Team

Oliver Steeds, Co-Founder and Mission Director

Oliver is responsible for developing the mission strategy, running operations at sea and piloting one of the submersibles. He is a leading explorer, a critically acclaimed broadcast journalist, TV presenter and communications specialist having worked with NBC, ABC, Discovery Channel and Channel 4. His expeditions, reporting and adventures have taken him to 100 countries and he’s the youngest explorer featured in ‘Faces of Exploration: Encounters with 50 Extraordinary Pioneers’. He is also the co-founder of Digital Explorer (www.digitalexplorer.com) and the Ocean’s Academy, set up to inform and engage young people in global environmental issues.

Professor Alex Rogers, Science Director

Alex is a Professor of Conservation Biology at the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Scientific Director of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean and Scientific Advisor to the Global Ocean Commission and is considered to be one of the world’s pre-eminent oceanographers. Alex’s research is focused on understanding how communities of marine organisms are structured, what human activities impact them and how resilient they are to these impacts. He has led and participated in 20 major marine expeditions including coordinating technical dive teams. His marine policy work includes projects for the UN International Seabed Authority, UN Division of Oceans and Law of the Sea, the IUCN, and the G8+5 Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE). 

Dr Ellen Kenchington, CCGS Hudson Chief Scientist                                                      

Ellen is based at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography with Fisheries and Oceans, Canada and is a national and international authority in benthic ecology and genetics who has conducted extensive deep-sea research. Her recent research in delineating deep-sea habitat was an essential element of the successful international process to identify vulnerable marine ecosystems in response to international policy. Her work has also directly contributed to the establishment of over a dozen areas closed to bottom fishing in the high seas to protect benthic habitats. Within Canada she has provided scientific support for the Policy for Managing the Impact of Fishing on Sensitive Benthic Areas and contributed to the establishment of the first area closure under that policy. Dr Kenchington has co-authored more than 115 primary publications and over 200 scientific and technical reports on a wide range of subjects. 

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. In addition to project managing duties she leads the microplastic and marine debris research as well as developing new genetic based techniques to understand the biodiversity in the ocean.

Dr Catherine Head, Marine Biologist

Catherine is a marine biologist who is fascinated by the complexity of life on coral reefs. For her PhD research she studied the biodiversity of shallow water coral reef cryptofauna, the small animals that live within the reef structure. Her ongoing research builds on her experience working in coral reef conservation for more than a decade and her aim is to help local communities improve the protection of their reefs, and increase reef resilience to global impacts. 

Patrick Lahey, Head of Submersible Operations

Patrick Lahey began diving in 1975 and has been involved in a diverse range of projects around the world. He has participated in the design, engineering, manufacture and testing of numerous underwater vehicles and systems including over 50 manned submersibles. He is a fully qualified air, mixed-gas and bell-saturation diver with a background in electronics and instrumentation. Patrick is the co-founder and President of Triton Submarines and has overseen the development of the company’s entire range of yacht based manned submersibles, which feature exceptional viewing, simplicity of operation, reliability, ease of maintenance and safety.

Todd Kincaid, Head of Dive Operations

Todd is a scientist and avid scuba diver. He’s been actively diving since 1979 and pushing the limits of cave and technical diving since 1987. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology and hydrogeology from the University of Florida and University of Wyoming and has dedicated most of his professional life to mapping and understanding groundwater flow in many of the world’s karst aquifers. Todd started the consulting company GeoHydros in 1999 to pursue work on caves and karsts, while also helping to establish the non-profit organization Global Underwater Explorers to share his lifelong interest in aquatic conservation. He established Project Baseline in 2009, which is GUE’s global conservation effort to document and bring attention to the world’s most amazing and often declining underwater environments.

Robert Carmichael, Chief Pilot

Robert is an inventor and an avid scuba and submersible diver. He founded the company Brownies Marine Group in 2004, which develops and sells diving equipment and tankfill systems that are integrated into all manners of modern day boating. He has served on the Board of Directors for the non-profit organisation Global Underwater Explorers since 2002 and since it began in 2009, has worked tirelessly to advance that organisation’s conservation effort Project Baseline. He created Brownies Global Logistics in 2013 where he currently leverages the research vessel Baseline Explorer and its two 1000-foot submersibles Nemo and Nomad to significantly expand the scope and reach of Project Baseline. 

Will West, Head of Content

Will is a self- shooting producer and director with over 15 years 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.

Greg Foot, Onboard Science Reporter

Greg is an experienced science presenter on TV, YouTube and stage. He has hosted multiple TV series for the BBC, including Blue Peter, has received more than 8,000,000 hits on his YouTube films, and writes and presents live science shows around the world. Greg is a public engagement fellow for The Wellcome Trust and regularly writes, produces and presents content for Honda Racing F1 and the AXA Research Fund. A few years ago Greg joined a scientific adventure to set up the world’s highest pop-up lab at Everest Base Camp and has joined Nekton as their resident science editor.

Anna Wharton, Communications Director

Anna began her career as a news journalist before entering politics and working as a press advisor during the 2001 General Election. She went on to work for a number of high profile  brands including Google, Dow Jones and Yahoo! before joining Red Bull Stratos to deliver the global communications plan for Felix Baumgartner’s record breaking freefall from the edge of space. Anna has joined Nekton, keen to satisfy her passion for the ocean and marine conservation. She is also a former semi-professional offshore yacht racer, scuba diver and wild swimmer.