THE TEAM

Whale Wise is a research group dedicated to evidence-based marine conservation. We study the impact of human activity on whale and dolphin populations, and engage the public with our work through media and local events.
Protecting whales can never be achieved through solo efforts alone. It requires a team with diverse background and skills, united by a shared passion for marine conservation. The Whale Wise team has experience in whale research, conservation action, public engagement and media. Together, we are committed to supporting ocean harmony.
We are also fortunate to work with several institutions, who together provide us with the resources and expertise needed to realise our goals. Read about our partners here.
Tom Grove (co-founder)
research
Tom
(co-founder)
Alyssa Stoller (co-founder)
research, outreach
Alyssa
(co-founder)
Abigail Robinson
research, outreach
Abigail
Flordespina Dodds
research
Flo
Amelie Laute
research
Amelie
Gabriele Negro
media
Gabriele
Synnøve Røsand
research
Synnøve
Rosemary Connelli
media
Rosemary
Benjamin Hildebrand
research
Benjamin
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Tom Grove (co-founder)
research
PhD student, University of Edinburgh
Interests: behavioural ecology, human-whale interactions, citizen science, public speaking and events
After graduating with a degree in Natural Science (University of Cambridge, UK), Tom has spent the last three years working for various whale research and conservation groups. As part of this, he interned for the University of Iceland in Húsavík, contributing to photo-ID and behavioural research. During this time, he formed the idea of promoting a more sustainable whale watching industry in Iceland and beyond. This idea has transformed into Whale Wise, with the broader aim of reducing human disturbance to whales. Our behavioural, blow sampling and body condition research will form part of Tom’s PhD with the University of Edinburgh.
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Alyssa Stoller (co-founder)
research, outreach
master’s student, University of Edinburgh
Interests: film and education, citizen science, science-policy integration, whale migratory patterns and habitats
Alyssa grew up in California, and developed a love for whales and the ocean at a very young age. To pursue this passion, Alyssa obtained a degree in Marine Environmental Science from Western Washington University. During and since university, Alyssa has primarily studied humpback whales. Her experience started in the South Pacific with Cook Islands Whale Research in 2014, where she spent four years as a research assistant. From there, she co-founded Whale Wise in 2018. Currently, she is attending the University of Edinburgh for a Masters degree in Marine Systems and Policy, and runs our citizen science and social media platforms.
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Abigail Robinson
research, outreach
biosecurity officer
Interests: blow sampling, videography, behavioural ecology
Abigail is from New Zealand and has always felt a draw to the ocean. Growing up in a family that spent summers fishing and diving, meant that she encountered cetaceans from a young age, and has always scanned the horizon for them ever since. While studying a BAppSc. in Biodiversity Management (Unitec, Auckland), she spent a season in 2016 working alongside Alyssa as a research assistant for Cook Islands Whale Research. This was when she learned to fly a drone, and capture humpbacks from an angle that offers many new research opportunities. Abigail is our drone pilot, taking Whale Wise to the skies to collect blow samples and aerial images. Currently she works as a Biosecurity Officer in New Zealand.
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Flordespina Dodds
research
whale biologist
Interests: behavioural ecology, human-whale interactions, citizen science, public speaking and events
Flo graduated from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) with a Bachelors in Biology, with a concentration in marine biology and a minor in natural history. A class on marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy made her the whale enthusiast she is today. Starting with her master’s dissertation in 2019 (Marine Systems and Policy, University of Edinburgh), Flo runs our body condition research. Flo’s dream is a career in whale conservation in eastern Canada. Her favorite whales are humpbacks and right whales because they are krilling it!
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Amelie Laute
research
undergraduate student, University of Kiel
Interests: impacts of anthropogenic noise, pollution, role of whales in global systems, science communication
After graduating from high school, Amelie travelled to various countries for three years, gaining an understanding of the world’s beauty, problems and associated solutions little by little. She has learnt from and contributed to different marine research groups along this journey. While working with Cook Islands Whale Research, she realised the importance of whale conservation. Getting to know Tom and Alyssa during this project led to collaboration in Iceland with Whale Wise, now and in the future. As part of her current undergraduate dissertation (Marine biology, University of Kiel), Amelie runs our acoustics research, understanding the underwater soundscape of North Iceland.
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Gabriele Negro
outreach
outreach officer, University of Edinburgh
Interests: science outreach, wildlife film-making, ecology
As an Ecological and Environmental Sciences graduate (University of Edinburgh), Gabi’s interest lies in a combination of wildlife conservation and sharing the beauty of the natural world with others. After volunteering in dolphin and chameleon conservation around Europe, he conducted his own research on Colombian moths and Italian butterflies. Recently, he has self-trained as amateur documentary filmmaker with the aim of sharing empowering messages about the natural world. Gabi joined us in 2019 and has helped with both our engagement efforts and our field research.
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Synnøve Røsand
research
science teacher, Norway
Interests: ecology, ethology, photography, anything whale-related
After watching a documentary about orcas at the age of six, Synnøve decided she was going to become a biologist. She graduated from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Ås, Norway) with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, and later with a master’s degree in Ecology. After graduating, she completed the Post Graduate Certificate in Education and went on to teach natural sciences for four years before interning with the University of Iceland in Húsavik. It was here that Synnøve met the Whale Wise team! Synnøve run our photo-ID catalogues and contributes to body condition research.
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Rosemary Connelli
outreach
graphic designer, Connelli Designs
Interests: visual communication, conservation, film and education
Growing up on an island and practising art, Rosemary decided to combine her two passions into one: using visual communication as a storytelling tool for marine conservation. She graduated from Green Mountain College with a BFA degree concentrating in whale conservation in 2018, and continues to use her degree in designing infographics and educational materials for the awareness of cetacean conservation. She has collaborated with The Nature Conservancy, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, New Bedford Whaling Museum, The Húsavík Whale Museum, and various other environmental-based organizations. She was introduced to the Whale Wise team in summer 2019, where she was interning with the University of Iceland in Húsavík, contributing to photo-identification and behavioural research in humpback whales. She currently works as a reporter and operates her own graphic design business in Block Island.
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Benjamin Hildebrand
research
master’s student, University of Kiel
Interests: technology, photography, wildlife and whale conservation
Beni is a student of mechanical engineering from Germany. He’s a passionate climber and handyman for wood and metal work. Beni got to know the Whale Wise team through personal connections and is excited to contribute to the research this summer. Always being fascinated by nature, he is keen to learn and study more about the Icelandic whales. With his technical abilities Beni will support the team to find practical solutions. Additionally, his pizza baking magic will raise everyone’s spirit and efficiency.
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Beverly Tan (2019)
Conservation officer
Interests: behavioural ecology, human-whale interactions, citizen science, public speaking and events
Beverly an Ecological and Environmental Sciences graduate from the University of Edinburgh, and is interested in the use of technology such as drones in conservation, environmental and ecological sciences. She has dabbled in marine conservation back home in Singapore: from work with Conservation International’s manta tracking program, to research on scleractinian corals, to volunteering with intertidal and seagrass monitoring groups. Combined with her love for the ocean, conservation, the outdoors and the environment, Whale Wise was an exciting next step for her. Her favourite animals are whale sharks (close enough!), and her favourite whales are narwhals.