board of trustees
Dr. Alex Cowan
Alex trained as a geologist, working on problems ranging from volcanic processes to CO2 sequestration and solution mining.
With a background in yachting and mountaineering, he transitioned away from academia to expedition cruising and for the last 6 years has been working as geologist and expedition leader in both the Arctic and Antarctic. When not on a ship he can usually be found with skis or sticky rubber on his feet.
Alex's expertise: Geology, Sea Ice, Climate
Brandon grew up in Victoria B.C. on the shores of the Salish Sea. His early passion for marine mammals lead him to a long career in the polar regions aboard a variety of expedition vessels. Brandon has participated in countless expeditions to the Southern Ocean and the High Arctic as an educator, adventure guide, and Expedition Leader.
Over the past 20 years, Brandon has demonstrated his proficiency in developing exceptional guest experiences and engaging educational programming. The past decade has found Brandon directing operations for tourism operators, previously as Director of Expedition Operations for Polar Latitudes and currently as Director of Expedition Operations and Program Development for EYOS Expeditions. Brandon was a key partner in developing a dedicated Citizen Science program aboard polar expedition ships, devoting a position on each team to coordinate and maximize guest interaction with citizen science projects. In 4 seasons the program has become the model for integrating citizen science on polar expedition ships.
Brandon’s field expertise as a marine ecologist and environmental scientist is supported by a Master of Science in Environmental Practice.
Ted grew up in California, whale watching and getting seasick in Monterey Bay from the age of a toddler. He was fortunate to be born into a wildlife expedition tour company, studied tropical conservation biology at Duke University, then was seduced by the glory of polar extremes, leading expeditions to the polar regions for the past quarter century. Ted has been deeply involved in Antarctic tourism management, and has increasingly focused on using citizen science to answer the void of data in these remote waters with the founding of the whale identification and tracking website www.Happywhale.com. When not at work or aboard ship, Ted prefers to be kite surfing, backcountry skiing or rock climbing.
Ted's expertise: Tourism Management, Marine Biology
Laura trained as a geologist and then spent over 10 years working in marine geophysics. She went to Antarctica for the first time on a sailboat her husband built. The geologist inside desperately wanted to participate in science, but she struggled to find a way to contribute.
Having a resource like The Polar Citizen Science Collective would have been her dream back on her first trip south. Laura and her husband, now own and operate small vessels in Antarctica, as Quixote Expeditions; Laura loves getting her guests involved in as many science projects as possible.
When not onboard a vessel she spends the southern winter enjoying the snow in Ushuaia and delving deeper into Antarctic tourism management.
Laura’s expertise: Geology, Marine Geophysics
Amanda’s Antarctic career began in 1996 with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) as a penguin biologist researching foraging behaviour and population trends. She established study areas for the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Ecosystem Monitoring Programme at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, and Port Lockroy on the Antarctic Peninsula.
Amanda’s passion for science communication led her to take a position as Press Officer with the award-winning Press, Public Relations and Education Department at BAS. She has also worked as an ornithologist for an IAATO member operator and Project Coordinator for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. Outside of Antarctica, Amanda spent two years with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) developing inspiring wildlife and science events at popular visitor sites in the Peak District National Park, UK. She is currently Head of Communications and Environment for the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO).
Amanda believes that helping people responsibly and meaningfully explore our planet’s wild places will create ambassadors for their long-term protection. Citizen science is a powerful means to achieve this.
Dr. Sabine Dembkowski
Sabine studied business and management before embarking on a career in management consultancy with A.T. Kearney and Monitor Company in London.
She soon realised that she would like to reach beyond the PowerPoint slide and founded and led a successful leadership advisory firm in Germany. When she started to work with boards, she identified an opportunity to improve the practise of conducting board evaluations. Her research on creating more effective boards is peer-reviewed, published and forms the foundation of an innovative online tool. When not working, she can be found in the Heath or exploring different parts of the world.
Sabine´s expertise: Strategy, Branding, Board Development.
Dr. Annette Bombosch
Annette is a biologist by training and studied habitat suitability of humpback and Antarctic minke whales in the Southern Ocean for her PhD. She not only has a deep passion for whales, but is also interested in the small stuff – such as the phyto-and zooplankton that supports the big marine mammals. She is interested in our understanding of how the different players in the food web work together and how we can ensure the conservation of the beautiful but fragile polar regions in our changing world.
Since her first time in Antarctica camping at the base of Mount Erebus, Annette has enjoyed working in the polar regions for 7 years. When not on board a ship, she can be found in Bavaria, Germany either on a bike or with hiking boots on her feet and a camera around her neck on the lookout for the local fauna.
Annette’s expertise: Marine Biology, esp. Marine Mammals
Robert W. Gilmore
Bob (Robert) was born in Chicago, Illinois in the United States, but didn’t stay there long. Ever since he could crawl he was drawn to the natural world. He has enjoyed 18 seasons working in the polar regions and now wishes to help support scientific inquiries in those harsh and fragile ecosystems.
When not in the polar regions, Bob continues exploring and resides in the Rocky Mountains near Aspen, Colorado spending his time hiking, fly fishing, camping and whitewater rafting.
Bob’s expertise: Glaciology, Geology
Originally Australian, Lauren grew up in the States and has been collecting "homes" ever since. With a background in TV marketing, she spent a decade living in New York City before transitioning to a career in photography. A grand pursuit of adventure took her to Antarctica in 2012 and fast forward, she is now enjoying her 6th year in the polar tourism industry as an Expedition Leader.
When not in the polar regions, Lauren splits her time between Canberra, Australia and the Scottish Highlands.
Lauren's expertise: Sea Ice, Clouds
Allison was born and raised in Seattle, enjoying all that the rainy Pacific Northwest has to offer and now lives in sunny San Diego as a student in the Biological Oceanography PhD program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prior to her time in graduate school, she spent 10 years as a research biologist combining her love for science and for travel around the world.
Her first expedition to Antarctica occurred in 2013, where she lived aboard the US Nathaniel B Palmer for 53-days in the Ross Sea. In an effort to share her current research with others, she developed the FjordPhyto Antarctic Citizen Science project in partnership with Dr. Maria Vernet, IAATO operators, and diligent guides.
When not doing science you can find Allison traveling, scuba diving, ultra-running, cycling, or drinking a good cup of coffee.
Fun Fact - Allison ran a marathon on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, dressed as a banana, the same day she boarded the Palmer icebreaker for the two-month expedition at sea.
Allison's expertise: Oceanography, Genetics
Having grown up in the mountains and lakes of upstate New York, Susan developed a passion for the environment around her. As a graduate of Cornell University, she worked with both state and national governments to facilitate environmental education in the area of resource management and Endangered Species re-introduction.
30 years ago, Susan had her first opportunity to go to sea as an educator. First traveling to Alaska she worked as a naturalist and lecture which eventually lead to her becoming Expedition Leader. Susan has lectured and lead expeditions in wilderness areas around the world.
She joined the G Adventures Team nine years ago as Expedition Operations Manager and Expedition Leader, and has instituted participation in UNEP Clean Seas initiative.
Susan serves on the committees of the polar industry groups, IAATO and AECO to help manage environmentally responsible tourism. Over the years she has helped design guidelines for access to ecologically sensitive areas and wildlife protection guidelines.
Additionally, she has just been honored by the United Kingdom British Antarctic Survey for her commitment to responsible tourism in Antarctica with the naming of a cove after her – Adie Cove is on the west side of the Antarctica peninsula.
Dr. Audrey Taylor
Audrey grew up spending summers on the coast of Maine enthralled with the wildlife and people that live and work in the cold Gulf of Maine ecosystem. “North” became one of her favorite words, and she later spent six summers on the North Slope of Alaska studying Arctic-breeding birds as a PhD student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
She is now a faculty member in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and moonlights as the President of the Board of Directors for the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., a Fairbanks-based non-profit devoted to facilitating a better connected Arctic research community. Audrey is an active practitioner of citizen science in her research, and a proponent of including data derived from citizen science projects in the polar tourism industry in the effort to build and sustain a global Arctic observing system.
Audrey’s expertise: Avian ecology and migration, design of citizen science projects
Ben is an Auzzie second generation Antarctic mariner with over two decades of experience spanning both poles.
In the early 2000’s he realised his job satisfaction in supporting science onboard his vessel by developing a fellowship program which has since grown into regularly supporting multiple government level dedicated science voyages on his own vessel R/V Australis. He likes the idea of 'just a citizen' supporting polar science.
He serves on committees of IAATO to help manage environmentally responsible tourism and is also the founder of PolarTag.org which is a wildlife relighting portal which feeds citizen photographs of tagged polar animals onto its scientific tagger.
Ben’s expertise: Constantly in the field, logistical know how & large polar science network
Penelope Wagner has been a sea ice researcher at the Norwegian Ice Service (NIS), part of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, since 2013 where she supports operational research and development at NIS. She has worked since 2007 with both the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Delaware to support the U.S. National Ice Center with improvements in operational data standardization for the Arctic and the Antarctic, and evaluating operational ice charts for climate monitoring applications. At NIS she has helped expand the open source QGIS ice charting system (Bifrost) and is currently working on novel products that will provide improved operational information for ice type and thickness proxies in routine ice information products.
She is co-leading the World Meterological Organization (WMO) Global Cryosphere Watch (GCW) Sea Ice Best Practices for Operations for sustained in situ monitoring. Additionally, Penelope is leading the partnership between the NIS and marine navigational users to implement mechanisms which will provide for enhanced data exchange and communication between the two communities and ensure optimal measures for maritime safety.