Heather Koldewey Ph.D.

Zoological Society of London


I lead the overall management of the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science.

Precisely, I  ensure the smooth running of the programme, and work to build collaborations or partnerships within and beyond the programme. I also ensure our science makes a difference and can be used for management, policy, and conservation by helping communicate our work internationally.

I have been involved in research in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) since 2006, including in building the scientific case supporting the establishment of the BIOT Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2010. Since then, I have been involved in a range of research projects in BIOT, from understanding the role of large MPAs in protecting mobile species like tunas and sharks, to the first assessment of reef cryptofauna in the archipelago.

This research has primarily been achieved through supervising Ph.D. students, some of whom who are now postdoctoral researchers on the programme (David Curnick, Catherine Head and Dan Bayley).

Working in BIOT is like living in the best nature documentary, yet even there we see the impact of climate change, illegal fishing and plastic pollution. I am committed to use the best science to protect and restore this extraordinary last ocean wilderness area.

Heather Koldewey


2019 Present
Senior Technical Advisor, ZSL
2019 Present
Head of Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science
2018 Present
National Geographic Fellow
2018 Present
Honorary Professor, University of Exeter Penryn Campus
1996 Present
Co-Founder of Project Seahorse
2011 2019
Head of Marine and Freshwater Conservation, ZSL
2010 2011
Programme Manager, ZSL
1995 2009
Aquarium Curator, ZSL

Other interests

In addition to my involvement in in the Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science I co-founded Project Seahorse, recognized as the world’s leading authority on seahorses and as an early pioneer of community-based marine conservation.

I helped develop Net-Works, which redesigns global supply chains to reduce marine plastic, replenish declining fish stocks and improve the lives of marginalized coastal communities, that depend on, marine resources in these biodiverse hotspots. We connect these communities to global brands via a fair and inclusive business model that delivers “less plastic, more fish”.

I use collaborative approaches to communicate and engage communities in marine science and conservation, including Project Ocean, a partnership between the luxury London department store Selfridges and ZSL to bring ocean conservation to new audiences and change consumer habits. Likewise, One Less is a campaign to build a more ocean-friendly society through working to make London the first capital to stop using single use plastic water bottles.

My Project

  • Improving MPA Management
    Reducing the Impacts of Plastic on the BIOT Natural Environment

My Publications