Nekton is run by a core team of management and staff combining world-class experience across scientific research, multidisciplinary marine research expeditions, submersible operations, multi-platform content creation and distribution, marketing and communications.

Oliver Steeds,
Chief Executive

Oliver Steeds is the Founder of Nekton and leads the management and development of the organisation, Mission strategy and operations, partnerships and fundraising. He is a submersible pilot, ‘a leading British ocean explorer’ (Economist, 2nd Jan. 2016), a critically acclaimed broadcast journalist with ABC, NBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channels and others, and formerly a Director of Brunswick. He is co-founder of Digital Explorer (www.digitalexplorer.com) including the Ocean’s Academy.

Dr. Lucy Woodall, 
Principal Scientist 

Lucy is a marine biologist with a passion for the aquatic world. Her PhD on the conservation genetics of European seahorses provided valuable research for captive breeding and international monitoring programmes. While her work broadly focuses on the processes that drive biodiversity in the marine biome, including the impacts of human activities, she has also worked in coastal and deep sea habitats and is an expert in marine litter. Her microplastics research was the first to reveal the ubiquity of this pollutant in the deep sea which led to further work on marine debris in our most remote oceans. She leads the scientific research at Nekton, sits on the IUCN SSC for seahorses and pipefish, and provides expert opinion for international marine management organization and national governments. Lucy was also a scientific advisor to the BBC Blue Planet II Series.

Belinda Bramley, 
Head of Impact

Belinda is a chartered accountant with a passion for enterprising initiatives that have a positive environmental impact. After qualifying with KPMG in London, Belinda spent ten years working in the City within finance and treasury roles at Lloyds Bank and Salomon Brothers International. She supported trading desks, managed currency exposure and improved business systems. She then moved to the non-profit sector, becoming CFO for Earthwatch and the Global Canopy Programme (GCP). She also served as a Trustee of the GCP in its formative stages. 

Luke Ansell,

Head of Marine Operations

Luke is an expert in designing, implementing and leading complex offshore and subsea operations including large multi-vessel campaigns. From West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Middle East to the North Sea, Luke brings 15 years of global experience with clients including James Fishers, Dong Energy (Orsted), VBMS and Reach Engineering. Luke is also a hugely experienced commercial diver, and owns and operates a specialist subsea management consultancy www.subseaconsultants.co.uk.

Will West,  
Head of Content 

Will leads the Communications team and is a self- shooting producer and director with over 15 years of experience making documentaries for international broadcast. He started his career in wildlife film-making, working extensively in southern Africa before moving into Current Affairs with a specialism in challenging and hostile environments. He has filmed in over 15 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Somalia, and has experience in aerial filming, working off-shore with the coast-guard, military and police and in undercover work. He is also an experienced stills photographer and an avid yacht racer.

Dr Paris Stefanoudis,

Postdoctoral Researcher

Paris is a marine biologist fascinated by the largest environment on planet Earth: the oceans. His PhD investigated the effects of ultra-deep underwater mountains on tiny sediment-living organisms, known as foraminifera. In the past couple of years his research has focused on shallow and deep reef communities from (sub)tropical locations. Having participated in three research cruises in the NE Atlantic he has experience with seagoing procedures and biological sampling. While his general research interests lie in documenting the distribution patterns of marine life in the ocean and identifying the underlying environmental factors shaping those, he has also worked on freshwater environments and riverine plastic pollution. Currently, he is managing Nekton’s laboratory research in Oxford, and Nekton's social media accounts. He is also the student officer of the Deep-Sea Biology Society and part of the editorial team of the INDEEP/DOSI/DSBS-led newsletter Deep-Sea Life.


GIGI BRISSON is the Founder and CEO of the Ocean Elders, a collective of leaders working with partners to protect, value, and celebrate the ocean and its wildlife. The Elders include Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Sylvia Earle, Jean Michel Cousteau, Queen Noor of Jordan, Jackson Brown, Don Walsh, James Cameron, Jose-Maria Figueres, E.O. Wilson and Fredrik Paulsen. The Ocean Elders are a Partner of Nekton.

STEVE BROOKS is a principal in the Boultbee Foundation, a charitable foundation which is proud to support a number of organisations committed to the improvement of health, education, employment, wellbeing and social advancement where it is most needed. An avid explorer and helicopter pilot who has set new records, in 2004 Steve became the first person to fly a helicopter from pole to pole. Earlier, in 2001, he designed and drove the world's first land based vehicle across the Bering Strait from America to Russia.

JAMIE BUCHANAN-DUNLOP is the founder and director of Digital Explorer, one of the UK's pre-eminent educational organisations providing world-class global science, geographic and citizenship learning through creating unique collaborations between scientists, explorers, teachers and pupils. Digital Explorer are Nekton’s educational partner, and have created Nekton’s educational programme 'Submarine STEM'.

PARAG KHANNA is a leading global strategist, world traveler, and best-selling author. He is a Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, a geostrategic advisory firm, a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, Adjunct Professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, and Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He is author of Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilizations, How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance (2011) and other best sellers.

PATRICK LAHEY is the President and Founder of Triton Submarines. As one of the most experienced submersible operators globally, he's worked with James Cameron on 'Aliens of the Deep’ and Deepsea Challenger, the search for wreckage of NASA’s Challenger, and the successful filming of a Giant Squid. Triton are a Strategic Partner of Nekton and Patrick was the Chief Pilot on Nekton’s first Mission.

DAN LAFFOLEY: Marine Vice Chair, IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas and Senior Advisor Marine Science and Conservation, IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme, Dan is also advisor or board member of Sylvia Earle Alliance, Ocean Elders, Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health X Prize and High Seas Alliance. 

MIRELLA VON LINDENFELS: An award-winning communications expert and founder of Communications Inc., Mirella co-founded The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), advises Ocean Unite, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and has held senior positions with Greenpeace and Amnesty International.

ROB MCCALLUM is one of the world’s leading experts on submersible-based expeditions including to RMS Titanic (3780m) and the Bismark (5500m), planned the first manned submersible dive at the North Pole, coordinated the PNG test programme of James Cameron’s ‘Deep Challenger’, and managed the M.V. Alucia, the vessel that achieved successful search for Air France 447. Rob is Founding Partner of EYOS Expeditions, organizing bespoke expeditions to the Earth’s most remarkable places. EYOS Expeditions are a strategic partner of Nekton.

MIKE METCALF is a Consultant and non-executive director of numerous UK luxury and retail businesses including Fortnum & Masons. Formerly CFO of Thorn EMI, Chief Operating and Financial Officer of the Burberry Group and Chief Executive of Fitness First.

JO ROYLE is a Founder of Common Seas, spearheading the development of the Spindrift Foundation, and formerly a Director of Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy Project. Jo is also one of Europe's leading female ocean sailing skippers and skippered the Plastiki, drawing the attention of global media to plastic pollution in the ocean.

TORSTEN THIELE is Founder of the Global Ocean Trust, and focuses on marine conservation, technology and governance. Previously Torsten structured complex international project financing with JP Morgan, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Investec.

JEFF WILLNER is the Founder and CEO of TravelEdge a $1 billion collection of North America travel companies and previously a partner with McKinsey. Jeff is an avid explorer and adventurer, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club and undertaken many expeditions globally including driving twice around the world in his trusty Land Rover. Kensington Tours, part of the TravelEdge group are Nekton’s Launch Partner for Mission II: Indian Ocean.