement in marine, riparian and terrestrial environments. Heather was Research Assistant for the NGO CMMR Leviathan in Chile focusing on cetacean conservation and the analysis of vocalizations of Pseudorca crassidens; a Marine Mammal Medic with BDLMR and a volunteer MMO with Marine Life. Heather also worked to protect coral reef habitat in the Red Sea for the NGO HEPCA (Hurghada Environmental Protection Conservation Association). Heather began working as an MMO/PSO in 2011 after working as a Technical Officer Biodiversity with the Environment Agency. She has been fortunate to work all around the world and strives to learn more about issues facing the marine habitat, its fauna and its conservation.

 

 

 

 

Monica Arancibia
 
Monica has worked as a MMO and PAM Operator since 2012, leading a team of observers in the Gulf of Mexico and Falkland Islands. She has continued to work and volunter in various roles to study the health and behaviour of various terrestial and marine species for over 15 years. She has travelled extensively in various roles, which has given her insight into different approaches to understanding ecology, conservation and managment. Most recently she helped with collecting marine mammal data in the south of Chile and parts of Patagonia.
 

 
 

 

Mike Ambler
 
Mike is originally from Yorkshire but has been based in Wales for most of his adult life. Mike completed an undergraduate degree in Aquatic Biology at the University of Aberystwyth and then went on to earn an MSc in Applied Hydrobiology at Cardiff University where he studied the importance of terrestial invertebrates as a food source to wild native salmon and trout populations. After a spell as a biologist with the Environment Agency Wales, Mike trained to become a teacher and taught secondary school science for almost a decade before moving into the offshore consultancy business in 2010. Mike is an experienced MMO, PAM Operator and Environmental Scientist, and has undertaken many offshore projects around Africa and Europe. Mike has conducted marine mammal surveys in the Bay of Biscay and devotes a lot of spare time to conservation work with the Wildlife Trusts.

 

PBN pic

 

Peter Nilsson
 
Peter is a marine ecologist with 20 yeas' experience in cetacean and seabird research as well as in developing and implementing mitigation measures during commercial activities. He received a BSc in Marine Biology at Hawaii Pacific University and a MSc in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Peter has worked on multiple cetacean research projects over the years which has included studies on the population biology of killer whales in the Bering Sea and Bottlenose dolphins in central California. He worked as a researcher and survey coordinator on a US Navy commissioned project on the distribution and abundance of marine mammals and sea turtles in proposed offshore navy exercise sites off the US East Coast. After four years in this role, Peter transitioned into the oil and gas industry as MMO during offshore seismic surveys under several different mitigation protocols. Since 2013, Peter has worked as an Environmental Advisor for a national oil company on the Arabian Peninsula, overseeing the environmental aspects of operations during several seismic projects. He has co-developed mitigation guidelines during surveys in the Arabian Gulf and established environmental monitoring protocols for marine and terrestrial seismic operations in the region.

 

Enda Mckeogh

 

Enda McKeough
 
Enda is a graduate of the Freshwater & Marine Biology degree (BSc Hons) in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. His work as a project manager for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has allowed him to gain experience in a range of projects such as baseline studies for potential offshore renewables, fisheries bycatch studies and marine mammal mitigation projects. Enda has participated in and led numerous visual and acoustic marine mammal surveys and has accumulated over 100 weeks of at sea marine mammal observations. Over the last four years, he has worked on mitigation projects across a number of industries around the world, mainly in the role as PAM technician but also as MMO. Enda is an active member of the IWDG sightings and strandings schemes as well as the Irish Basking Shark Study Group.
   

 

We would also like to thank everyone else who has contributed valuable assistance and advice in the development of the MMOA either as previous committee members or experts in the industry, namely Sarah Dolman, Mark Simmonds, Zoe Crutchfield, Craig Bloomer, Chris Pierpoint, Richard Woodcock, Michael Unwin, Caroline Weir, Jacklyn Barrs, Juliet Shrimpton, Alison Gill, Claire Lacey, Heather McRae, Sarah Barry, Phil Johnston, Simon Mustoe, Els Vermeulen, Ruth Esteban, Urslua Pena, Frances Robertson and Diana Antochiw.