Heather Koldewey Ph.D.

Zoological Society of London


I lead the overall management of the Bertarelli Foundation's Marine Science Programme.

My role is to ensure the smooth running of the programme, to build collaborations and partnerships within and beyond the programme, and to maximise impact. This includes finding opportunities for our science to support management, policy, and conservation, and to communicate our work widely. I am particularly focused on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the role of our programme in delivering ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’.

I have worked in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions for over 25 years. My research has focused on understanding the role of MPAs in protecting and restoring biodiversity and building resilience for communities and wildlife. Much of the research I engage in directly through the programme is led by the PhD students I co-supervise.

Working in the Indian Ocean region 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 2020
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

I am interested in finding solutions to marine conservation challenges. This includes research into seahorses that was an early pioneer of community-based approaches, including marine protected areas. Based on research from one of my PhD students, I helped establish set up Net-Works, which developed a novel community-based supply chain for discarded fishing nets that are recycled into carpets. This recently spun out as social enterprise COAST-4C with expanded markets into seaweed products. This initiated a wider interest in solving ocean plastic pollution, including as science co-lead for National Geographic’s 2019 Sea to Source: Ganges expedition.

My Project

  • Island Reef Connections
    Reducing the Impacts of Plastic around the Indian Ocean Natural Environment

My Publications

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