Rachel Mawer (19) – 3rd year Marine and Freshwater Biology – Team Leader
This summer will be Rachel’s third time on the Egypt expedition and her second as a leader. Rachel has had a wonderful time the past two summers and she can’t wait to get back out into the field. Although Rachel won’t be doing her honours project this summer, since she will be on a work placement next year, she is hoping to organise some mini projects for the team and hopes this experience puts her in good stead.
Rachel’s previous knowledge and experience in leading an expedition will be essential for this year. Having been an integral part to the expedition’s outreach and fundraising efforts last year, she hopes to repeat that success with this years team. In addition, she is looking forward to getting more scientific dives under her belt and further improving her skill set as a marine researcher.
Daniella Laing (20) – 3rd Year Zoology- Team Leader & Honours Project Researcher
Dani is extremely excited to be returning to Egypt for summer 2018. She had a fantastic time on the 2017 expedition as the treasurer and is ready to take on a new challenge as co-leader. Dani is confident that she will take this step up in her stride after gaining and developing so many skills such as team work and organisation on the last expedition. Whilst in Egypt, Dani managed to achieve her BSAC Sports diver qualification and logged 87 dives during the expedition.
As Dani is in her 3rd year of study now, she is looking forward to carrying out her data collection for her 4th year honours project. On the 2017 expedition, she gained invaluable experience of scientific diving as she was heavily involved in the data collection for the hawkfish honours project. This has provided her with a wealth of knowledge and a new level of confidence that she cannot wait to utilise for her own project that she hopes will also be based on fish behaviour. When she returns to Egypt, Dani will also achieve her 100th dive which will be a very proud achievement for her. Overall, Dani is ecstatic to return to Egypt as a leader and improve her diving skills and scientific knowledge to aid her in the future.
Mary Grace Duethman (23) – Masters in Ecology and Environmental Biology – Masters Researcher & Scientific Coordinator
Serving as Scientific Coordinator and token non-Brit of the team, this is Mary Grace (MG’s) first expedition with the Exploration Society and first time traveling to Egypt. She is very excited to explore new marine ecosystems while collecting data for her Master’s dissertation.
Born and raised in Kansas, USA, MG has been passionate about animals her whole life and knew she wanted to be a marine biologist since she was 12 years old. She has previous marine research experience from her internship with Oceans Research Institute in South Africa in 2015, which focused on great white shark research; and from her undergraduate research at the University of Tampa in Florida studying both estuarine fish and tropical invertebrates. Her main interests are in spatial ecology and conservation, and she can’t wait to learn more about the process of creating marine protected areas while in Egypt. Already Rescue Diver certified, MG hopes to get more dives under her belt this summer in order to pursue her Dive Master certification.
Kristopher Carrigan (23) – Masters in Ecology and Environmental Biology – Masters Researcher & Fundraising Coordinator
Currently undertaking a Research Masters in Ecology and Environmental Biology, Kris is eager for this year’s expedition. After being an active researcher during the 2016 Egypt expedition, investigating Coral bleaching in the El Quseir region as an undergraduate project, Kris can’t wait to get back out there and continue researching. Through his experiences 2 years ago, Kris aims to drive forward conservation research in the Red Sea by investigating the effects that take, and no take fishing zones have on coral communities, which he hopes will aid in the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’S) in the Wadi el Gemal region. By applying the skills developed during his undergraduate degree, along with his previous scientific diving, Kris hopes his expertise and skill set will aid both his masters project and other research projects that are scheduled to take place during this year’s expedition.
Lucy Clark (20) 3rd Year Marine & Freshwater Biology – Honours Project Researcher & Publicity
Lucy is thrilled to be on the Egypt team this year and is looking forward to getting her research done for her honours project. After spending three months in Trinidad last summer researching the Leatherback turtle nesting season, she is excited to face some new challenges. Having been to Egypt twice before on holidays, Lucy is keen to learn more about the science behind the beauty of the reefs of the Red Sea. This will come as she looks to obtain her open water diving certification whilst in Egypt.
Mark. G. McInnes (19) – 3rd Year Marine & Freshwater Biology – Honours Project Researcher & Fundraising Co-ordinator
This will be Mark’s first trip with the expedition society to Egypt, and one which he is taking on with a massive amount of zeal. As an undergraduate in his third year, Mark’s central focus for this trip will be aquatic data collection for his 4th year honours project; plus, extensive avoidance of potential sunburn. Gaining his PADI open water qualification in Scotland, Mark spent his summer in Belize securing his advanced open water through numerous dives studying the beautiful marine environment. Here, he learned essential data collection techniques, performing both coral reef transects and tropical fish identification surveys – with a key emphasis on invasive lionfish distribution. Mark aims to complete his PADI rescue diver qualification in sunny Egypt, whilst soaking up the new and challenging opportunities the expedition has to offer. Mark also has a critical role as a head fundraiser for the project. This, taking the form of event organisation to raise funds, ensuring smooth running of the expedition; which he sphinx is pharaoh-nough!
Melanie Long (27) 2nd Year Marine & Freshwater Biology – Dive Officer / Publicity
Melanie is very excited to be a part of the expedition team this year. Previously she worked as a scuba instructor in Thailand. Melanie participated in numerous conservation projects, which inspired her to pursue her degree with the aim of being able to understand and better contribute to conservation efforts. Although this will be her 1st research expedition with the university, she has extensive experience working as a tour leader for remote diving expeditions. This makes her ideally suited to the role of Dive Officer in Egypt.
Melanie very excited to have the opportunity to be part of the team this year and is looking forward to developing skills for scientific diving and gaining an in-depth knowledge of the research projects that will be taking place on the expedition.
Shion Reynell (20) – 2nd Year Marine and Freshwater Biology – Secretary & Publicity
This will be Shion’s first time joining an exploration society expedition. Being selected to be part of the Egypt team is really exciting as coral reefs are a main interest in Shion’s studies; she was inspired during her time undertaking coral reef surveys during a summer spent carrying out data collection volunteering as a manatee conservationist in Belize. Unsurprisingly she is really looking forward to throwing herself back into fieldwork, as well as the outreach and fundraising aspects of the project. Shion is also hoping to gain further diving qualifications, having achieved her PADI open water previously, and feels lucky that she has the opportunity to do so in the beautiful Red Sea next summer.
Helen Fergusson (19) – 1st Year Marine & Freshwater Biology – Treasurer
This is Helen’s very first expedition and she can’t wait until next summer. She has been diving in Egypt before, but is excited to go as part of the team and get involved in lots of community outreach and environmental protection in El Quesir. As treasurer she’s looking forward to a new challenge and is also looking forward to becoming qualified in Scientific Diving this summer, and being able to learn more about the Red Sea and its biodiversity.