Dr Hawkins is a marine ecologist specializing in cetaceans, a wildlife guide and marine educator, environmental consultant and conservationist. Her passion for marine conservation and education led Dr Hawkins to establish Dolphin Research Australia in 2012. Dr Hawkins has over 20 years’ experience in marine mammal research and education. Her research has focused on the ecology, biology and conservation of coastal cetaceans in Australia. She has a particular interest in the social systems, communication, population dynamics, risk assessments and health of dolphins. Part of her ongoing research continues to focus on the long-term trends, abundance and social systems of dolphins in the Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland region.Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and international conferences (see publications). Her work has featured in a variety of media including New Scientist, The Australian and Animal Planet. She has also been consultant for numerous media and documentary productions including BBC’s Planet Earth series. Dr Hawkins is also an expert marine mammal science advisor for non-government organisations and government agencies.
Dr Hawkins is a passionate educator and has helped to develop academic courses in marine mammal ecology, biology, stranding and incident response, in addition to, cetacean tour guide and operator training and education programs for school students. She often is an invited guest speaker at different events and workshops for community and specialist groups. She has written numerous books and education resources for children on cetaceans and marine conservation.
In addition to her scientific and education roles, Dr Hawkins is also an artist and illustrator. She produces artworks in multi-media including watercolour, ink, block printing and textiles that are inspired by nature and caring for the Planet. Her artwork is featured in our Dolphin Research Australia online store.
Founding Director, Education Manager
Isabela loves working with youth. Her background in education and psychology helped her develop resources and programs with a focus on self/group/environmental awareness. Isabela is originally from Brazil, where she worked as an English language teacher for more than ten years and got her degree in Bachelor of Psychology with a major in analytical psychology. Living in the Northern Rivers since 2004, Isabela has been an active member of the community through her hobbies and work. She is the sustainability coordinator, student support officer and school chaplain at the primary campus of Sathya Sai College, a Human Values based school. Isabela’s work involves ongoing collaboration with her colleagues, students, parents and the wider community to promote positive changes through ‘litter literacy’, waste management and wildlife conservation. Her passion for dolphins has inspired her to raise awareness about these fascinating animals and the environment through education and conservation. In addition to her education role, Isabela has completed a Marine Science degree at Southern Cross University and is an environmental consultant specialising in aerial surveys.
Bribie Island Dolphin Watch Coordinator, Editor & Director, President
Pete Garbett was born and raised on the Gold Coast and has over 45 years of experience with cetaceans. He has worked with captive and wild cetaceans since the early 1970s, with Australian Whale Conservation Society, Queensland Museum, Society for Marine Mammalogy, Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, Norfolk Island Whale Survey, Shark Meshing Community Liaison Group – Gold Coast, and Bribie Island Dolphin Sightings. He formed, and is lead administrator for, Cetal Fauna, a social media platform that disseminates a variety of information on cetaceans. Pete’s special interests are delphinid taxonomy and nomenclature, and his skills include proofreading and editing which he brings to Dolphin Research Australia.
Research Associate & Director, Secretary
Lara is a marine biologist who has been studying cetaceans for approximately 9 years. Her passion for the ocean and the environment started as a child living on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Since then she has completed her bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and her Honours project on Australian humpback dolphins at Southern Cross University. She got her start in cetacean work with Dr Liz during her undergraduate degree, helping with the Byron Bay Dolphin Research Project and she has been hooked ever since. She has had experience with humpback whale acoustics, and dolphin sociology, ecology, and behaviour. She is passionate about conservation and education firmly believes in sharing this with the public to help connect people with the environment they live in.
Lara’s journey with Dolphin Research Australia began as a volunteer in 2011 as an intern. She later completed her honours and research assistant position with the organisation. Lara was honoured to be offered a position on the Board of Directors in 2019 and hopes to continue to contribute to the better understanding and conservation of both dolphins and the world they call home.
Community Engagement Officer, Director
Merryn is an environmental and marine scientist with a deep passion for the ocean and all its inhabitants. She is an avid sea turtle lover with over 9 years’ experience in marine turtle monitoring and research. Previously she was employed as the Scientific Coordinator with flatback turtles within a monitoring program in Western Australia, leading the scientific mark-recapture program for the season. Merryn also coordinated the Citizen Science Turtle Volunteer Program for the local area. She has worked as a Research Assistant with Dolphin Research Australia expanding her knowledge and experience in marine mammals. She is a passionate marine education officer, ecotourism guide and advocate of engaging local communities to help develop our next generation of citizen scientists and environmental stewards.
Jess grew up in the beachside town of Lennox Head in New South Wales and has always had a passion for the ocean. After growing up surrounded by animals and volunteering with local wildlife rescue organisations, Jess undertook her studies to become a Veterinary Nurse. During her two years working as an animal nurse, she decided she wanted to research and study species in their natural environment. Jess is now going into her third year of a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Ecology at University of the Sunshine Coast University and is mixing her love of the ocean environment by focusing her studies on the biology and ecology of marine species. The opportunity to work as a Research Assistant at Dolphin Research Australia has further inspired her love for dolphins and her desire to conserve the marine environment while educating local communities.
Grown up in Germany, Christian had nothing to do with the oceans and all the critters living in it. Instead he grew up hiking in the mountains, enjoying his winters on the snowboard or nordic skiing and paddling on lakes. After finishing his university degree in engineering, materials science (Dipl.-Ing.), he decided to go on a trip around Australia and started volunteering for Dolphin Research Australia. He fell in love with the ocean and deeply enjoys working with the dolphins. Overall he is a man of many talents and supports the organisation in numerous ways including assisting with statistical analysis, team supervision and coordination. In addition to assisting Dolphin Research Australia, Christian is also a statistical consultant and tutor.