Live Events

AXA Coral Live 2018 Speakers

During AXA Coral Live 2018, we invited scientists and researchers based at the CARMABI Research Centre to speak about the restoration of coral reefs, coral ecosystems, impacts of climate change, deep ocean corals and the genetics of corals. The speakers were hosted by Digital Explorer’s founder and educator, Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop and science communicator, Ellie Mackay.

Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop
Director, Digital Explorer
Educationalist and expedition-leader, Jamie recognised the need to narrow the gap between science and his students. In 2004, he began experimenting with the use of technology in the classroom to find ways to spark his pupils’ imagination. By 2007, he founded Digital Explorer to provide his students with real-life encounters with field scientists working in the remote corners of the planet. A decade later, Digital Explorer has made science an exciting subject for millions of children around the globe. In addition to the Oceans Education Explore Live programmes, it has added 360 Virtual Reality as a new tool to support teachers in their mission to inspire students to learn. In 2017, Digital Explorer’s Arctic 360VR reached over 1.1 million views.

Mark Vermeij
Dr Mark J.A. Vermeij
Scientific Director, CARMABI
Mark’s research interests include evolutionary and ecological dynamics of benthic marine organisms, with emphasis on corals, algae and, more recently, microbes. Currently, his work focuses on the earliest life stages of corals and the processes that operate during these earliest life stages. The results of all scientific work conducted at CARMABI are disseminated through the organisation’s local network (i.e. parks, museums, educational programs) to stakeholder groups that are directly or indirectly involved with coral reef management and conservation. Mark also works as an associate professor for the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam and is an editor for the journal Coral Reefs.

Kristen Marhaver
Dr Kristen Marhaver
Marine Biologist, CARMABI
Dr Kristen Marhaver is marine biologist working to protect and restore coral reefs through discovery and innovation. Marhaver’s research lab produces coral probiotics, 3D-printed settlement surfaces, and advanced reproductive technologies to increase the survival rates of juvenile corals. Marhaver’s work has been featured by NPR, BBC, The Economist, The Atlantic, and Popular Science, and she has spoken to audiences at TED, Google, Harvard, and at ocean festivals around the world. Marhaver is a TED Senior Fellow, a National Geographic Explorer, and a World Economic Forum Young Scientist. Dr Marhaver graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Pim Bongaerts
Dr Pim Bongaerts
McCosker Chair, California Academy of Sciences
Before commencing his position at the California Academy of Sciences, Pim was a Research Fellow at The University of Queensland in Australia, and served as the lead scientist for the Deep Reef component of the XL Catlin Seaview Survey. Pim’s research focuses on the molecular ecology of coral reefs, using genome sequencing methods to study adaptation and connectivity in coral populations. He has a particular interest in mesophotic coral ecosystems, the deepest stretches of tropical coral reefs, which he studies with underwater technologies such as remotely operated vehicles and closed-circuit rebreathers.

Kelly Latijnhouwers
MSc. Restoration technician at SECORE International
Kelly is a coral reef ecologist and restoration technician at SECORE international, an organization dedicated to restoration and protection of coral reefs. For over six years, Kelly has been involved in research at Carmabi, varying from studying early life history traits in corals, to comparing historical fish stock assessments. During all this time, Kelly has been heavily involved in the work of SECORE as a volunteer. Once she received her Masters degree from the University of Amsterdam in 2015, she started her job as Restoration Technician. The focus of her research lies on identifying the conditions under which coral recruitment will be most successful. These findings will be used to optimize large scale restoration efforts designed to increase larval recruitment in threatened coral communities.
Dr Rene van der Zande
Research Scientist, University of Queensland
Rene gained his Master’s degree in Environmental Biology at Utrecht University, following an undergrad in Biomarine Sciences. He has just finished his PhD on the Great Barrier Reef at the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab at the University of Queensland Australia. He works on coral physiology with some of the world’s leading experts in this field and is particularly interested in effects of climate on coral physiology.
lucas_tichy_260pxLucas Tichy,
MSc Biology, Radboud University Nijmegen

Lucas is a Master student in Biology with specialisation in Microbiology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Daisy Flores
MSc Tropical Aquatic Ecology, University of Bremen
Daisy is a Master student in Tropical Aquatic Ecology at the University of Bremen.

Cor Hameete
Head education, CARMABI
Cor studied biotechnology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) followed by doing his teacher training. Becoming a high-school in the Netherlands, life took to Curacao. He currently heads the education CARMABI Curacao and continues to teach part-time on the island.

The Carmabi Education Program consists of both a Terrestrial and Marine Program. The programs are designed to build awareness and knowledge of local environmental issues and ocean literacy. For each, students get a chance to practice “working scientifically” as they get a chance to explore corals, sharks, turtles and human impact on the natural environment.

Dr Kevin Kocot
Assistant Professor, University of Alabama and Curator of Invertebrate Zoology, Alabama Museum of Natural History
Kevin recently discovered new species when he explored the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow his work on

Eleanor Mackay
Science communicator & field producer
Ellie is an award-winning science communicator and extreme environment filmmaker with a passion for social impact. She specialises in conservation, tech and environment as well as humanitarian relief. She has a postgraduate degree in Science Communication following 7 years’ international science teaching and previous experience in TV production. She is now combining her production skills and love of scientific storytelling to create engaging content. Her particular passion lies in highlighting environmental solutions through mixed media, including online written, visual and audio materials, short films and podcasts.

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