Andenes, Norvège du Nord
“Breathing Andenes” will run through 2021 and 2022 and will be led by Dr Mel Cosentino under the direction of Dr Raquel de la Cruz-Modino, in collaboration with Gabriela Bellazzi. Mel is a biologist and ecologist, and her research interests are focused on different aspects of whale, dolphin and porpoise conservation, and she has a good track record of publishing in specialised scientific journals. Mel has extensive knowledge on the topic of whale watching impact, as she carried out her Master’s thesis in Andenes, when she investigated the impact of the whale watching activity on sperm whales. She also led the establishment of the land-based observation platform in the local lighthouse in 2011.
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Born in Argentina, Mel moved to Europe two decades ago to pursue her dream to build a professional career as a cetacean researcher. She obtained her biology degree in Spain, and a masters in marine ecology and a PhD with a focus on bioacoustics and computer science in the UK. Over the years, she built a broad background working as a researcher and as a whale watching guide in several European countries, and collaborating with organisations and scientists from around the world. She has a good track record of scientific publications and regularly engages in outreach activities. Her research interests are focused on several aspects of conservation of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, especially on the impact of human activities on them, which led her to study the impact of whale watching vessels on sperm whales in Andenes in 2011.
Role: Leader of the scientific programme
Twitter handle: @Melanthropics
Raquel is an Assistant Professor of University of La Laguna (Spain). She has a special interest in the frontiers between the local communities and the protection of the sea, which led her to obtain two master’s degree in management, one focused on resources and heritage, and another on tourism entrepreneur. Her PhD research combined fisheries, tourism, and Marine Protected Areas, which was awarded with the national prize Marqués de Lozoya. Raquel received postdoctoral training at the University of Tromso (Norway) and the Memorial University (Canada). Raquel is involved in different international projects related to marine governance and development of sustainable tourism in Spain and elsewhere, and the results have been published in specialised scientific journals and publications directed to the general public. Further, her research has contributed to the improvement of natural resource management and sustainable use of marine wildlife through the implementation of marine protected areas and national marine parks.
Role: Principal investigator
Twitter handle: @RaquelModino
Gabriela works actively in her two passions: creative work and marine conservation. She has a Degree in Advertising, a post-graduate degree in copywriting and science communication, and a masters in digital marketing. For the past two decades, she put this knowledge at the service of marine conservation. She uses her science communication abilities for outreach and education efforts about cetaceans. Gabriela has extensive experience working in protected areas and tourism, participating in the Management Plan of Peninsula Valdes, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. She has also participated in the creation of events, products, and services related to whale watching in the area. Further, she is the coordinator of the cetacean stranding and disentanglement programme of Peninsula Valdes, and the co-founder of Agents of Nature, the first communication Agency in Argentina dedicated exclusively to advertising and design, for nature, conservation, and tourism.
Role: Leader of the dissemination programme
Twitter handle: @GabyBellazzi
Glenn was born in Andenes and lived there for over 20 years until he moved to Tromsø to obtain his Engineering degree in Nautical Sciences. He has been working for Hvalsafari AS for over 30 years and started as a seaman to later become a captain on one of the company’s vessels. He has spent thousands of hours at sea observing and listening to sperm whales and bringing people closer to these mysterious creatures. Glenn also holds a position in the company’s board of directors. When he is not working for Hvalsafari AS, he is engaged as a surveyor on a research vessel owned by the Norwegian government, whose main task is to map the sea bottom along the Norwegian coast and Svalbard (archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole), using multi-beam echo sounders.
Role: project manager
Sara grew up in Italy, where she earned her master’s degree in environmental science at the University of Genoa. After working in education for a couple of years, she moved to Norway in 2014 to work at Hvalsafari AS as a whale-watching guide. This position has allowed her to combine her passions for nature, languages, and environmental education. For the past six years she has worked as guide coordinator for Hvalsafari AS, spending hundred of hours at sea and is responsible of various tasks, including training the new whale watching guides for the season. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Role: guide coordinator