Our Team

The Hydrous is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization on a mission to create open access oceans. We are an international community of scientists, divers, designers, filmmakers, and technologists who love the ocean.

Erika is a marine biologist and teacher who has been studying coral reefs around the world for over a decade, with a particular focus on how rising ocean temperatures affect coral populations. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she conducted her PhD research with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia and earned her Masters of Applied Science in Coastal Management from the University of Sydney. She received a B.A. from Duke University, where she studied biology and art history. Erika is dedicated to public engagement of science and believes the ocean is too good not to share. Learn more about her at erikawoolsey.com

Erika is a marine biologist and teacher who has been studying coral reefs around the world for over a decade, with a particular focus on how rising ocean temperatures affect coral populations. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she conducted her PhD research with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia and earned her Masters of Applied Science in Coastal Management from the University of Sydney. She received a B.A. from Duke University, where she studied biology and art history. Erika is dedicated to public engagement of science and believes the ocean is too good not to share. Learn more about her at erikawoolsey.com

Dr. Erika Woolsey

Co-Founder & CEO

Nora has extensive knowledge of marine and terrestrial systems and possesses excellent program management skills. She earned her BS in Environmental Science and Biology from Loyola Marymount University and holds a Masters of Science from James Cook University, where she researched the effects of plastic pollution on coral reefs. Her publication “Microplastic ingestion by scleractinian corals“, published in Marine Biology, is ranked in the top 5% of all research outputs. Nora has recently executed the world’s largest software conferences for a Fortune 500 company in a fast-paced, high-visibility environment. She is an avid volunteer in the Bay Area and has a passion for teaching, diving, and ocean optimism.

nora Hall

Co-Founder & COO

A marine scientist turned designer and serial entrepreneur, Sly incorporated his passion for technology, photography, and design to develop a method to 3D capture coral reefs underwater. His goal is to utilize technology to create a space for conversation around human centered design and sustainability issues surrounding oceans and climate change. He is an award winning photographer, Singularity University GSP 2015 alumni, 2015 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award nominee, and World Economic Forum Global Shaper. His other work can be found at www.slylee.com

Sly lee

Co-Founder & Board Member

Known as the “Mother of Multimedia”, Dr. Woolsey directed the Apple Multimedia Lab from 1984 until 1998. She has worked as an Assistant Professor at UC Santa Cruz, a Visiting Faculty member in MIT’s Architecture Machine Group, the Director of Atari’s Sunnyvale Research Lab, a technology, education, and design consultant, and the head of the Advisory Board for the Learning, Design and Technology Program at Stanford. Most recently, she served as the Project Director for the Exploratorium’s relocation to Pier 15, providing a technical infrastructure to enhance multi-sensory learning, as well as a net-zero, LEED Platinum building. She is currently writing a book about the history and future of multimedia.


Board Member

Rick is a photographer, designer, educator, and the founder of 22 Degrees, an eco-minded outdoor gear company. He holds a B.F.A in arts education and an M.F.A. in film and video. Rick's professional experience spans a wide range of roles including Community Organizer  for Boston Public Schools, Director of Academic Computing at California College of the Arts, designer, photographer, and small business owner. Rick is also a certified PADI Scuba Instructor and a 2nd degree black belt in aikido. He lived in Asia for 9 years, including in Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Palau. Rick’s fashion photography has been published in the L.A. magazine Metro-Pop and, for his most recent project, was lead designer and photo editor for Gutsy Tuason's underwater photography book, "Black Water/Open Blue." In his spare time you can find him volunteering at the California Academy of Sciences as a diver and teaching aikido at Suginami Aikikai Dojo in San Francisco. He is passionate about the ocean and will be drawing from his experience in design, education, and technology as a collaborator and ambassador for The Hydrous.

rick miskiv                  


Elle comes from a background of learning by making and believes that having something in your hands is way better than keeping it in your head or on the computer. With a deep knowledge in both design and rapid fabrication, Elle is excited to help share The Hydrous’ coral data in a tangible and exciting way with those who are unable to experience it firsthand. You can find other examples of her work as well as cool dive photos from all around the world at her website: www.ellestapleton.com

elle stapleton

Fabrication Artist

Mohamed Haseeb Abdulla (who goes by Patchi) is concerned about his country’s future. Most of the land in the Maldives is less than a meter above sea level, and rising oceans are steadily encroaching. In addition, the largest coral bleaching event in recorded history occurred this year, and the beautiful Maldivian coral reefs were severely degraded. Because island nations that are affected the most by climate change are the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases, countries like the Maldives must appeal to the international community to protect their futures. To address problems that are more easily controlled than climate change, Patchi is working on local marine issues in the Maldives, with a special focus on plastic pollution. For example, Patchi has enlisted hundreds of young Maldivians to regularly lead beach cleanups and educate on how to care for coral reefs.

mohamed haseeb abdulla (Patchi)

Maldives Ambassador

Shayle is a science storyteller and PhD student at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. He uses DNA sequencing and 3D-imaging to study the dynamic symbioses between coral and their algal partners, and is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and biology for creative problem solving and education. He is passionate about science communication (WIRED.com, Story Collider, Nerd Nite), was the creator and host of the science happy hour series, Science, Neat, in San Francisco, and is on the organizing committee for ComSciCon 2017 (the National Communicating Science Workshop for STEM graduate students). Out of the lab, you can find him making watercolor Sketchnotes (@wrong_whale), tinkering, and enjoying being out in nature as much as possible in Hawaii. 



Aaron is passionate about using technology for ocean health and social good. He is a Data Scientist for Global Fishing Watch (by Google, Oceana, and Skytruth), the first geospatial visualization and dataset of fishing activity globally (see: globalfishingwatch.org). He also worked on Billion Acts of Peace, a 2017 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, (billionacts.org). Aaron believes that data is the motivator and driver of change, especially in the ocean space where new complex datasets are manifesting through underwater technology, satellite technology, and marine sensor technology. He is passionate about knowledge sharing and open access to data where innovation, collaboration, and insights can come from anyone in the world.

aaron roan

Board Member

Peggy currently serves as the Executive Director of the New Media Consortium, an international not-for-profit consortium of learning-focused organizations committed to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. Formerly, she served on the NMC Board of Directors and was the Director of Education Strategic initiatives at Autodesk and the Director of Education at Adobe Systems. While at Autodesk, she was responsible for the Education market in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan. While at Adobe, she led the North America Education team, driving the expansion of Adobe’s Higher Education and K-12 business in the U.S. and Canada.

peggy snyder                

Board Member

Kate is a sustainability expert, environmental scientist, explorer and co-founder of Maalimi.org, an island stewardship program based in the Maldives. She works as an Environmental Design and Construction Specialist on Google’s Real Estate and Workplace Services sustainability team where she leads native habitat and resilient landscape projects through Google’s Ecology Program. She is also the implementation lead for Google’s Biophilic Design Framework. Prior to joining Google, Kate studied anthropogenic impacts affecting the Mekong River in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand and has held positions at Mary Davidge Associates, The Alliance to Save Energy’s Green Campus Program, Patagonia and consulted for Trout Gulch Mutual Water Company. In her free time, you can find Kate scuba diving, bike touring and trying to identify lichen and fungi on hikes throughout the Bay Area. Kate has a passion for energizing others around marine and freshwater conservation and translates that into her work as an ambassador for The Hydrous.

kate malmgren

Alumni Ambassador

Hassan (Beachey) is one of our Maldivian partners who joined the Hydrous expeditions 2015 and 2016 as a Maldivian fish expert. He is a dive instructor by profession and has been diving in the Maldives for 25 years. His curiosity for the natural environment drives his passion for the conservation of the the Maldivian marine life, flora and fauna. He uses inspiration from these environments in his artwork and designs.

hassan hameeZ          


Using her unique background of science photography and journalism, Yasmeen helps communicate science to the masses in this fast-paced, electronic world. She is an accomplished professional underwater photographer, Women Divers Hall of Fame Associate Member, Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society recipient and Explorers Club student member. Her other work can be found at www.yasmeensmalley.com


Phillipines Ambassador

John is a producer, director, designer, and an early pioneer of 360 video and surrogate travel. He works in a variety of media including digital video, cinematography and still photography in a wide range of formats. His experience includes multimedia computer-based productions for science museums throughout the world, as well as for classroom curriculum (e.g. Voyage of the Mimi). He has invented a variety of hardware and software solutions for the implementation of new techniques, special effects, motion control, virtual reality, and exhibits as well as for his linear films. John’s productions and designs work toward enhancing and expanding media content for natural history, science, and educational and environmental programs.

john borden

Senior Advisor

Sofie is currently studying Sustainable Development, Anthropology, and Spanish at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Her studies of sustainability have sparked a great interest in marine ecosystems and ocean awareness. Throughout high school, Sofie volunteered at local youth groups and social justice organizations in the Bay Area, teaching young students about multiculturalism and personal, social, and cultural identity within the environment. She is passionate about photography and devotes a lot of her personal research to the role of art within environmentalism. As a student and prospective young professional, Sofie is interested in non-profit development and innovative marketing strategies, in hopes of making science and environmental consciousness more accessible to young people.  

Sofie Surraco              

Marketing Intern

Kathryn is a marine scientist (PhD) who has dedicated her career to investigating the impact of pollution on marine organisms and ecosystems. Winner of The Nature Conservancy Conservation Award, she is driven to protect ocean health for future generations. Kathryn is passionate about ocean communication and education. As a finalist in the Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis competition, Kathryn actively promotes powerful messages about ocean conservation and believes the impact of her science is not based on a journal title, but by the number of people she can inspire to become ocean stewards. When Kathryn isn’t under the sea, you can find her inspiring young minds in science classrooms or on the beach picking up plastic.

dr. Kathryn Berry 


Cecilia is a manager at Autodesk, a company that "makes software for people who make things”. The Autodesk story is about "human ingenuity and the drive to improve the reality around us.” Cecilia is also a certified PADI Scuba Instructor, passionate about nature, ecology and addicted to the underwater world. Cecilia’s interests and expertise converged when she joined The Hydrous for the 2015 expedition in Bali.  She is motivated by anything that can somehow slow down the damage human kind has been doing to planet earth, and in The Hydrous she has found a way to help.

Cecilia Dobner            

Europe Ambassador

Brandon is an avid individual dedicating his passion and devotion for the seas and oceans. For the past 16 years in the scuba diving industry, he has travelled and explored various beautiful dive sites around South East Asia. Also a freelance certified PADI Dive Master, recently he started his conservation profile as a volunteer with the Autodesk Foundation. Working as an Enterprise Systems Specialist, he commits the effort in using Autodesk values and technology to help Imagine, Design and Create a better world. He believes in the application of design principal and design tools to solve social environmental pressing issues.  When the opportunity arose in 2016, he joined The Hydrous as a representative from Autodesk to fulfill the first maiden expedition to The Maldives. Using design thinking, he hopes to see the impact in solving epic challenge that is to continue sustaining the coral reefs eco-system. In the majority of his free time now, he is using it to scuba dive and getting immerse looking through the lens for both normal and underwater photography.

brandon goh                

Singapore Ambassador



Incubated by the Global Development Incubator

Incubated by the Global Development Incubator