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Empowering people to save our reefs and oceans

Our Team 

Jennifer Loder, Director of Programs & Partnerships

Jenn Loder

Jenn has been working on environmental science, community engagement and science communication for more than a decade. Her professional experience encompasses training volunteers to talk about everything from armadillos to zebras at the Smithsonian's National Zoo; launching science communication strategies for the Miami Museum of Science; investigating effective approaches to conservation behaviour change for local marine issues in South Florida and developing and implementing marine citizen science programs in Australia. Jenn holds a Graduate Diploma in Marine Biology from James Cook University and a Masters of Science in Environmental Science from Florida International University. 

Inspired by her first Indo-Pacific experience in Palau, Jenn moved to Australia to pursue a career that unites science and education to protect our oceans and has been involved with Reef Check Australia since 2008. She has successfully implemented the RCA subtropical rocky reef monitoring program in South East Queensland; seen the expansion of monitoring coverage to more than 40 new reef sites; managed of more than $800,000 of project funds; developed citizen science training and data resources; expanded new partnership networks; and orchestrated the development of the REEFSearch concept to expand public participation opportunities.

Jodi Salmond, Community Engagement Manager

Jodi Salmond

Jodi is a marine biologist, completing her degree, with honours in Marine Parasitology, at James Cook University in Townsville. She started diving and helping with reef surveys on the Great Barrier Reef, before following her passion to a variety of new and exciting places. She spent three years at Underwater World on the Sunshine Coast in between two nesting seasons tagging turtles on Lady Musgrave Island, before moving to Christmas Island where she studied a myriad of amazing animals, and returned to reef surveys once more. She has recently returned from completing her DM whilst in Tofo, Mozambique, studying whale sharks and turtles, and helping with a new reef check program for the Mozambican coastline as part of a research team for All Out Africa.

Jodi started with Reef Check Australia as a volunteer Project Officer in 2010 and came aboard as staff in 2012 through a coveted placement with the Vodafone World of Difference program. Since that time, Jodi has been instrumental in developing and delivering school education programs, expanding community outreach efforts, training volunteers and coordinating reef survey projects.  

Gemma Molinaro, GBR Project Coordinator

Originally from the South East Queensland, Gemma had a lifelong fascination with the ocean and learnt to dive at 16. After embarking on travels after school working as a photographer, she became a Dive master in Egypt and later an Instructor in the Dominican Republic. Combining dive instructing with underwater photography Gemma not only experienced living in other cultures, but was also fortunate enough to thoroughly explore different reef systems. Spending much time on and under the water Gemma saw first-hand some of the threats faced by marine organisms and coral reefs.

With desire to learn more and start a career in marine science and conservation she returned to Australia where she is currently studying Marine Biology at James Cook University. Gaining valuable experience Gemma has volunteered as a scientific diver with different research projects, participating in reef monitoring and in marine education. Joining the Reef Check team in 2015 Gemma hopes to help monitor and protect the Great Barrier Reef using citizen science, education and marine conservation.

Rebekka Pentti, SEQ Project Coordinator

Rebekka Pentti is currently completing her Bachelor of Marine Science at Griffith University, majoring in Ecology. Originally from Finland, Rebekka is a traveller with a strong passion for the ocean. She has lived in Dubai and Thailand, working as a scuba diving instructor. As a dive professional, Rebekka found that sharing her enthusiasm and love for the ocean was extremely rewarding, especially when introducing people to the fascinating underwater world for the first time. Having lived and worked in some of the world's fastest growing infrastructure hubs, Rebekka has witnessed how human impacts, in particular coastal development and dredging, can upset the health of the marine ecosystems and habitats. Rebekka has since been an active advocate for the conservation of the marine systems, volunteering for various projects and organisations and gaining valuable experience while contributing to important causes.

In 2014, Rebekka moved to Australia in order to further pursue her dream of studying marine science, surrounded by some of the richest and diverse marine systems in the world. Joining the Reef Check Australia team in 2015, Rebekka strives to contribute to the valuable research and monitoring of reefs in South East Queensland, while continuing to pursue her passion for marine conservation, citizen science and education.

 

Our Professional Volunteers

Nathan Caromel, Project Officer

Having grown up in New Caledonia, a small pacific island renowned for its lagoon and reefs, Nathan has always been passionate about the marine environment. He holds a bachelor of sciences with honours in biogeochemistry from Griffith University, and currently works as a Science Officer for the Department of Education. After graduating, he obtained his commercial diving licence and worked on a diverse range of marine science projects across Queensland, including shark migratory patterns, crustose coralline algae growth rate, corals trophodynamics, and sponge-microbe interactions.

Nathan joined Reef Check Australia in 2015. He has undertaken field activities, including SE QLD surveys, projects on Heron Island and reef habitat mapping in Moreton Bay and Great Sandy Strait. Nathan also helps to get the word out by participating in community engagement events across the region. Nathan enjoys sharing his passion with others and educating the community about the value of coral reefs and the crisis facing them. 

Jody Kreuger, Dive Officer

Jody is a PADI, DAN & SSI Dive Instructor with Commercial Scientific Diving experience.  He holds a degree in Ecology and Environmental Science from the Queensland University of Technology, and presently works as a Boating and Diving Officer in Brisbane.   Jody's work experience has included a wide range of marine research and conservation activities including whale, dolphin, dugong & shark monitoring projects in QLD and NT, reef fish surveys on the GBR, coral and seagrass monitoring projects within the GBR and sea water and marine sediment monitoring in the Arabian Gulf.

Jody spent over a decade supervising diving & boating activities and was the diving officer for the School of Marine Biology whilst employed at James Cook University, Townsville.  It was here the Jody first became involved in ReefCheck Australia as a volunteer diver, carrying out surveys along the GBR.  Jody moved to Brisbane in 2010 and became involved in the training of Scientific Divers at the University of Queensland and continued his involvement with RCA, carrying out surveys within the SEQ region.  Jody is passionate about marine conservation and has a particular interest in coastal development and its impact on marine ecosystems. 

Samantha Jaworski, GBR Assistant Project Officer

Samantha is originally from the suburbs of Chicago, IL in the United States. Although, she grew up landlocked in the Midwest, Samantha was always captivated by the oceans and marine life from a young age. The Shedd Aquarium along Lake Michigan provided her initial connection to the sea and inspired her to make waves. Samantha's first experiences with applied coral reef ecology came from an internship in the Bahamas in 2006 with the Shedd Aquarium and fieldwork in Belize in 2007 as a component of her undergraduate degree. These experiences helped reaffirm her passion for conservation and coral reef ecosystems. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Samantha spent two years working for the Illinois Natural History Survey. As a field technician, she assisted with freshwater fish and mollusc surveys throughout the state and participated in an acoustic telemetry project aimed at tracking the movement of smallmouth bass throughout a restored section of the DuPage River.

In 2015, Samantha moved to Townsville, Australia to complete a dual Master of Science in Marine Biology & Ecology and Fisheries Biology & Management at James Cook University. Her own research has examined whether marine reserve studies meet current standards for BACI assessments and the use of mobile spatial technology to capture data for coral reef monitoring. Throughout her postgraduate studies, Samantha has volunteered as a scientific diver for a number of research projects and has held positions at both Reef HQ Aquarium and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Joining the Reef Check Australia team in 2016, Samantha endeavours to actively participate in reef health monitoring and engage the local community in coral reef stewardship.

Tania Kenyon, Reef Ambassador Officer (Moreton Bay)

Tania is a keen lover of all things marine (especially sharks!) After completing a Science degree with Honours at UQ, Tania spent 18 months travelling and volunteering in Central and South America. Here, she visited the Galapagos Islands and fell even more in love with the ocean (and Galapagos sea lions in particular!) Seeing conservation issues such as shark finning and illegal fishing present even in one of the world's most pristine National Parks, her commitment to marine conservation strengthened. After returning from travel, Tania worked as an Environmental Consultant and now plans on commencing a PhD next year. When not volunteering for Reef Check or making ends meet, she can usually be found diving or rock climbing.

 

Monica Silva Astorga, Communication Officer 

Monica always felt the need to cross The Andes Mountain range, and go out into the world to get to know other cultures. This affinity for travelling, led her to study journalism to follow her travel urge. She wasn't wrong, as when she finished university she studied in Barcelona, then continued her adventure in Italy.

On her return to Chile, she worked in corporate communications, where for 15 years, she worked with foreign companies as a communication consultant oversaw teams developing communication strategies, always empowering others.

But she knew that something was missing. After seeing a documentary called Before the Flood, Monica felt inspired to rethink climate change, realising that she needed to work and communicate to raise awareness for climate change.

So, when life gave her another opportunity to expand her vision of the world moving to Australia, one of the reasons to choose Queensland was to live near The Great Barrier Reef to dive. The first time she went there, she realised she needs to do something to help the reef health to survive. Finding Reef Check was a unique opportunity to immerse herself in the world of corals and make a difference. 

 

Michelle Triana, Graphic Designer

Michelle Triana is a "design-a-holic" who lives and breathes design.  Her role is to communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings into digital expressions- no easy task!  She started her career in Colombia in 2004 when she started helping local music bands promote themselves both locally and abroad. In 2007 Michelle moved to Australia to follow her dream of becoming a designer and currently works as a volunteer for Reef Check Australia assisting in the area of design. Michelle is also actively engaged with a variety of different businesses helping them improve their design processes and online presence while completing her degree in design.

Megan Welch, Science Engagement Officer

Megan is a marine biologist with a focus on climate change and a passion for community engagement. After completing her BSc (Hons) at Duke University, Megan moved to across the globe to focus her postgraduate research on the Great Barrier Reef. She holds a Ph.D. in fish behaviour and climate change from James Cook University, where her research demonstrated prolonged behavioural changes after cross-generational exposure to ocean acidification. After 3 years of salty and sunny field work on the GBR, Megan is excited to spark new and great love for the marine environment by communicating scientific data and methods for reef sustainability with her surrounding community. Megan joined the RCA team in 2016, where she assists with reports, website streamlining and community engagement. When not buried in data, Megan can be found in or on the water diving, swimming, surfing or paddle boarding and enjoys documenting the world through her camera lens.

 

 

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