Campaign Team and Staff

ASOC_logoThe ASOC Secretariat in Washington, DC is the administrative and financial base of the organization, raising funds, providing administrative support to campaigners, responding to the public, and maintaining this website. To contact a campaigner, please contact the Secretariat.

The ASOC Campaign Team includes people from all over the world, who work as ASOC experts on a wide range of subjects, representing the members of the Coalition on Antarctic issues. All are experts in their fields, and many have extensive Antarctic experience to accompany their education and environmental advocacy credentials. The team is dedicated to the pursuit of the ideals of the preamble of the Antarctic Treaty: that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean should be reserved for peace, science and protection of the Antarctic environment.

Secretariat Staff



Mark S. Epstein, Executive Director

Mark is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and NYU School of Law. For over twenty-five years, he has worked on a range of conservation and marine issues for local, national and international conservation organizations and served on numerous boards, including as board chair for the Coral Reef Alliance. Mark traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula in 1989 while working for the Environmental Defense Fund, and documented the sinking of the Bahia Paraiso near the US’s Palmer station. Mark also ran for Congress in New York’s Fifth Congressional District in 1990, earning 41% of the vote with a grassroots-based campaign focused on bringing environmental issues to the forefront in the coastal New York community he grew up in.



Jim Barnes, Co-founder and Senior Advisor

A co-founder of ASOC in 1978, Jim received his B.A. at Northwestern in 1966 and his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1970. Currently living in Villamblard, France, Jim has devoted the past thirty-eight years to working with environmental organizations around the world. He received the International Environmentalist of the Year award from the National Wildlife Federation in 1991, the Order of the Golden Ark from the Dutch Royal Family's foundation in 1998, and the Sierra Club's Earth Care award in 2004. A tribute to Jim Barnes



Claire Christian, Director of the Secretariat

Claire received an M.A. in International Affairs at American University, School of International Service in May 2008. She worked as Program Assistant at the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington, DC from December 2003 – May 2006, and has worked with ASOC since 2007.



Dave Walsh, Communications Director and Advisor to the AOA Marine Protected Areas campaign

Thanks to growing up the Irish countryside with salt water in his blood and a passion for the Earth's wild places, Dave has spent most of his professional career working against humanity’s profligate use of resources, as communicator, campaigner and photographer. As a media officer, he has worked alongside international media to reach global audiences on issues such as Antarctic whaling, high seas bottom trawling, pirate fishing, ocean acidification and the melting of Arctic ice, sailed on board Greenpeace expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic, and handled communications for the only zero emission Antarctic research base. Dave also provides strategic advice to the Pew Charitable Trusts and ASOC campaign for the creation marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean.



Danny Elias, Social Media Coordinator

Daniel earned an M.A. in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service in May of 2011. He has honed a strong background in marine policy through ASOC, the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute and various other marine and environmental non profits. He has worked with ASOC since June 2009.



Deidre Zoll, Assistant to the Director

Deidre Zoll is a sustainability and conservation professional with over eight years experience serving universities and non-profits organizations. Deidre’s academic background is in environmental policy, receiving an M.A. in Global Environmental Politics at American University. Previously she worked at Alaska Pacific University, and as a Program Officer with WWF's Global Forest Trade Network. Deidre has assisted ASOC since 2006 and is now managing many of ASOC's grant contracts.



Kisei Tanaka, Project & Website Coordinator

Kisei earned his M.A. in Environmental Policy in 2010, and M.S. in Environmental Science in 2012 from American University. Previously, Kisei has worked for UNEP in Jamaica, as well as a host of other marine and coastal resource management organizations. Kisei joined ASOC in 2012.


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Howard Weir, Research Intern

Howard earned his Masters in Global Environmental Policy from American University in 2014. Howard has a long standing interest in marine policy and conservation and, prior to receiving his Masters, worked as a dive instructor and coral reef research diver. He has also worked at a number of small non-profits including the Amazon Conservation Association and the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.




anonymousIconMayuko Yanai, Country Organiser for the AOA Marine Protected Areas Campaign


South Korea

TessSukhyun Tess Park, Country Organiser for the AOA Marine Protected Areas Campaign

Tess joined the Korea Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) as a volunteer when pre-KFEM group hold the very first “Earth Day” event in NamSan, Korea in 1990. After studying environmental science in a college and environmental policy and natural resources management in a graduate school, she is currently a researcher at ‘Citizens’ Institute for Environmental Studies (CIES), policy advisor to KFEM. She would teach marine science to kids in the San Diego area and now actively play a role in speaking to the college students and consumers in Korea about toothfish (Mero) and the ecosystem of Southern Ocean.



anonymousIconGrigory Tsidulko, Country Organiser for the AOA Marine Protected Areas Campaign

Grigory Tsidulko is an Antarctic Ocean Alliance campaigner based in Moscow. Grigory has graduated from the Moscow State University (MSU) as a marine biologist with the main interest in behavioural ecology of marine mammals and conservation biology. Since graduation Grigory spent nearly two decades combining the career of the scientist and conservationist. In 2006 Grigory was nominated to serve as an independent expert on the Western Gray Whales Advisory Panel, convened by IUCN to secure constructive dialog between industry and science to preserve endangered whale population. Grigory also lectures on marine biology and conservation and serves as an expert in marine mammals and marine conservation to the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Nature Resources and State Service for Control in Nature Management. Active traveller, wildlife photographer and conservationist, Grigory has joined the AOA in 2012 to help raise in Russia the profile of the campaign for designation of representative network of large marine protected areas in Antarctic.


Victor_MichaelsonVictor Michaelson, Ph.D. in Political Science, Media Advisor for the AOA Marine Protected Areas Campaign

Victor Michaelson has founded Communicator Group in 2004. His experience in strategic marketing, corporate communications, journalism and PR gives a successful dynamic development of the company. Before the Group’s foundation Victor was the head of Moscow office of Mmd Public Relations and was promoting in Russia such companies as IBM, Philips, PepsiCo., Discovery Networks Europe, Visa International, Jabra, SAP, etc. In 1999-2000 Victor was a marketing consultant in European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. Before EBRD Victor Michaelson worked for The World Bank on technical assistance projects. Since 1999 Victor is an associate professor and head of "Social and Communication Technologies" department at State Humanitarian University, he has created and is teaching several courses in PR, strategic marketing, corporate culture. Since 2012 Victor is teaching marketing at RMA business- school. He also is an assistant professor in the department of Media Communications in the State Research University – Higher School of Economics. In 1977 Victor graduated Moscow University of Transportation Engineers, then was engaged in the automated control systems creation. In 1997 Victor Michaelson continued his education in London School of Economics and Political Science.



lyn_photo_6Lyn Goldsworthy, ASOC Advisor

Born in New Zealand, Lyn moved to Australia in the mid-1970s to undertake a Masters in Environmental Studies, and has devoted her working career to activism. She has worked on Antarctic issues on-and-off since 1983, and has attended many Antarctic Treaty and CCAMLR meetings as NGO advisor to the Australian delegation or on the ASOC delegation. In 1990 Lyn received the New Zealand Antarctic Society Award and in 1991 was awarded an Order of Australia for services to conservation and environment, primarily for her work on stopping mining in the Antarctic. She served 12 years on the Australian government Antarctic Science Advisory Committee and has been to Antarctica twice to review Australia's environmental impact at their three continental bases. Lyn spent two years on the ASOC Board in 2005-2006. These days much of her work involves project facilitation and management and advocacy work. She has recently branched out into organisational network analysis and hopes soon to bring these skills to the not-for-profit sector.


anonymousIconBlair Palese, Media Coordinator for the AOA Marine Protected Areas Campaign


New Zealand

Barry_Photo2_edBarry Weeber, ASOC Advisor

Barry is an ASOC board member and has been involved in Antarctic conservation for more than 20 years going back to campaigns against the Antarctic Minerals Convention during the 1980s and the campaign for the Antarctic Environmental Protocol in the 1990s. Barry's training is in science and environmental law. He has extensive international and national campaign experience in resource management and conservation law and fisheries management issues, and has served both as staff and as a board member of ENGOs. He has attended most CCAMLR meetings since 1990 as part of the New Zealand delegation, and has also attended several ATCMs. He works as a consultant with environmental NGOs on deep-sea fisheries, marine management and conservation, and to a tertiary education organisation. For 15 years, Barry worked as the Royal Forest and Bird Society of New Zealand's senior researcher. Barry is a member of the IUCN Antarctic Advisory Committee (since 1996) and also a member of IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas. He serves as vice-Chair of the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO).


GeoffGeoff Keey, Advisor to the AOA Marine Protected Areas campaign

Geoff is a conservation campaigner based in the tiny village of Arthur’s Pass deep in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. He has 20 years experience in social and environmental campaigning and has previously worked for the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, Greenpeace New Zealand and the New Zealand Parliamentary Service. Since September 2011 Geoff has been assisting the Antarctic Ocean Alliance campaign to secure marine protected areas in the seas around Antarctica.



ricardo_Svalbard_2007_self_portrait_SmeerenburgRicardo Roura, Coordinator of ASOC's Protocol Tourism Campaigns, Advisor to the AOA Marine Protected Areas campaign

Ricardo graduated as a geologist from the University of Buenos Aires in 1989, completed a Master of Philosophy degree from Massey University (New Zealand) in 2001, and received his doctorate from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands in 2012. He has participated in twelve Antarctic expeditions, including one winter-over with Greenpeace International, the Argentine Antarctic program, and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has served in a variety of roles including scientist, environmental manager, and field tutor. Ricardo has represented NGOs at various Antarctic fora since 1992 and has been an ASOC representative to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings since 1997. He has also conducted research in Svalbard with the Arctic Centre, University of Groningen. He has published more than 40 scholarly articles on a range of polar issues.



gennadiGennadi Milinevsky, Marine Protected Areas Campaign Advisor

Gennadi received his MS from Kiev State Universityin 1974 and his PhD from Tarasa Shevchenka University in 2001. He is Head of the Space Physics Department, National Taras Shevchenko University of Kiev and Principal Scientist at the National Antarctic Scientific Centre of Ukraine; Deputy Chief Editor of scientific "Ukrainian Antarctic Journal", and a delegate to SCAR. He served as Base Commander in the First Ukrainian Antarctic Expedition winter-over at Vernadsky Station, Antarctic Peninsula (from 6 February 1996 till 18 March 1997), as well as a member of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 10th Ukrainian Antarctic Expeditions. Gennadi has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals, and often serves as an NGO advisor to the Ukraine's CCAMLR delegation.



United Kingdom

Sian_profileSian Prior, IMO Coordinator and ASOC Advisor

Sian is a marine scientist and policy specialist with a B.Sc. Marine Biology- Oceanography joint honours degree from the University of Wales and a Ph.D. in Marine Ecotoxicology from the University of London. Sian first worked on a range of coastal and marine management policy issues for the port and shipping industry. She then spent 15 years heading WWF's UK marine programme and later WWF's European marine programme. Her work has focused on marine governance and coastal management issues, including ecosystem-based management, marine spatial planning, marine protected areas, fisheries management, shipping, and oil and gas development. During this time Sian participated in a variety of international and regional policy frameworks, including heading WWF's delegation to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for 10 years, concentrating on issues such as prevention of shipping accidents, designation of particularly sensitive sea areas (PSSAs), ships' routing, MARPOL Special Area Status. For the past five years, Sian has worked as an independent adviser on marine policy development focusing particularly on marine governance, spatial planning and protected areas, and shipping management in the Southern Ocean, north-west European waters and New Zealand's EEZ.


MonaMona Samari, AOA Advocacy and Communications EUROPE

Mona comes from a human rights and marine conservation background, with over ten years experience as a campaigns and communications strategist. In 2012, Mona established the Middle East Office of a leading international freedom of expression group in Tunisia during the transitional democracy phase and capitalised on new freedoms by project managing workshops in marginalised communities relating to guaranteeing freedom of expression in the new constitution. In addition to freedom of expression and broader human rights campaigning, since 2007, Mona continues to work on major marine conservation campaigns and coalitions, with a special focus on endangered marine species including pelagic sharks and atlantic tuna. Mona is the Earth Journalism Network Middle East and North Africa regional leader having been awarded a grant to establish the Tunisia Environment Reporting Network (TERN) in 2013, providing training for journalists on how to report on climate change and fisheries issues. Mona is also the editorial consultant for the World Environment Magazine, which was awarded the 2012 Green Media Award and collaborates with Nawaat Environment, a new section in the leading arab website dedicated to investigative environmental journalism.

North America

United States

OReillyDr. Jessica O'Reilly, Climate Coordinator for ASOC

Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is an environmental anthropologist who specializes in Antarctic and climate science and policy. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California at Santa Cruz and is based upon research conducted in Antarctica and New Zealand, analyzing how scientists participate in environmental management. Dr. O’Reilly conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California San Diego and Princeton University on the history of research on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a project which continues with a broader scope to encompass the sociocultural processes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. O’Reilly has a longstanding interest in environmental management, science, and policy. She has also worked in Indonesia, in environmental and outdoor education, and as an interpretive park ranger for the National Park Service in Michigan, California, and Alaska. She is currently an assistant professor of Anthropology at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

South America


1_Lemaire_Channel_Jan_2010_at_7_PM_19_recorteVirginia Gascón, Policy Advisor for the IUU Fishing Project

Virginia is a specialist on marine policy, with a special focus on global fisheries issues. She holds a Degree in Law from Universidad Autonoma (Madrid) and two Masters in International Law from the Free University (Brussels) and Georgetown University (Washington, DC). From 1997 she has worked as international consultant for World Wildlife Fund International, Pew Environment Group, and other nongovernmental organizations on various environmental policy and fisheries issues. She also has experience as a lawyer and university teacher. She has worked with ASOC since 2002, especially on toothfish and krill, and has represented ASOC at several meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources ( Currently, she advises ASOC on issues related to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing around Antarctica and also at the global level.


rodolfo2Dr. Rodolfo Werner, Senior Advisor (Antarctica and Southern Ocean)

Dr. Rodolfo Werner Kinkelin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, graduated as biologist from the University of Buenos Aires, obtained a PhD in Biology at the University of Munich, Germany, and conducted a Postdoc in Marine Zoology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. He has provided advice on marine science and conservation policies to numerous international environmental organizations. For the last 10 years he has been focusing his work on Antarctic marine wildlife, especially on the conservation of Antarctic krill, penguins, seals and Patagonian toothfish. Currently, he is a Senior advisor to the Pew Charitable Trusts and ASOC. For the last 10 years, he has been attending meetings of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (, the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty, and Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings ( as representative of ASOC. He has been the Coordinator of the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea and Areas of Influence ( and is also a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Since 2006, Rodolfo has been also working as a naturalist on board of vessels traveling to Antarctica. Currently, he is part of the Antarctic field staff of Lindblad Expeditions/National, lecturing on diverse Antarctic marine conservation issues. Besides of his academic credentials, he is fluent in English, Spanish and German. He is currently based in San Carlos de Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina and can be contacted at:    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .