Director (maternity cover)
Alison joined the Trust in September 2015 as HWDT's Deputy Director and Education Officer. Alison has a degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Essex and previously worked in marketing and project management.
During a volunteer placement with WDC in 2010 she encountered her first wild dolphin (and loved it!); inspiring her passion for whale and dolphin conservation and a career change. Since then she has worked as Education Officer for ORCA, starting up the charities first community-based education project in the North East of England and as Conservation Officer for WDC based in the Moray Firth.
The Director post is generously funded by The John Ellerman Foundation.
Director (maternity leave)
Gemma took up the role of Director in September 2014 after more than six years working at HWDT. Starting out as Education Assistant in April 2008, Gemma graduated to the role of Education Officer and was also working in fundraising before taking maternity leave in 2013.
Prior to working with the Trust, Gemma gained an MSc in Ecology at the University of Aberdeen where her studies focused on cetacean ecology and she was employed in the south of England in the field of marine environmental education. She has more recently completed her PGCE in secondary science at the University of Leicester.
The Director post is generously funded by The John Ellerman Foundation.
Volunteer Coordinator & Marketing Officer
Morven is tasked with recruiting and managing volunteers - both land based placements and aboard Silurian. Morven is also charged with promoting the Trust and managing the image libraries. She is also responsible for managing the Trust's membership and sponsorship schemes and engaging with supporters.
Prior to working with the Trust, Morven gained a BSc in Environmental Management and Technology from Heriot Watt University. Before moving to the Isle of Mull, Morven had no idea that Hebridean seas were so diverse. She became involved with the Trust as a volunteer in 2006 and quickly learned how special the local marine environment was.
Community Engagement Officer
Pippa is responsible for HWDT’s Engagement Department, and has been part of the team since June 2014, after graduating from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Human Physiology (International). Having worked as HWDT’s Education Officer prior to this role, Pippa is experienced in delivering environmental education to a wide variety of audiences. Prior to this role, Pippa worked as the Youth Worker at Tobermory High School, supporting the school to deliver new accredited learning opportunities. She has also been involved in a number of marine conservation projects abroad, travelling to countries such as South Africa, Australia, Bali and the Maldives to assist with data collection and photo identification of cetaceans, manta rays and whale sharks. Since moving to the Isle of Mull, Pippa has fallen in love with headland watching, so can frequently be found looking out to sea, at her local headland.
Pippa's post is generously funded by Coastal Communities Fund.
Dr Lauren Hartny-Mills
Lauren joined the HWDT team in June 2016 to continue work on developing the Community Sightings Network. Previously Lauren was the Research Coordinator and General Manager at the Atlantic Whale Foundation (AWF) where she collected all of the data for her PhD, which she completed earlier this year. Lauren’s PhD used data collected by citizen scientists on-board whale watching boats to investigate the site fidelity, social structure and distribution of short-finned pilot whales off the south west coast of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Prior to this Lauren studied for a degree in Marine Biology at the University of Portsmouth. Her main research interests are the use of non-invasive research methods and citizen science to study cetaceans. In her spare time, Lauren loves to be outside exploring nature and watching wildlife.
Lauren’s post is generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Dr Frazer Coomber
Marine Biodiversity Officer
Frazer began working for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in January 2016. In the past he has worked on several whale watching and scientific research boats around the world. His main research interests are the effects of anthropogenic impacts on marine life. He completed his PhD at the University of Genoa in April 2016, on the topic of assessing impacts of maritime traffic noise pollution on Cuvier’s beaked whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Previous to this he studied at the University of Bangor, Wales where he learnt ecological habitat modelling techniques using harbour porpoise sightings in Cardigan Bay. Besides his interest in marine mammals Frazer is also a keen climber, outdoor and water sports enthusiast.
Frazer's post is generously funded by Scottish Natural Heritage.
After qualifying as a Yachtmaster in 2009, Edd took an opportunity to sail on Song of the Whale, observing his first whale in 2010 and later qualifying as an instructor. After a period skippering on yacht deliveries, he went on to work with St Andrews University and the expedition yacht Pelagic Australis in the Southern Ocean in 2012. During this time he visited a number of exciting places, but decided to go back to Song of the Whale after finding he missed the research aspect of the work. Edd’s jobs and hobbies have taken him all over the world, often under sail; he has sailed about 70,000nm! In 2014 Edd worked on board Silurian for the first time and recently completed his WiSe Scheme skipper’s course. Edd will be the main skipper on Silurian in 2015. When Edd is not at sea he is normally working on boat maintenance or on holiday either scuba diving, surfing, rock climbing, snowboarding or mountaineering.
The Boat Manager post is generously funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.
Visitor Centre Manager
Pauline joined HWDT in 2014 working as a seasonal assistant in the shop and visitor centre. She took over the management role in the summer of 2015. As a long-term supporter of environmental charities, with a keen interest in the natural world, Pauline has taken a change of direction from education to join HWDT. She is currently studying an honours degree with the Open University to complement her work with the Trust.
The Visitor Centre Manager post is generously funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.
Karen joined the Trust in December 2015 and works part time as HWDT’s Finance Officer. Karen can be found in the office paying invoices, wages and fending off utility company sales calls.
Outside of the Trust, Karen enjoys exploring Mull, trying to get her dog round dog agility courses and photography. Karen is also a keen cake decorator and is the proud winner of both the MishNish Bake Off and the Novelty Cake section of the Tobermory Horticultural Society Flower Show.
Zoe graduated from Swansea University in 2011 with a degree in Marine Biology and a desire to work with cetaceans in some capacity. She volunteered on research projects in New Zealand and Egypt before discovering she enjoyed talking to people about the animals more than the actual research! Zoe then switched her focus to environmental education and her most recent stint abroad was at Barrier Island Environmental Education Centre in South Carolina. There she taught 5th Graders all about the natural environment through hands-on learning and loved getting wet and muddy along with the children.
Zoe has been passionate about dolphins since she was tiny and can’t wait to share her passion for these animals through her work with the trust.
Zoe's post is generously funded by The Robertson Trust and Ernest Cook Trust.
Visitor Centre Assistant
Ella has newly joined the Trust as Visitor Centre Assistant. Her love of Cetaceans began as a child, watching porpoises off the coast of West Wales. It was here that she enrolled on her first cetacean surveying course - since then she has been hooked on working with and helping others to learn more about these enigmatic marine mammals.
Ella graduated in 2014 with an MSc in Environmental Biology, Conservation and Resource Management from Swansea University. During her studies, she focused her research in part, on harbour porpoise behaviour in tidal race. Between studies in 2011, Ella took up a position as Wildlife Tourguide at Seafari Adventures in the Inner Hebrides. It was in this role that she fell in love with the West coast and also saw her first Baleen Whale - a moment so exciting that she almost fell in the sea. She has also worked across the Bay of Biscay as a Wildlife Officer for ORCA and for the past year she has worked supporting Wildlife Productions as Operations Co-ordinator at a camera hire facility. Ella is delighted to be back engaging with the public on a one to one basis in conservation again.
Ella's post is generously funded by the Coastal Communitys Fund.
Charly has recently joined us as first mate after working for two seasons on the 30 metre Brig T.S Royalist. She has always loved the sea, having been involved with Sea Cadets from the age of 10 and is excited to combine this passion with cetacean research. “Seeing dolphins is always spectacular and I can’t wait to learn more about them. I can’t even imagine what it is like to encounter a whale!”. After taking part in the recent UHI and Education trips on board Silurian, Charly is now off to take part in an international exchange with the Spirit of New Zealand Trust in Auckland, before returning back to us this June.
Jenny graduated with a degree in zoology from the University of Hull in 2015. She has always wanted to work in wildlife conservation and has had a passion for whales and dolphins since sponsoring Splash, the bottlenose dolphin with HWDT in 2001. Her interests include wildlife watching, diving and hiking, and she hopes to improve her photography skills while here.
Photo Identification Volunteer
Lynsey graduated from the University of Leicester with an MGeol in Geology in 2013. In the summer of 2013, she joined Silurian for the first time and has returned every year for a survey since. Lynsey has travelled to some interesting places with her geology degree including many parts of the Alps, Tenerife, Mauritania and spent 6 weeks living on the Isle of Islay studying geology and getting to grips with the local wildlife, including cetaceans and birds. Her passion for wildlife has brought her back to the Isle of Mull and she is looking to explore and encounter much more in the months to come. Lynsey also enjoys walking, photography and being creative.