Partner, Integrated Marine Biosphere Research
John is the Executive Director of the IMBeR International Project Office. He has a background as a marine ecologist focusing on tropical marine systems and has worked in a range of roles that includes research, teaching, management, policy, and governance. Originally from the UK, after studying at St Andrews University in Scotland, John moved to Australia for postgraduate studies and finished up with a PhD from James Cook University focused on spawning aggregations of coral reef fishes. During much of this time he lived in Papua New Guinea collecting data and helping deliver environmental education programs to local school children. John then took up a Boston University lectureship as a resident lecturer at the School for Field Studies’ Centre for Marine Resource Studies in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He stayed on to become Director of the centre before moving to a lecturing position at the CIEE Research Station Bonaire, where he continued to teach undergraduates (predominantly from the US) and conduct research. In 2012, he moved to Panama to set up and run a new research and education centre on the Caribbean coast, before moving back to the Turks and Caicos Islands as Director of the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources. His focus in this role was modernising the government’s approach to natural resource management, revising the structure and function of the department, and updating policy and legislation. His fondest memories of his time in government was the relationship he established with local stakeholders, especially the fishing community. John continues to work with these stakeholders through FisherfolkFirst, a small NGO he helped to establish which strives to empower coastal communities.