Current team members
Dr. Ada Natoli
Project founder and director
Ada is a specialist in population genetics with a passionate interest in conservation of species. Her main interests are investigating the evolutionary mechanisms generating population structure, and supporting conservation and management programs. Ada holds a degree in Biology and a PhD from the University of Durham, UK, on the molecular ecology of bottlenose and common dolphins, comparing these species and their population structure on a worldwide scale, in the Mediterranean Sea and South Africa. She spent a number of year conducting field research on several projects monitoring the cetacean population in the Mediterranean Sea and Canary Islands for Tethys Research Institute and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She is a member of the IUCN/SSC Cetacean Specialist Group and she has participated to the International Whaling Commission as member of the Italian delegation and invited participant. She is involved in the conservation of cetaceans in the ACCOBAMS area.
Nassim Seyedali-Hursh, MBA
Originally from the US, Nassim has lived and worked in 3 continents with a variety of cultures and business practices. In 2009, she earned a Master of Business Administration from Robert Gordon University in Scotland and soon after was hired on as a Regional Project Manager for one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Nassim has since worked in a number of dynamic roles for other for-profit organisations. A desire to make a difference in the non-profit sector led her to discovering the UAE Dolphin Project. Working as a consultant for the project has allowed Nassim to combine her passion for best business practices with that of working for a great cause. Nassim drives the organisational development of the project and helps put ideas into action.
Field work assistant
Having grown up in South Africa, surrounded by magnificent flora and fauna working with wildlife was a passion from a very early age. Traill began volunteering with various organizations from his early teens, working with a wide variety of primates, birds and exotic cats. His full time career began training birds for free flight bird shows and educational presentations for a bone-fide facility in Johannesburg. Traill then ventured into wildlife rehabilitation, working with a ample variety of animals in rescue and release. During this time he also gained a diploma in animal behavior, which led him to working in Dubai. Since his time here Traill has been involved in assisting with shark research as well as monitoring dolphin populations in Oman.
Valérie is a specialist in corporate communication and environmental public relations with a passion for the marine environment and cetaceans.
Over the last 17 years Valérie has worked in communication’s management in several French companies, and she has been an active member of Cetus, a French association dedicated to the study and protection of cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management Assistance and Corporate Communication from the CELSA-Sorbonne University, France, that she achieved completing a thesis on “Dolphins in the business communication”. She subsequently completed a Master’s degree (French DESS) in Environmental Public Relations, University of Cergy-Pontoise, France, conducting a study on sustainable development of road transport companies. She is actively involved in the project since its onset raising public awareness and organising educational initiatives, in particular among the UAE French community.
Cristyn has a passion for conservation and cetaceans, in particular Killer whales. She has spent time in BC Canada volunteering for the Habitat stewardship project participating in public outreach; and for Straitwatch where she helped monitor the boating activities and deployed hydrophones to record noise levels around the Southern Resident community. Cristyn has a Masters degree in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, UK. For her thesis she investigated cetacean distribution in the Bay of Biscay and the Western approaches of the English Channel, with regards to environmental parameters. She is a trained Marine Mammal Observer and Marine Mammal Medic. Cristyn is involved in the field data collection as well as data analysis.
Project graphic designer
Freelance graphic, web designer, video/motion designer and 3d artist. Giovanni‘s passions are music and informatics that he merged together during his studies in informatics and video design. Giovanni holds a degree in Video design from the University of Rome, Italy, a master in Computer graphic, from the University of Verona, Italy and a number of specializations in digital visual effects. Giovanni has worked for several renowned Italian and international companies such as Cinecitta’, Dolce&Gabbana, MTV, Sneakers, Emi Music Italia and his works have received various awards.
Brunella got to know about the UAE Dolphin project submitting a video she took about a sighting she witnessed in Dubai waters. After that she actively got involved in the project as field work assistant and raising awareness among the community. Brunella now lives in Germany with her family.
“Hi I’m Brunella Capitani, I meet Ada after an amazing “meeting with dolphins” while excersising with the Dubai Outrigger Club, luckily I had my phone with me that early morning!! I recognize and share with Ada the real love and passion for the sea. Thanks to the UAE Dolphin Project I had the chance to learn so much about dolphins, turtles and sea life of UAE and the chance to live the different aspect of the beautiful Dubai. Helping Alda in her project was an incredible experience, I admire her courage her devotion to the sea and the UAE Dolphin Project and I’m proud to had the opportunity to be part of it. I will encourage everyone to join and help as volunteer for the UAE Dolphin Project to learn and share and protect the beauty of our UAE coastline. Contact the UAE Dolphin Project!! Give yourself a chance to do something useful for the environment and help us to protect those lovely animals.”
Uso grew up in Dubai from the early age of 5 and at a time when Dubai was not known for its skyscrapers or luxurious lifestyles but more for its rich cultural heritage and ecosystems. He grew to love the oceans from an early age thanks to Dubai’s shoreline where he spent most of his days interacting with the wildlife. Uso has carried his marine biology career over to England, Australia and Indonesia where he’s begun his long journey to a PhD. His work focuses on ecosystem health and productivity of reefs in South East Sulawesi, Indonesia, with conservation as the primary goal. Uso has aided with the survey and with promoting the importance of the work at hand. Uso is now living in Queensland where he is conducting his PhD studies. “This project holds a dear meaning to me, as it represents the best of the past, present and future of the UAE”.
Camilla holds a Masters degree from the University of Exeter in Conservation and Biodiversity and completed her thesis on bottlenose dolphin distribution and habitat preference in relation to anthropogenic variables off the north-eastern coast of Sardinia, Italy, where she worked in conjunction with the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute. Camilla worked as a Research Assistant for the project between September 2013 – January 2015, undertaking field research and photo-ID analysis, and running student seminars and presentations based at Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Camilla moved back to UK in December 2014.