Our Team


Our multinational team of scientists, analysts and community-relations specialists is working with SE Asian stakeholders to co-design a toolkit to assess bycatch risk.


Ellen Hines

Principal Investigator


Ellen Hines is the Associate Director of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies and a professor of Geography at San Francisco State University. She is the principal investigator of our project. Ellen has worked on marine mammals in Southeast Asia since 1999 and is dedicated to working with international scientists on marine mammal conservation and to solve the wicked problem of marine megafaunal bycatch. Find out more about Ellen at: http://rtc.sfsu.edu/research/in_hines.html and http://online.sfsu.edu/ehines/


Gregg Verutes

Geographer & Visualization Specialist


Gregg Verutes is a coastal geographer, providing design technology support to the project. He specializes in blending the fields of conservation and technology using spatial analysis and modeling techniques. Gregg enjoys building tools to communicate sustainability science through storytelling, maps, and serious games. He has previously worked for Stanford University, World Wildlife Fund, and National Geographic. Gregg received his M.Sc. in Geographic Information Science from San Diego State University and his B.Sc. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University.


Marjolaine Caillat

Postdoctoral Researcher


Marjolaine is the statistical analysis lead for this project. She is convinced that given the complexity of the marine environment, it is important to have a global view and a multidisciplinary approach including scientific, socio-economic, political and local knowledge to develop appropriate methods and solutions for sustainable compromise between human needs and the natural resource sustainability. Marjolaine spent 10 years in Scotland to complete a Masters in Environmental Biology and a Ph.D. associated with the Schools of Biology and Statistics at the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland.


Cindy Peter

Research Officer


Cindy Peter is a Research Officer at Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Project coordinator for the Sarawak Dolphin Project. Her research interest is the conservation ecology of coastal cetaceans and impacts of fisheries and human activities on cetaceans. Cindy has collaborated extensively with local fishing communities as well as international marine mammal scientists. She recently received the Stephen J. Leatherwood Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Presentation at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Cindy received her Masters at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.


Louisa Ponnampalam

Chairperson and Co-Founder of The MareCet Research Organization


Louisa leads MareCet, a Malaysian non-profit NGO focused on marine mammal research and conservation. She is also a Pew Marine Fellow and sits as a member in the IUCN SSC Cetacean and Sirenia Specialist Groups. Louisa has worked on marine mammals since 2004 and has focused her efforts on marine mammals in Malaysia and the wider Southeast Asia since 2008. She is dedicated to improving the knowledge base of cetaceans and dugongs and raising their profiles in Malaysia, and to translate science into applied action for marine mammal and marine conservation on the ground, using her findings to work with management authorities and local communities. Louisa received her doctorate from University College London. Find out more about Louisa at: MareCet and The Pew Charitable Trusts.


Vu Long

Founder and Coordinator of Vietnam Marine Mammal Network


Vu Long is among the few marine scientists in Vietnam who focuses entirely on marine mammals. His background is in biology and population ecology of mammals, having held various researcher positions for Vietnam's research institutes. His passion for protecting marine mammals led him to start the Vietnam Marine Mammals Network, an environmental NGO to promote research and conservation of marine mammals in Vietnam.


Chalatip Junchompoo

Marine Biologist


Chalatip Junchompoo is a Marine Biologist with the Eastern Marine and Coastal Resource Center of the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Ms. Junchompoo received her B.Sc. in Fisheries and M.S. in Fisheries Science at Kasetsart University, Thailand. Her speciality is marine endangered species ecology and conservation. She directs the marine mammal stranding and rehabilitation program along the eastern Gulf of Thailand. Ms. Junchompoo has been collaborating with Dr. Hines in Trat Province since 2008.


Andrew Frederick Johnson

Marine Fisheries Ecologist


Andrew is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Centre for Marine Biodiversty and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. He is interested in understanding how fishermen interact with their fisheries and the effect their industries have on marine communities. Andrew has worked with a range of different fisheries in 8 countries, currently focusing his efforts on small-scale fisheries in Mexico and South East Asia. Find out more about Andrew at: http://aburtolab.tason.us/ and http://gulfprogram.ucsd.edu/


Lee Sok Fen

Social Scientist


Lee Sok Fen is a postgraduate student at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Currently, she is finishing her Master's in social science, studying local perceptions of dugongs, seagrass habitat and ocean conservation. She works with human subjects to identify ways for people to more effectively manage the nature environment, including drivers of change, impacts on human well-being, and governance issues in the context of public participatory decision-making. Find out more about Sok Fen at: ResearchGate


Thien Huynh



Thien Huynh is a researcher of the Southern Institute of Ecology (Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology). Thien received his Master's in Marine Biology from the National Taiwan Ocean University in 2014 and is now working to conserve flora and fauna in Vietnam's estuaries and deltas. Find out more about Thien and his institution at: http://sie.vast.vn/pages/19-sie-introduction.en


Weerapong Laovechprasit ("Dr. Mac")

Marine Veterinarian


Weerapong Laovechprasit (D.V.M.; Hons, Certified SeaVet, University of Florida) is a marine veterinarian of the Marine Endangered Species Unit, Marine and Coastal Resource Research and Development Institute, Thailand. He has worked on marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation and pathology since 2013. Weerapong conducts cause-of-death investigations and all related pathology, necropsy, histopathology, and molecular techniques for stranded marine mammals in Thailand.


Truong Anh Tho



Ms. Truong Anh Tho graduated from Biology, University of Science, Vietnam and is currently working there as a researcher. Her research focus is on conservation education and communication. Currently, Ms. Tho works as the coordinator of the Sustainable Wetlands in the Mekong project. In 2014, she co-founded the Vietnam Marine Mammal Network and has been working tirelessly to establish this initiative which aims to protect marine mammals in Vietnam.


Duc Hoang Minh



Dr Duc Hoang is Senior Researcher and Vice Director of Southern Institute of Ecology, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He is an animal ecologist and has been the principal scientist in many projects on animal conservation. He has studied cetaceans since 2010, focusing on distribution of Irrawaddy dolphins in Vietnam within the Gulf of Thailand, and skeletons of stranded cetaceans kept in Whale Temples. Dr Duc Hoang was trained in environmental remote sensing and has expert knowledge in spatial environmental modeling.


Rebecca Lewison

Principal Investigator


Rebecca is a conservation ecologist and an Associate Professor at San Diego State University. She also serves as Director for the Institute for Ecological Management and Monitoring, a multi-disciplinary research institute at SDSU. Using innovative field, quantitative and lab-based approaches, her research focuses on vulnerable wildlife populations that live in both terrestrial and aquatic environments and face pressing conservation issues, e.g. fragmentation, habitat loss, harvest and incidental mortality, disease and other disturbances. Rebecca received her Bachelor's degree from Vassar College and went on to complete her doctorate in Ecology at the University of California, Davis.

Project Timeline (2016-2017)

Project starts
Fall 2016
Initial project scoping and existing data compilation
Site visits and meetings in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia; data compilation
Knowledge management
Science letter (Johnson et al.) published
Spring 2017
Scenario building and analysis
(including uncertainty/sensitivity)
Initial risk modeling, toolbox synthesis, and advisory meetings
Workshop in Thailand: presentation of draft toolkit, emerging results; feedback
Fall 2017
Fine tuning of bycatch risk models and website launch
Project ends
Winter 2017
Preparation of journal submissions and further proposals