Our Team

Aquenal prides itself on scientific excellence above and below the water. Our team consists of experts in marine biology, ecology, taxonomy and data analysis, with strong practical experience and field capabilities.

Dr Joe Valentine

General Manager and Principal Scientist

Joe has expertise in a wide range of marine research and environmental management. Joe holds a doctorate in marine ecology, having studied the ecology of invasive kelp in Tasmanian waters. After working as a technical scientist studying abalone ecology and population dynamics, he initially joined Aquenal as an invasive marine species specialist. Joe has since held a variety of technical and scientific roles at Aquenal and assumed the role of General Manager in 2018. Joe is highly experienced in experimental design, field sampling and project management, having been involved with small and large scale Aquenal consultancy projects.

Colleen Morris

Business Manager

Colleen has been with Aquenal since 2000 and manages the company’s financial and business operations. Colleen has an extensive background in personal and business banking both in Tasmania and mainland Australia. She has held a license in financial planning and conducted financial workshops for government departments and private groups. Over the past 25 years Colleen has worked with small businesses as a consultant reviewing business and financial practices. Colleen is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and implements the skills and strategies of corporate governance in the Aquenal business plan.

Professor Graham Edgar

Marine Ecosystems Specialist

Graham is Aquenal’s principal expert on marine ecosystems and benthic ecology. He has written over 50 major publications, including three definitive books: ‘Australian Marine Habitats’, which describes ecological processes and habitats;  ‘Australian Marine Life’, which describes and illustrates over 1400 species of marine life found in Australia’s temperate waters; and ‘Tropical Marine Life of Australia’, a guide to tropical Australian and central Indo-Pacific marine life, covering over 2,400 species of animals and plants. Graham is a world-leader in research on Marine Protected Areas, and his extensive experience in academia has seen him win the Carlo Heip Award in 2020, for outstanding accomplishments in marine biodiversity science. Graham is in the top 0.1% of the world’s researchers, as a Web of Science ‘Highly Cited Researcher’. Graham provides input to the designs, statistical analyses and interpretive components of Aquenal’s study programs and oversees taxonomic identification. His particular research interest lies in the study of marine biodiversity and conservation.

Jeremy Lane

Marine and Freshwater Scientist

Jeremy achieved his Bachelor degree in Science, majoring in Zoology, from the University of Tasmania in 2002. Jeremy is a skilled benthic taxonomist, with specialist expertise in freshwater invertebrate identification. Jeremy’s freshwater taxonomic skills are formalised through accreditation with the AUSRIVAS river assessment system. Jeremy has a strong background in scientific diving, field logistics, identification of marine flora and fauna, and the operation and maintenance of work vessels and field equipment. Jeremy is Aquenal’s Dive and Field Officer and is responsible for coordinating and overseeing field operations.

Sam Gray

Marine Taxonomist

Sam holds a Degree in Marine Science from the University of Tasmania, completing his honours in 2013. Sam’s Honours project examined the ecology of seagrass communities in the Derwent estuary. Since joining Aquenal in 2014, Sam has been involved with a broad range of field sampling and laboratory work. Through his involvement and keen interest in benthic sample processing, Sam has developed specialist benthic taxonomy skills. Sam now leads Aquenal’s marine taxonomy team, performs invertebrate identifications and plays an important role in statistical analysis of benthic fauna assessments.

Dr Sam Wood

Environmental Analyst

Sam is an environmental scientist with a long history of working in terrestrial ecosystems but now specialising in the marine environment. After spending five years measuring forests for the research division of State Forests NSW, Sam moved to the University of Tasmania to undertake his PhD on the fire ecology of rainforests, eucalyptus forests and heathlands of the south-west Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. His post-doctoral research involved setting up long-term monitoring plots in tall eucalypt forests across Australia and studying the effects of fire on the endemic conifers of subalpine Tasmania. Sam is now applying the skills and knowledge gained through this experience to marine ecosystems through his current work at Aquenal. Sam’s role as data analyst at Aquenal requires the curation of large environmental databases and the analysis of data through specialist geospatial and statistical software. Sam’s analytical skills are applied to the assessment of environmental impacts of finfish farms in relation to the various regulatory, compliance and certification frameworks for marine farming in Tasmania. He has also contributed to the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements and Biodiversity Assessments for projects in Tasmanian marine systems.

Lilly Stanesby

Marine Ecologist

Lilly achieved her Bachelor degree in Marine and Antarctic Science from the University of Tasmania, and completed her Honours research in 2017, which focussed on assessment of temperate rocky reefs and marine protected areas using ROV methodologies. During her undergraduate degree Lilly also studied marine governance and policy. Lilly has a strong interest in marine ecology and enjoys working in marine environment monitoring and assessment with Aquenal. Lilly joined Aquenal in 2017 and contributes to projects in the areas of data collection and analysis, biological laboratory operations, technical report writing and field sampling operations.

Ollie Maxwell

Field Biologist

Ollie has a great passion for the ocean and is most at home on or under the water. He holds a Degree in Marine and Antarctic Science from the University of Tasmania, and joined the Aquenal team in 2017. Ollie currently holds a coxswain (grade 1) ticket and is a qualified advanced open water diver. Working in marine and estuarine environments, with experience in water quality monitoring, sediment sampling, intertidal surveys, vessel operations, marine flora and fauna identification, ROV, underwater photography and as a drone pilot, Ollie brings a range of valuable skills to our team.