Simone Alin, Ph.D.

Simone is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Seattle Washington. She is a 2001 graduate of the Geosciences program at the University of Arizona. Her research revolves around understanding the role that marine and freshwater ecosystems play in the global carbon cycle. She is particularly interested in how carbon cycle processes and carbon fluxes associated with aquatic ecosystems are affected by climate change and anthropogenic influences. The major focus of her work is currently on observing CO2 dynamics in coastal ecosystems, although she has also worked on carbon cycling topics in large rivers and lakes, ranging from the tropics to high latitudes. Specific areas of interest include: linkages between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, air-water gas exchange, organic carbon sequestration, isotopes as tracers of carbon sources, and metabolic balance of ecosystems.

Diane and Tony De Witte

Tony has over 20 years of sailing and marine engineering experience in both racing and voyaging. Currently the Fleet Engineer for Aventura Sailing Association, and prior to those three years as Marine Technician for Outbound Yacht Services. His race experience includes Newport Ensenada, LA Times Whitney Series, Oceanside –Coronado Island Race and the Long Beach Race Week.

Diane brings extensive experience and expertise with over 28 years of ocean sailing. She has her USCG 100Ton Master License (#733991), US Power Boating Instructor, US Sailing Instructor (Keelboat to Bareboat Charter), and American Sailing Association Advanced Offshore Instructor.She has professional experience at University of Southern California (Instructor), Morelli and Melvin Design and Engineering, Orange Coast College Sailing Center, and the Annapolis Sailing School.

Diane is also active in supporting women’s sailing. In addition to teaching, she is regularly engaged as a delivery skipper including the South Pacific, SE Asia, coast US, Mexico and Hawaii.

Diane holds a BS in Business Management from NY State University and a BA in Psychology at Cal State Northridge. From 1981-1984 Diane served in the United States Peace Corps supporting the Fijian Government.

Stephen Doig, Ph.D.

Stephen Doig is currently a senior member of the Rocky Mountain Institute where he leads the Energy and Resources team. In that role he guides both applied research as well as consulting work in which leading edge concepts are applied to the real world. Research is currently focused on developing the concepts for the next generation of utilities that will run with a significantly lower carbon footprint, accelerating the cost reduction curve for solar energy. The team is also developing the analysis to help States achieve California levels of GDP growth per unit of energy (currently a factor of 2 gap). Consulting work generally applies demand reduction concepts with whole system design to create significantly lower energy and resource requirements at attractive economics.

Stephen also serves in the U.S. Air Force as an appointed Highly Qualified Expert. He has helped develop an integrated strategy to improve their infrastructure energy efficiency by 30% in the next ten years and drive up their use of renewable energy sources 20% by 2025. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School of Business where he teaches operations courses to MBAs, Executive MBAs and senior executives. He is currently developing course materials to teach these cohorts the fundamentals of end-use efficiency and whole system design. Stephen left McKinsey& Co. in early 2006 after more than 9 years as member of the Firm. While there he concentrated in operations work and has extensive experience in Lean Manufacturing, Purchasing and Network optimization.

Stephen has over 5,000 nm of open ocean sailing experience, extensive backcountry camping, and is PADI certified diver.

Peter C. Griffith, Ph.D.

Dr. Griffith is the founding director of NASA’s Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Office, supporting the North American Carbon Program (, a component of the US Global Change Research Program designed to quantify continental-scale carbon sources and sinks in North America; LBA-ECO (, NASA’s component of the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, a cooperative international project seeking to create a predictive understanding of the relationships between deforestation in Amazonia and changes in regional and global climate; and the Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Focus Area at NASA HQ (

He received his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia, his M.S. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. with honors in Botany and Zoology from Duke University. As Principal or co-investigator with funding from NSF, Sea Grant, Department of Energy, and Office of Naval Research, Peter has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed papers, published abstracts, and technical reports. He has designed, built, programmed, and deployed computer-controlled in situ oceanographic instrumentation while investigating microbial transformations of dissolved and particulate organic carbon in estuarine and coastal waters.

His experience includes work as the General Manager of the U.S. office of CLS, worldwide operator of the Argos environmental satellite system. He directed business development and operations in North and South America for oceanographic and weather buoy monitoring, hazardous cargo tracking, volcano and pipeline monitoring, fishing vessel tracking for treaty enforcement, and a variety of governmental transportation interests. Peter was also the first First Mate of the Marsys Resolute, a 100 research vessel belonging to the Smithsonian Institution, where he led teams of crew members, SCUBA divers, research technicians, visiting scientists, and volunteers, while conducting research in the waters of the North Atlantic and Caribbean.

Peter is fluent in Portuguese and tries hard to speak Spanish. He is a volunteer SCUBA diver for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Duke University Alumni Association.

Captain Charles Moore

A third generation resident of Long Beach, California, Captain Charles Moore grew up in and on the Pacific Ocean. His father was a industrial chemist and avid sailor who took young Charles and his siblings sailing to remote destinations from Guadalupe Island to Hawaii. Charles attended the University of California at San Diego where he majored in Chemistry and Spanish.

After 25 years running a woodworking and finishing business, Charles founded Algalita Marine Research Foundation in 1994. In 1995 he launched his purpose designed, aluminum hulled research vessel, Alguita, in Hobart, Tasmania, and organized the Australian Government’s first “Coastcare” research voyage to document anthropogenic contamination of Australia’s east coast. Upon his return to California, he became a coordinator of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Volunteer Water Monitoring Steering Committee, and developed chemical and bacterial monitoring methods for the Surfrider Foundation’s “Blue Water Task Force.” As a member of the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project’s Bight ’98 steering committee, he realized the need for and provided a research vessel so that Mexican researchers from Baja California could participate for the first time in assessing the entire Southern California Bight.

Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita and its Captain found their true calling after a 1997 yacht race to Hawaii. On his return voyage, Captain Moore veered from the usual sea route and saw an ocean he had never known, “there were shampoo caps and soap bottles and plastic bags and fishing floats as far as I could see. Here I was in the middle of the ocean, and there was nowhere I could go to avoid the plastic.” Ever since, Captain Moore has dedicated his time and resources to understanding and remediating the ocean’s plastic load. Along with collaborators from the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project he developed protocols for monitoring marine and beach micro-plastics which are now used from the remote beaches of Polynesia to the United Nations Environmental Programme in Europe

His 1999 study shocked the scientific world when it found 6 times more plastic fragments by weight in the central Pacific than the associated zooplankton. His second paper found that plastic outweighs plankton by a factor of 2.5 in the surface waters of Southern California.

Captain Moore has now done ocean and coastal sampling for plastic fragments over twenty thousand miles of the north Pacific ocean, across 22 degrees of latitude and 50 degrees of longitude. His latest 7,500 mile voyage was featured in the Nov. 4 issue of US News and World Report. Captain Moore’s work has been highlighted on the Dec. 24 edition of the Osgood File, on KGO TV- ABC San Francisco’s Assignment 7 report of Nov. 12 and on Hawaii Public Radio. Most recently, Capt. Moore was on the Late Show with David Letterman – check it out, March 15 episode.

Kathleen Sealey, Ph.D.

Kathleen has spent her entire professional life focused on marine environmental protection and research. She is one of the leading authorities and agents of change in the Caribbean region and provides invaluable guidance to our work. She is currently Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Miami. Kathleen and has been a great friend and mentor to many of those involved in the Expedition. She is a 1978 graduate of Notre Dame (cum laude), and went on to gin her PhD in Marine Biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Kathleen holds Research Diver status with the University of Miami and NOAA, and a ASEL/IFR private pilot license (3000 hours). She has been recognized extensively for her ability and contribution.

  • Organizing Committee Member of NOAA NMFS Office of Habitat Backreef Initiative 1999 to date
  • Principal Investigator of the Year for 2003, Earthwatch Institute, Maynard, Mass November 2003.
  • Selected to National Park Management Planning Team, Bahamas National Trust July 2003
  • Elected to Council of International Society for Reef Studies October 2000
  • Nominated for the Pew Scholars Program in Conservation and the Environment-1994.
  • Florida Keys Regional Marine Laboratory State Advisory Board. Selected member of 5-person state board 1990-1992.
  • National Admissions Advisory Board, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556. Selected 1988 to 2002
  • Board of Trustees, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556. Elected three-year term 1984-1987.
  • Astronaut Candidate Interviewee. 1987, 1984. NASA-Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.
  • Best student paper in Ichthyology. Southern California Academy of Science Meetings. 1982.
  • F. Earl Durham, Jr. Award. Best student paper presented at the Southern California Academy of Science Meetings. 1981

George Georgiadias and Silvana Campello, Ph.D.

Silvana and George are Brazilian sailors and environmentalists. They are the principals in Tangara Environmental Consulting, a Brazilian company specializing in protected areas planning and conservation projects. Before that, both worked at the World Bank in Washington, planning and financing environmental projects around the world. Silvana is a marine ecologist  whose career includes PhD research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Marine Systems Laboratory, work for the Brazilian Navy, and a position at The Nature Conservancy. George is a physicist whose experience includes marine shrimp farming, consulting for NGOs and multilateral agencies carrying out environmental work in Brazil, and building a 75 foot wooden schooner, SV Dalia. Both are members of the World Commission on Protected Areas of the World Conservation Union. They live in Ilha Grande, Brazil.

Ruben Torres

Ruben is one of the founders and current Director of Reef Check Dominican Republic. Reef Check is dedicated to a worldwide effort to conserve coral reef habitat. Ruben is also a graduate of the University of Miami and now resides in the DR. Please see their amazing website…this says it all.
Reef Check DR →

Alexandra Towner

Alexandra Towner is a 10 year old 5th grade student at Kittredge Magnet School in Atlanta, Georgia, where her favorite subjects are science and math. If she’s not swimming, playing soccer, tennis or riding horses, she can be found rescuing wayward turtles and teaching her Labrador Retriever, Ben, new tricks. Alexandra aspires to be a veterinarian and hopes to help animals, large and small, one day. Though she would love to take the voyage with the rest of the crew, Alexandra is excited about helping with research related to endangered and extinct species and looks forward to collecting toxicity levels of fish along the Georgia and Florida coastlines.