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: Heather Fowle, Ashley Noseworthy, Ashleigh Kitchener, Mike Ambler, Niru Dorrian, Sara Bisset, Diana Antochiw, Carolyn Barton, Jon Kenny, Patrick Lyne and Gary Robinson. Current Committee Members
Heather Fowle (Chair)
Heather is a passionate Marine Mammal Biologist and Ecologist and Registered Marine Scientist (IMarEST) who has extensive experience in conservation, environmental protection and biodiversity enhancement in marine, riparian and terrestrial environments worldwide since her graduation in 2000.
Heather was a 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 MARINElife. 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. Heather has full membership of IMarEST and has successfully gained her CPD professional accreditation as a Registered Marine Scientist through them.
Ashley Noseworthy (Vice-Chair)
Ashley Noseworthy is the founder and CEO of EDGEWISE Environmental, a Canadian environmental consultancy and training company focused on Canada specific MMO, PAM and seabird observer training. She is formally educated with a B.Sc. (Biology) from the Memorial University of Newfoundland and an MSc. (International Marine Environmental Consultancy) from Newcastle University. Her main areas of expertise include environmental policy, marine mammal identification and acoustics. Prior to founding, EDGEWISE Ashley has worked globally in a variety of mitigation and senior compliance roles for over a decade in offshore and coastal marine industries. Previous to her global ventures she worked at Memorial University's cold ocean research facility seal laboratory, spending a total of 12 years working and volunteering with captive marine mammals in the areas of marine mammal husbandry, physiology and cognition. She also currently teaches within academia in the area of Marine Animal Acoustics.
A certified Sea Survival and Aviation Ditching Instructor she has worked and taught globally to a number of regulatory standards, instructing for over five years. Ashley has a robust research and development background working with top researchers in marine mammal acoustics as well as ergonomics and human factors. She is currently the Chair of the board of directors for the provincial environmental industry association, sits on multiple cross-appointed boards focused on the blue economy, economic growth and sustainability and has been an executive committee member of the MMOA for the past 2 years. Ashley's goal, in seeking nomination as the vice-chair for the MMOA executive committee, is to bring further global diversity to the team and build upon the MMOA position statements. She is a firm believer that the MMO/PAM industry (globally) requires more stringent and streamlined mitigation and that the MMOA is a primary driver to working with industry and academia to further this goal.
Mike Ambler (Treasurer)
Mike completed an undergraduate degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of Aberystwyth and then went on to gain an M.Sc. in Applied Hydrobiology from the University of Cardiff.
After a spell as a biologist with the Environment Agency Wales, Mike trained to become a teacher and was employed as a secondary school science teacher for almost a decade, before moving into the offshore consultancy business in 2010. Mike is now an experienced Marine Mammal Observer, PAM Operator and Environmental Scientist and has undertaken many offshore projects around Africa and Europe.
Mike has conducted marine mammal surveys for MARINElife in the Bay of Biscay, and devotes a lot of his onshore spare time to conservation work with the Wildlife Trusts. Mike has been a full member of the Marine Mammal Observer Association for the past five years and joined the Executive Committee in 2016.
Ashleigh Kitchiner (Secretary)
Ashleigh is a passionate marine biologist and environmental advocate. She is educated formally with a BSc. (Hons) Biology and MRes Marine Mammal Genetics from the University of Chester. She conducted research utilising stranding data to compile population genetics of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) across the UK. Her main areas of expertise are marine mammal and seabird identification, policy and legislation, distance sampling methods, acoustics, and genetic analysis.
She has been fortunate enough to apply this skillset to the energy sector, working offshore in various roles for five years. Ashleigh has developed and delivered webinars, conferences and, training courses, onboarding new Marine Mammal Surveyors (MMS) and environmental advocates. Ashleigh is a commercially-minded research-driven evidence-based individual and would like to bring her experience to the Marine Mammal Observer Association (MMOA) executive committee to create a network of empowered Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) and professionals internationally.
Diana Antochiw is a marine biologist who has been working with marine mammals since 1996. She founded the Yucatan Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the first of its kind in Mexico, and helped train people participating in other stranding response groups.
She served as a MMO on board oceanographic research vessels of the Mexican Navy and later was recruited by Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory as a MMO for marine seismic research. She has advised several organizations working in marine mammal stranding response and marine fauna rescue and research. Later, she helped train some of the first MMOs in Mexico. She works as MMO for the seismic industry worldwide while she still conducts research in marine megafauna in Yucatan.
She is currently a board member and Research Coordinator of the Marine and Coastal Megafauna Research Institute (INMMAR) in Mexico and a member of the Local Committee for Response to Oil Spills, directed by the Mexican Navy.
Carolyn Barton (Stone)
Following a PhD on barnacles, Carolyn spent 5 years with the JNCC's Seabirds at Sea Team but has spent the last 25 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 3000 MMOs. Carolyn has also been involved in the development of mitigation measures and data recording protocols. She has created and analysed JNCC's database of MMO data from UK waters, including analysis of a 16-year dataset to examine the effects of seismic airguns on marine mammals and compliance with the JNCC guidelines.
Carolyn recognises the importance of maintaining professional standards and is pleased to have served on the MMOA committee for fourteen years.
Neil Niru Dorrian
Niru is a Senior Environmental Advisor/Client Representative, Marine Mammal Biologist and Chartered Marine Scientist. With over 14 years’ experience in marine mammal fieldwork, mitigation, conservation, and environmental project management. He is a Co-Founding Director at Whalefish - an international non-profit marine conservation organisation. Niru is experienced in mitigation plan development, protected species risk assessments, and is skilled in cetacean survey methods, including PAM and photo ID. The past decade has seen him work on over 50 offshore and coastal projects around the world.
He also has extensive experience in marine mammal stranding, including the rescue and rehabilitation of delphinid, pinniped and sirenian species. Since 2019 Niru is a Senior Environmental Advisor based in the UAE on the worlds largest O&G Exploration Project. Previous to this Niru has worked on other critically sensitive projects as he led the SEIC Western Gray Monitoring Program managing a team of 30 marine mammal specialists in the role of Central Commander whilst working closely with the IUCN Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP). In 2018 Niru also received the IMarEST Outstanding Contribution Award – Marine Ambassador which recognised his work as an individual who has made a significant contribution to advocacy, communication, outreach, policy, and public service in the marine sector.
From 2016-2021 Niru served in the position of MMOA Chair, leading the association committee and heading CPD recognition initiatives, and developing professional partnerships with the industry to the benefit of our membership. Niru is honoured to have served on the MMOA committee for over 6 years now.
Jon is a marine biologist and environmental ecologist with over 12 years’ experience in environmental impact assessment, fisheries, and environmental mitigation. He is also an experienced diver with 15 years of recreation and later as a commercial diver and diving instructor.
His work has taken him to Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Antarctic. Jon has led dive and survey teams, managed a marine protected area (MPA) for a government fisheries advisory group, been project coordinator for environmental impact assessments (EIA), and ran the whale shark education and turtle protection programs among other environmental projects around the world.
Jon's most challenging work was in fisheries auditing vessel safety and catch records according to strict and complex regulations in sometimes extreme conditions. He currently lives in Sonora Mexico on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Patrick Lyne has worked in mitigation for 11 years and been involved with the MMOA committee for seven years.
Patrick is committed to improving standards of mitigation at a regulatory and MMO (and PAM) level. Industry contraction has affected everyone and perhaps the standards in mitigation more so. However Patrick hopes things will change and would like to see a shutdown employed in all mitigation procedures where an injurious level of sound is used.
He would also like to see experience as part of requirements in future work, such that one MMO and PAM operator on the mitigation team has some credible expertise.
Gary Robinson is co-director of the UK based marine environmental consultancy Ocean Ecology Limited and an experienced marine mammal consultant, observer and acoustic monitoring operator in relation to the offshore renewables and seismic industries. Gary has over ten years experience designing, managing and undertaking a wide range of marine mammal mitigation and monitoring programmes worldwide and has been responsible for project managing a number of marine mammal mitigation programmes for some of the largest offshore wind farm developments in the world.
More recently, Gary has focused his efforts on overseeing marine mammal mitigation during high-resolution surveys (SBP, Side Scan Sonar and MBES) during cable inspections around the UK. Gary also provides marine mammal consultancy to regulatory bodies with his largest project being on behalf of Natural Resources Wales (NRW), for which he directed the first full census of grey seal pups in North Wales undertaken since 2004. Gary’s keynote project in the seismic industry was his role as lead marine mammal consultant on behalf of Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC) and Shell to fulfil a complex offshore marine mammal mitigation programme developed between SEIC and the IUCN-established Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP).
Sara has worked as an MMO and PAM operator since 2013, working during this period on as many novel and varied projects as possible, globally, to expand knowledge across industry sectors. She has an MSc in Environmental Management, with her main interests lying in wildlife conservation, human-wildlife conflict and understanding the effects of anthropogenic activities on marine wildlife, recently expanding her understanding in the maritime sector by beginning an MSc in Sustainable Maritime Operations and a foundation engineering course.
Sara is committed to continue professional development, actively participating in training courses, conferences and volunteering where possible. The MMOA is important to her as it brings community and support amongst peers and can be a driver of positive change. She would like to see the MMOA continue to work towards better standards for both the MMOs and marine mammals alike, in addition to encouraging the implementation of more robust mitigation guidelines using research and the experience of MMOs to guide this.
We would also like to thank everyone else who has contributed valuable assistance and advice in the development of the MMOA, namely Jacklyn Barrs, Sarah Barry, Craig Bloomer, Wanda Bodnar, Zoe Crutchfield, Monica Arancibia Colgain, Sarah Dolman, Ruth Esteban, Aoife Foley, Alison Gill, Michael Hill, Phil Johnston, Claire Lacey, Gareth MacGlennon, Enda McKeogh, Simon Mustoe, Peter Nilsson, Ed Oliver, Ursula Pena, Chris Pierpoint, Frances Robertson, Juliet Shrimpton, Mark Simmonds, Heather Tabisola, Michael Unwin, Els Vermeulen, Juliet Vines, Caroline Weir and Richard Woodcock. We would also like to thank and acknowledge the advice provided for our position statements by David Hannay, Roberto Racca, Paul Shone and Peter Ward.