Elding's Research Team 2022
~ Our team consists of wildlife enthusiasts that work together to gather vital information on the wildlife in our waters under the guidance of our head guide Megan Whittaker and
research co-ordinator Eline van Aalderink ~
Eline van Aalderink
My name is Eline van Aalderink and I am an Icelandic/Dutch marine biologist with a specialisation in marine mammal ecology and conservation. I have been lucky enough to study whales and dolphins all over the world, and my passion for them grows with every encounter and every new finding I discover about them. The common theme in my research has (unfortunately) been that human activities are disturbing the individual wellbeing and sometimes even the health of whole populations of these incredible animals. For example, I researched how anthropogenic interference is decreasing survival chances of dolphin calves in Australia, and in Greece I supervised students that conducted research projects on the many threats that Mediterranean marine mammals face. For my master’s thesis (for which I collected data onboard Elding boats in 2019), I assessed the impacts of whaling and whale-watching on Faxaflói’s minke whales, Iceland’s economy, and society. Now, as Elding’s research coordinator, I am leading our team’s analyses of long-term data to form a complete picture of the status of Faxaflói’s marine mammals and to determine what actions our research team, our whale watching crew, and our passengers can take to save the sea.
My name is Miquel Pons. I’m French and Spanish and it’s during my summers in Spain, snorkelling all the time, looking for groupers, moray eels and octopuses that I became passionate of marine biology and that I grew a desire to study it. I studied a Master’s degree in Biodiversity, Ecology, Evolution in France with internships in Spain. I specialized during those internships on demographic analysis of dolphin populations and wrote my Master’s thesis on epizootic impact on survival of the pilot whale population of the Strait of Gibraltar. I have also been a research assistant during two summers in the Strait of Gibraltar doing field work, data collecting, research and training volunteers. During my free time I use my knowledge in biostatistics to work for an NGO, giving value to the citizen science data they gathered on sharks and rays of the Mediterranean Sea. As much as I enjoy to study wildlife through a computer, it never reaches the feeling of an encounter with a wild animal, and it’s particularly true regarding cetaceans. As a guide, I believe that it is essential to make our passengers aware of the threats upon the ecosystems and how important our actions are in respect to conservation issues.
My name is Janiek Schrijer and I am an applied biology student from the Netherlands. I have always been interested in marine wildlife, especially cetaceans, but I have never been in the position to actually see and study them in the wild until now. As a research intern on this team, I assist in research projects by collecting data and taking pictures of the cetaceans we encounter on our tours. As a soon-to-be biologist, I mainly want to gain experience in fieldwork and data collection, but I also find it important that our passengers understand why this kind of research is necessary for the understanding and conservation of cetacean species around the world. I hope to make people aware of our impact on these animales and how everyone can take steps, no matter how small, to help protect and conserve the seas and their incredible inhabitants.
Estel Sánchez Cami
My name is Estel and I am a marine biologist, explorer and environmental educator and I have spent most of my life on or in the water. I have a master’s degree in Marine Biology and a Bachelor in biomedicine. I have a specific interest in cetacean behavior and cognition. My research has been focused on beaked whales on the North Atlantic, but I have also studied Bryde's Whales, Fin Whales and lately Humpback Whales. At sixteen I worked for the first time studying cetaceans, and since then I collaborated in research surveys in Spain, Norway and Portugal, where I was in charge of collecting data on cetacean sightings and photoidentification by photographing target cetacean species both above and below the water, gathering data on cetacean sightings, organizating and processing the data, assisting to stranded animals, participating in necropsies and recording morphometric measurements. With this motivation to study marine mammals, and this adventure in research continued, I am now a naturalist and researcher in Elding, contributing in research projects. As a naturalist I love to provide a unique and memorable lifetime experiences making tourists fall in love with marine life motivating them in the promotion of the best practices regarding environmental responsatility and cetacean conservation.
My name is Bailey and I am a biologist, and conservationist from the United States. I am a student at Prescott College and am expecting to graduate with my Masters of Science in Marine Biology in August 2022. I am thrilled to be a part of the research team at Elding as a research assistant. During my academic career I have been lucky enough to study Cetaceans and wildlife at the Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological studies in Sonora, Mexico. The Midriff Island Region of the Gulf of California has been noted as the aquarium of the world for its abundance of marine mammals. During my time as a student I designed my own research on the Long-Beaked Common Dolphin under the mentorship of the Marine Mammal Program and Cetacean expert Hector Perez Puig. I studied the Preliminary Analysis of Anomalous Coloration of the Long-Beaked Common Dolphin in the Midriff Island Region of the Gulf of California. I will continue to research cetaceans in the Gulf of California for my masters thesis. I am most passionate about conservation, and collaborating with individuals around the world to co-create sustainable and ethical solutions to complex conservation challenges.