Helga Bårdsdatter Kristiansen– Norway
Helga Bårdsdatter Kristiansen is a biologist that lives in Longyearbyen, Svalbard working in tourism as a manager for a wilderness camp for Spitsbergen Travel. She loves the outdoors and the wild and barren landscape of the Arctic Island. She was born in Telemark, Norway, a place rich with forests, and has always had a fascination for nature. She went to agriculture high school and knows how to use a chain saw and drive a tractor. Biology studies in Oslo brought her to Svalbard for the first time where she fell in love the island. She returned in the summer of 2012 where she met her boyfriend and with love at first sight she stayed in Svalbard since. Here she has worked as a guide for hiking groups, snow mobile tours and city guiding before she became a manager for Camp Barentz. Helga’s Greenland dog Miki gets her out and about and alerts her of polar bear danger when they are skiing, dog sledging and hiking. Her boyfriend Stuart Thomson has taught her patience, in that hiking with a photographer takes 4 times as long as normal trip!
Miguel Rodríguez-Gironés - Spain
Miguel’s longing for unspoiled environments and face-to-face encounters with Nature made him quit research in Theoretical Physics and start a new career in Behavioural Ecology. This switch allowed him to climb 30 m high palm trees in the Bolivian rain forest, observe quarrelsome booby chicks in a tiny island off the Mexican Pacific coast, wash elephant dung in Sri Lanka, follow arboreal marsupials in Patagonia and study penguins in Deception Island. He loves sailing and hiking and in his next life will be a bohemian fiction writer and live in a small wooden ship with no fixed mooring. In the meanwhile, he is a researcher at the Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Spain, where he studies pollination ecology and insect colour vision. He has taught summer and graduate courses on Animal Behaviour (Universidad de Córdoba, Spain), Biological Materials (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) and Vision Ecology (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
Simon Delany - UK
Simon grew up on the English south coast where he developed a passion for nature, particularly birds. A degree in geography was followed by three expeditions to the Himalayas to study bird migration, and two and a half years on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia working with albatrosses, penguins and fur seals. Subsequent work with three nature conservation organizations involved a move to The Netherlands, and he now lives with his family in a house overlooking the floodplain of the river Rhine. Simon has published widely, including a prize-winning book (2010), and these days he runs a one-man consultancy specializing in biodiversity conservation and writing, as well as exciting opportunities such as Hurtigruten Expeditions.
Martin Collins - UK
Martin graduated in Zoology at Reading University in 1989 and in early 1990 took up a position as a Fishery Observer in the Falkland Islands. After a year in the Falklands and a bit of time out to sail across the Atlantic he did a PhD on squid ecology at University College, Cork. Subsequent research work focussed on cephalopod ecology and deep-sea fish behaviour and ecology. He joined BAS as a marine ecologist in June 2002 to work on the Scotia Sea ecosystem. This position has led him to visit South Georgia on many occasions and has also led to his involvement in South Georgia fisheries as a member of the UK delegation to the Scientific Committee of Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources
Martin served six years as Chief Executive and Director of Fisheries Martin Collins left GSGSSI. He lead the Government’s efforts in the restoration of South Georgia’s native habitats including the reindeer eradication project, designation of the Marine Protected Area and transformation of the fishery which led to the recent unconditional re-certification of the toothfish fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council making it one of the best managed fisheries in the world.
He was awarded an OBE (OBE is an initialism for Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a grade within the British order of chivalry) in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his services to science and conservation in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
Francis Wiese - Switzerland
Born in Switzerland, Francis moved to Mexico at the age of ten. There he discovered his love and passion for the oceans and eventually moved to Victoria, Canada to finish his undergraduate degree in Biology. After several years of chasing sharks in the Bahamas, whales on Georges Bank, seabirds in the North Sea, or working as a taxi driver, bar keeper, or chimney installer he moved his family to Galapagos, where he lived and worked as a dive instructor, guide and occasional translator on tourist boats. He then returned to Canada where he obtained his Ph.D. in marine ecology for his work on chronic oil pollution and its impacts on seabird populations. After a two-year post-doc at the University of Washington, he moved to Alaska. Francis currently works as the Science Director for the North Pacific Research Board where he designs and implements marine ecosystem and climate change related research studies in the North Pacific, Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
Alejandra Núñez-de la Mora - Mexico
Alejandra was born and spent a happy urban childhood in Mexico City. During her undergraduate years, she fell under the spell of wild places while studying the Blue-Footed Boobies in Isla Isabel off the Mexican Pacific coast. Over the past decade, she has followed the birds to other remote islands and has spent several wet, cold and exhilarating field seasons in Labrador, Newfoundland and the Aleutians, and a couple of hot and sticky ones in the Costa Rican rainforest. After a year of gypsy life traveling through Asia, she moved to England where she obtained a PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of London for her research on the reproductive ecology and evolution of her fellow humans.
Jaime Garcia Moreno - Mexico
Expert biologist with a decade of nature conservation experience within international environmental NGOs, and 20 years of practice with academic research. An independent and creative worker with success in developing, coordinating, managing and facilitating teams across disciplines, cultures, and languages. Has effectively brought together partners towards achieving common goals in different and challenging settings.
Jaime has been passionate about animals for as long as he remembers. He was born in Mexico but never assumed that he had to stay there. And so he has managed to live in eight different countries around the world and to visit all continents except Oceania, always making time to watch birds or any other creature popping by. He received his PhD from the University of Copenhagen for his research on the species forming process among mountain birds in the tropical Andes, trying to understand how on earth so many different birds came to be there. He has also done research on feathered creatures at the University of Michigan, shedding light on the avian family tree, and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology to better understand bird migration. The past decade he has devoted completely to protect nature's species and spaces around the entire world, which he has seen shrink dramatically in many places in the tropics. He is still happiest in nature, whether in remote places or in his backyard, currently in the Netherlands.
Bernard Lefauconnier - France
Bernard was first assistant professor in Economics at the University of Caen, in France, including also one year in Quebec. While he was director of an Alpine centre in Savoie, France for three years, his interest progressed from sport activities to the environment. Then, Bernard started new university studies at the University of Grenoble and became a glaciologist, specialist on Arctic glaciers and the link between glaciers and climate. After his Ph.D. he has worked as a researcher with the Norwegian Polar Institute in Oslo and the Laboratory of Glaciology in Grenoble. As a director of Research, he has initiated three European projects in the Arctic and has been French representative at the International Arctic Scientific Committee - IASC. He has also been professor at the University of Silesia in Poland. In 25 years, Bernard has led a number of national and international field scientific campaigns, mainly in Svalbard but has also participated to expeditions in Greenland, Baffin Land and Franz Joseph Land. He established a new French Arctic station in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Today, Bernard is writing pedagogic booklets and gives lectures to public of all ages. Bernard has leisure qualifications in sailing and mountaineering and is a good singer.
Detlef Damaske - Germany
Detlef received his PhD in geophysics and lectured as assistant at the Berlin Free University before taking up a full-time position at the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Hannover. Though initially this employment which included actively working in the Antarctic was meant for only one field season, it turned out that - apart from two geophysical 4-month assignments in Botswana and Zimbabwe - all his career was to be in the polar regions.
As a scientist he has participated in 8 expeditions to the Arctic and 21 expeditions to the Antarctic – the majority of these lasting several months - being responsible for the airborne geophysical research including the logistic implementation. He played a leading role in several international campaigns, most outstanding the IPY (International Polar Year) 2008/09 flagship project AGAP (Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Province) exploring with airborne geophysics a mountain range totally under the ice in central Antarctica.
For more than 20 years he served as German representative to SCAR’S (Scientific Committee of Antarctic Research) Geoscience Standing Scientific Group which he chaired for four years. He was advisor to the German delegation to the ATCM (Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting) and member of several other international committees.
Currently he is chair of the SCAR Expert Group on Antarctic Digital Magnetic Mapping project. On a national base he is chairing the science advisory board of the German Society of Polar Research.
Liselotte Kahrs - Norway
Liselotte was born in Bergen, Norway, and for the past few years has been on the move exploring new places. She obtained her teacher´s certificate in Outdoor Education in 2013, where part of her studies took place in Svalbard. There she completed training as an Arctic Nature Guide. She has been working as a sea kayak guide and instructor since 2009.
Liselotte has spent quality time kayaking on the Norwegian fjords, the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean down in Chile as well as up in British Colombia.