Four National Geographic Explorers team up to study the saltwater aquarium fish trade
Shannon Switzer Swanson
Shannon is a waterwoman, photojournalist, and marine social ecologist from San Diego, California. Her research blends theory and practice from the fields of anthropology, psychology, and marine ecology to address today’s most pressing marine conservation issues. Shannon works with coastal communities in Southeast Asia and Oceania to understand how they can most effectively manage their resources to sustain both prosperous livelihoods and a healthy environment. Shannon holds a masters in coastal management from Duke. As a PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University she explores new research methods using film and photography to engage community members as active participants in the research process.
Andrea is a fish biologist, diver, and conservationist. Her research blends ecology, physiology, and sociology to study stressed-out fish and fisheries across the globe: East Africa; Southeast Asia; Oceania; and the Pacific Northwest. She mixes quantitative and qualitative methods to holistically approach fish conservation and management. She holds a BS in Environmental Science and MS in Biology, both from McGill University. For her PhD in Biology at Carleton University and the University of British Columbia, she has been awarded a NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship in support of her work on Pacific salmon bycatch. She engages Indigenous community members as active research participants and is a member of the northern, coastal Nisga’a Nation.
Mikayla is a photographer, science communicator and environmental scientist. Her work fuses technology, storytelling, and research to communicate science to help educate and empower citizens and decision-makers to generate sustainable solutions for our planet. Mikayla has lived and worked in North America, Southeast-Asia, and the Indo-Pacific to study vulnerable marine species and the ecological and cultural systems they support. She couples research with storytelling via film, photography, and writing to build awareness and inspire action for these and other global issues facing our planet. She is a published writer, photographer, and videographer and has worked with conservation organizations, governments and businesses to create programs with measurable change.
Caleb Kruse is a marine biologist and technologist. Growing up in landlocked Colorado Springs, he was inspired to study marine Biology at Stanford University after starting a 90-gallon saltwater aquarium in high school. He loves field work, and has worked in Sri Lanka on heart physiology of amphibious fish, southern Patagonia to study paleoclimatology, aboard a tall ship through the Line Islands to study coral coloration, and the Stanford Medical School to study coral bleaching. He was named a National Geographic explorer to create The Ice Cream Expedition, a cross-country road trip in an ice cream truck to speak to children about exploration and conservation. Since that time, he has worked with National Geographic on the Highest Road Expedition in the Indian Himalayas, and to launch a balloon into the stratosphere for the solar eclipse. He currently works for Leap Motion, a computer vision and virtual/augmented reality company.