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Shark Search Indo-Pacific is working with some of the best expertise in the region. Shark Search Programme Partners are individuals or organisations who support and may help to implement projects and activities that progress Shark Search Indo-Pacific's long term mission. Each partner provides specialized capabilities and expertise to SSIP projects, and also provides advice and guidance to the Project Team about how projects and the overall programme operate. As the Shark Search programme develops in-country projects, Programme Partners may also become part of the project teams that are brought together for these specific projects.  

Current Programme Partners and area of expertise

  • Robert Styles (Australian National University) - behavioural psychology, organisational sociology, systems engineering

  • Simon Foale (James Cook University) - social science, anthropology, small scale fisheries

  • Thomas Vignaud (Fiji) - photographer

  • David Welch (C20 consulting) - fisheries science and management, climate change vulnerability of fisheries

  • Cassie Rigby - fisheries science, management and international policy (CITES, CMS)

Styles and Foale
Robert Styles
Behavioural Psychology
Australian National University

Dr Robert Styles's expertise lies in understanding people and social systems. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University (ANU). As a Contextual Behavioural Scientist, his work at ANU is at the operational nexus of a number of different disciplines including applied behavioural psychology, organisational and cultural sociology, evolutionary science, and systems engineering. Currently this work is being applied in Australia, SE Asia and Africa, within corporations and public-sector agencies striving to improve strategic and behavioural approaches to human capital development, and the sustainability of individual and collective endeavours shared across local and regional communities.

Dr Simon Foale provides advice about small scale fisheries and working with communities. Simon is an anthropologist based at James Cook University in Australia. Simon grew up in the Solomon Islands, and his research focuses on cultural anthropology in Melanesia. This work seeks to understand how local people use their marine resources and relate to their environment, and explores local environmental knowledge, customary marine tenure, and coastal fishery management. Simon's work on local language names and ethno-biology helps connect traditional knowledge of sharks and rays to the Indo-Pacific Checklist Project.   

Simon Foale
Anthropology, small scale fisheries
James Cook University
Thomas Vignaud
Photographer & scientist
Based in Fiji

Dr Thomas Vignaud’s is Sharks Search's photographer. His passion for the ocean started when he was a kid sailing and snorkeling around the oceans with his family. During his Ph.D. he focused on genetics and evolution of sharks and collaborated on several other projects involving tagging, conservation or photography. Thomas is also a dive instructor and has thousands of dives around the world, where he took many underwater photographs (click here to see Thomas's work). Thomas's photographs have won many awards.


He now lives in Fiji and works for The Barefoot Collection where he designed a new sustainable Shark Dive, allowing many scientific research opportunities and local work on conservation.

Vignaud and Cooper
Welch and Rigby

Dr David Welch is the Director and Senior Scientist at C2O Fisheries with 25 years' experience in tropical marine fisheries research, management and training. His experience is diverse covering fisheries biology and ecology, stock assessment, monitoring, fisher surveys, the effects of climate variability on fisheries, climate change vulnerability assessments, education and training programs, fisheries management, citizen science, and engagement. More recently David has been delivering tropical fisheries capacity building initiatives throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans alongside government agencies, NGOs and local communities. David is also a Director of the C2O Pacific division based out of Vanuatu that focuses on sustainable marine ecosystems in the Pacific region.

David Welch
Fisheries science and management; climate change
C2O Consulting
c2o Pacific logo_Reverse.png
Cassie Rigby
Fisheries science, management, and policy, deep sea sharks
Based in the Solomon Islands

Dr Cassie Rigby brings experience in shark fisheries and global shark conservation, and is focused on achieving sustainable outcomes for sharks and livelihoods. She has years of practical at sea fisheries experience combined with government fisheries shark research and policy work. She is a research fellow at James Cook University working on shark conservation through the international CITES convention, capacity building in the Pacific, status reports and ecological risk assessments. She is an active member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. Cassie has a passion for the little known deep-sea sharks and their assessment and management. Currently living in the Solomon Islands, her diverse skills, experience and strong interest in the Pacific will contribute towards progressing sustainable use and conservation management of sharks and rays in the Pacific.

Details coming soon

French research agency facilitating SSIP projects
French Polynesia
CRIOBE and Appleyard
Sharon Appleyard
CSIRO National Research Collections

Dr Sharon Appleyard is a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO, working in the Australian National Fish Collection in Hobart. Sharon is a molecular geneticist, with interests in genetic barcoding of marine taxa, population genomics and genetic diversity studies of marine fisheries species, molecular selective breeding in aquaculture species, eDNA for fish detection and quantification research, and low input/degraded DNA NGS library builds and sequencing. Sharon has been involved in shark and ray studies in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific with her PhD students researching the genomic connectivity, effective population sizes and parentage/kinship of key threatened shark species such as hammerhead sharks. Alongside Will White, Sharon is leading several genetics activities for shark and ray management (including capability development) in Papua New Guinea.  

Vanessa Jaiteh
Small scale fisheries, social science, management
Based in Palau

Details coming soon

Jaiteh, Cooper, Divelog
Madie Cooper
Conservation genetics & eDNA
James Cook University

Madie Cooper provides the project with expertise in conservation genetics, specifically the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to uncover and resolve the occurrence and distribution of poorly-understood, rare and endangered marine species, specifically sharks and rays. Her specialisation in eDNA techniques is currently the focus of her PhD at James Cook University and several other collaborative projects. She has previous experience working with non-government organisations in southern and eastern Africa on shark and ray conservation. Her expertise in the application of eDNA technology to studying sharks and rays will be complementary to the species checklists compiled by Shark Search Indo-Pacific.

Details coming soon

Troy Mallie
Data systems, mobile data solutions, cultural data
Environmental Systems Solutions

Dive Log Australasia and SportDiving Magazine help Shark Search Indo-Pacific communicate with the region's SCUBA diving community. These publications are the Region's premier scuba diving magazines that provide all the latest scuba news and information from across Australia and the Asia/Pacific region. The Editors of DiveLog and SportDiving have been very supportive of research and their support has lead to scientific studies about divers' perceptions of sharks through time (view research paper here), and in studying uncommon species such as the porcupine ray (view research paper here). 

SharkSearch Indo-Pacific are proud to partner once again with DiveLog Australaisa and SportDiving Magazine to get the word out to the diving community, and help connect diving Citizen Scientists with research efforts to manage and conserve the world's oceans. See Dive Log Issue 347, June 2017

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