Staff

Alison Lomax

Alison Lomax

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. Her interests include wild swimming, diving, wildlife watching and hiking.

The Director post is generously funded by The John Ellerman Foundation.

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Gemma Paterson

Gemma Paterson

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.

Morven Russell

Morven Russell

Volunteer Coordinator & Marketing Officer

Morven works on a part time basis as HWDT's Volunteer Coordinator and Marketing Officer.  As well as completing various marketing and admin tasks, Morven recruits and manages both land and boat based volunteers.  She is also responsible for keeping in touch with supporters.     

In 2006 Morven gained a BSc in Environmental Management and Technology from Heriot Watt University.  She has also worked with local marine wildlife operators Sea Life Surveys.


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Philippa Garrard

Community Engagement Officer

Pippa graduated from the University of Leeds in 2014 with a BSc in Human Physiology (International). She joined the HWDT team in the summer of 2014 to support the education and outreach programmes. Prior to this position Pippa volunteered in South Africa, Australia and Bali, where she was involved in a number of marine conservation projects, including sea turtle rehabilitation, as well as monitoring manta ray populations in Indonesia. Another of her passions is diving and after qualifying as a PADI Divemaster in 2013, she is keen to explore the waters off Scotland.

Pippa's post is generously funded by Coastal Communities Fund.

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Dr Conor Ryan

Conor Ryan

Science Officer

Conor joined the HWDT team in June 2014 to expand the Community Sightings Network as part of the Sea Change project. Previously, he worked as a researcher for the Song of the Whale team and as Science Officer for the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. Conor graduated from University College Cork in 2009 with a degree in zoology, before completing a PhD on the feeding ecology of baleen whales in Irish waters at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. Conor is a council member of the European Cetacean Society. His interests include whale-watching, surfing, sea-kayaking, and free-diving.

Conor's post is generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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Dr Frazer Coomber

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.

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Edward Hewett

Edd Hewett

Boat Manager

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.

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Pauline Massey

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.

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Vivi Bolin

Vivi Bolin

Visitor Centre Manager

Vivi first came to the Trust as Sightings and Strandings Intern and has now rejoined the team as Visitor Centre manager after a summer at sea as a wildlife guide for Hebrides Cruises. Vivi has a MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation from Trinity College Dublin and, prior to joining HWDT, has been working for several organisations, including the Zoological Society of London, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and BirdWatch Ireland. Vivi’s passion for the sea and conservation stems from growing up on the Baltic Sea coast in Finland. After graduating with a BSc in Environmental Biology from Helsinki University, she made the move to Ireland, where she has assisted in humpback whale research and conducted surveys on sea birds and cetaceans.

The Visitor Centre Manager post is generously funded by the Coastal Communities Fund.

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Karen Denoon

Finance Officer

Charly Bainbridge

First Mate

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 Hampson

Volunteer Education Assistant

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.

Lynsey Bland

Volunteer Research Assistant

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.

Sam Udale-Smith

Volunteer Research Assistant

Sam studied Maths at the University of Cambridge, graduating in the summer of 2015. Since then he's been looking for an opportunity to take his enthusiasm for wildlife conservation and particularly marine biology further. He is a keen wildlife photographer, and is really looking forward to the opportunity to explore the stunning Isle of Mull, while gaining valuable experience of what a potential career in conservation is all about.