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

Oliver Steeds,OBE

Chief Executive, Mission Director

Oliver Steeds is the Chief Executive and Founder of Nekton, and Director of Ocean Census. Oliver leads the management and development of the organisation and field operations. Formerly he was a critically acclaimed broadcast journalist with ABC, NBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channels and others. He is co-founder of Encounter EDU including the Ocean’s Academy.

Dr. Lucy Woodall,

Principal Scientist

Lucy leads the scientific research at Nekton and is an Associate Professor at the University of Exeter. She is a marine biologist with a passion for sharing the delights and importance of the aquatic world with global citizens. While her work broadly focuses on the processes that drive biodiversity in the ocean, she is interested in understanding the impacts of human activities on these ecosystems. She provides expert opinion on marine conservation and sustainable marine management, and is a member of many applied working groups such as the High Level Panel Expert Group for the UN on Sustainable Ocean Economy, IUCN SSC Seahorse, Pipefish and Seadragon Specialist Group and the DOSI pollution and debris Working Group and gives talks at public events throughout the year.

Alex Murphy

Finance and Operations Controller

Alex is responsible for Nekton’s financial and operational management. After starting her career in practice she soon developed a taste for business and commerce and now has thirty years of finance experience spanning a wide variety of commercial organizations and industries, including advertising, publishing, retail, design, architecture and more recently capital delivery in the UK water industry and construction engineering.

Tara McDonald

Finance & Operations Coordinator

Tara is responsible for the day to day finance and administration. She assists the Head of Finance and Central Operations with all financial matters. She has over twenty years of finance experience in various organisations and insustries including construction and education. Tara is an Open Water Qualified diver and is interested in developing her ability to explore and help protect our ocea. She enjoys a variety of extra curricular activities including dance and music.

Dr Paris Stefanoudis,

Postdoctoral Researcher

Paris is a marine biologist fascinated by the largest environment on planet Earth: the ocean. His general research interests lie in documenting the distribution patterns of marine life in the ocean and identifying the underlying environmental factors shaping those. Part of his research portfolio has included biodiversity assessments of ultra-deep underwater mountains in the NE Atlantic, shallow and deep water reef biodiversity in Bermuda, and plastic pollution in the Thames Estuary. At present, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the Nekton Research Group at the University of Oxford, and his main research focus is benthic and fish community structure and connectivity across depth in tropical coral reef ecosystems. In other capacities, he is the communications officer of the Deep-Sea Biology Society and part of the editorial team of the INDEEP/DOSI/DSBS-led newsletter Deep-Sea Life.

Sheena Talma

Nekton Science & Knowledge Exchange Programme Manager

Sheena Talma is a marine scientist from Seychelles with a keen interest in learning more about how we use the ocean and the implications of overfishing marine pollution and climate change in that relationship. Sheena holds a post-graduate degree in fisheries and ichthyology. Prior to this she worked for the Ministry of Environment Energy and Climate Change in Seychelles working towards environmental sustainability.

Nuria Rico Seijo


Nuria is a marine biologist whose research interest is focused on identifying zooplankton communities from the epipelagic to the benthic zone. She has researched zooplankton communities from the Iberian Peninsula, the Gullmarsfjorden on the west coast of Sweden and the Seychelles. She has also co-lead the assessment of the presence of microplastics in the Weddell Sea with an international and multi-disciplinary team. In addition to this, Nuria curates and manages the samples collected on Nekton's expeditions.


Expedition Director

Rhidian is an experienced and innovative expedition leader and operations manager. A former commando officer, he leads high performing and diverse teams managing government and commercial projects around the world; in the film & TV sector he has worked as a producer, location manager and advises on risk, safety & security. A seasoned expert in planning, logistics, training and communications; leading expeditions in challenging conditions often in remote and hostile locations. Rhidian keeps current in a range of skills that include: mountaineering, wilderness medicine & boating. His portfolio of experience includes high performance dinghy and ocean racing, the management of risk for major Hollywood TV adventure series and the coordination of security for national elections in Afghanistan.

Nina de Villiers

Research Assistant

Nina de Villiers is a marine biologist from South Africa with a passion for discovery, conservation and science communication. She holds a Masters in marine biology which focused on the impact artificial structures had on fish and benthic invertebrate communities. Prior to this she was a research assistant investigating density and distribution of two endangered syngnathid species as well as a number of estuarine ecological studies. She is a keen explorer of rock shores and loves to find marine species. She is a qualified Class IV Commercial diver and loves to share the marine environment with others through underwater photography.