The Arctic

Expeditions:The Arctic Expedition Team

The Arctic Expedition Team and Scientists

The Cousteau team has been on expeditions almost continuously for the past sixty years. Team members have come and gone and many have come back continuously for the next adventure. This list represents those team members who have been a part of the past, the present and may well be a part of future expeditions.

Explorer, environmentalist, educator, film producer---for more than four decades Jean-Michel Cousteau has communicated to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water planet. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel founded Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work and to honor his heritage. Jean-Michel serves as an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out to the public through a variety of media, producing over 75 films, receiving Emmy awards, the Peabody Award, the 7 d'Or, and the Cable Ace Award, and authoring hundreds of articles and several books. Jean-Michel travels the globe, meeting with leaders and policymakers at the grassroots level and at the highest echelons of government and business, educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to energize alliances for positive change.

Whether Céline is free diving, horse riding, hiking through the Andes or swimming with sharks in the South Pacific, the daughter of ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and granddaughter of legendary oceanaut Jacques-Yves Cousteau is an adventurer in her own right. With a master’s degree in international and intercultural management from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT., Céline served as regional coordinator for Africa and the Middle East for the Earth Council Alliance. She also led excursions as travel guide and regional director for Butterfield & Robinson, an exclusive adventure travel company based in Toronto. She first joined her father during the filming of The Gray Whale Obstacle Course and has been working on documentaries around the world ever since. She acted as associate producer, expedition diver and logistics coordinator for Return to the Amazon, during which she led a small team 4,900 metres up into the Andes and negotiated access to an indigenous conference never before filmed by a foreign crew. She lives in New York City.

Third-generation ocean explorer, Fabien shares his father’s and grandfather’s love of ocean adventure and protection. Only four years old when he first scuba dived, Fabien has been exploring the aquatic depths and educating others about the global ocean ever since. His latest marine passion is the understanding and protection of sharks, producing a special, Mind of a Demon, which aired on CBS in June 2006. With a team of experts, Fabien built a four-metre, 545-kilogram shark-shaped submarine to enable him to swim among sharks without influencing their behaviour. Fabien played a key role in Return to the Amazon, interviewing experts, assisting in production, diving with the crew and leading a team to document the world’s most dangerous tidal bore. A graduate of Boston University in environmental economics, Fabien lives in New York City.

Aron came to Ocean Futures Society from the rainy, verdant region to the north. An experienced surfer and sailor, Aron has spent much of his life on or in the ocean. As an instructor on traditional sailing vessels on waters through the Pacific Northwest, the Channel Islands, the Caribbean and the eastern Seaboard, Aron learned much about life on the sea and even discovered opportunities to swing a hammer below the surface. Aron’s most vivid ocean moment occurred in a midnight storm while sailing north of the Bahamas, when a jib tackline blew and required hands on the headrig to grapple the loose-whipping canvas. With seas pitching the bow in excess of 25 feet, Aron recalls being dunked up to the chest before rising again out of the water two to three stories high; “Those are the moments that make you feel alive...and thank God for safety harnesses!” 

Aron’s background includes an eclectic mix of green building immersion, marine sciences, anthropology and biology studies. When not in the field coordinating film expedition shoots or in the office suggesting green building products for new construction projects, you might find him playing on the other side of the water cycle, i.e. skiing in the Sierras or the Cascades.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the audio field, Rick is sought after for his creativity, critical ear and attention to detail. He has recorded sound on expeditions for National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel (TLC), the BBC and for many years was the guy hiding microphones in strange places for Candid Camera on CBS. Rick is also a professional bass player and singer whose band, the Cachagua Playboys, released their second CD, Surf Zydeco, in 2007. As a record producer, he has worked in the studio with T Bone Burnett, Richard Thompson, The Pentangle, Jennifer Warnes and Albert Lee.

Kallestad Davis, a Minnesota native holds a BA in Visual Journalism from Brooks Institute of Photography. Her commitment to support the X-Team has landed her multiple roles. She worked on three episodes of the series as: A.C., additional camera operator and location sound engineer. In addition to working on The Ocean Adventures series for PBS, she has worked as a camera operator for A&E, Discovery Times, TBN, NRB and various independent film and video projects. Currently she is staff editor/videographer for Joni and Friends International Disability Center, a ministry that collects and restores used wheelchairs and distributes them, free of charge, to people in developing countries worldwide. In 2002 her love for the ocean, sailing and diving compelled her to move aboard her sailboat full time in Ventura, CA.

Matt graduated from California State University Monterey Bay in 1999 with a degree in earth system sciences and policy. As an original expedition member for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s six-part Ocean Adventures PBS series, Matt’s duties have encompassed research, still photography, second unit camera operation, underwater lighting and marine operations. Currently he is staff cinematographer and in charge of diving operations for Ocean Futures Society.

With more than 15 years experience in the film industry, Mark is a director of photography and cameraman. With vast experience in both film and high-definition video, he has worked on feature films, television series, commercials and documentaries. Mark’s technical specialties include operating a steadicam, shooting aerials and filming underwater. For the past four years, Mark has been working with Jean-Michel Cousteau as well as National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel and the BBC, which has kept him filming everything from killer whales and sharks to jungles and volcanoes. Mark resides in Hawaii and, when not behind the camera, is either diving deep or flying high as a paraglider pilot.

Zim identifies strongly with his Native American heritage and says the spirit of adventure runs in his blood as a direct descendent of Chief Coboway of the Clatsop tribe in Oregon. As a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, a graduate of Santa Barbara City College’s Marine Diving Technologies Program and a diving professional with more than 15 years of experience, Zim’s focus is on marine operations. He is a trained Inspiration-rebreather diver, a certified nitrox diver and blender, and a certified hazmat (hazardous materials) instructor. Zim holds a medical certification from the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology and is a California emergency medical technician.

Henniger, an Alaska Native raised in Yakutat, Alaska, earned her B.S. in Zoology at Colorado State University. She began her career at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of International Activities, in a career development program working at various EPA offices and agencies. Her work focused on contaminants, such as toxics in wildlife at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and producing a compilation of contaminants in Alaskan subsistence foods for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Then she returned home to work at the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe as a wildlife biologist working with US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, NOAA National Marine Mammal Laboratory, and Alaska Native organizations, and nonprofits to protect fish and wildlife subsistence and ecosystems on which Yakutat Tlingits rely.

Eileen on the importance of studying belugas:
"The belugas of Yakutat are unique because they're the southernmost population in Alaska, and they're something that our tribe cherishes greatly. We'd like to see that this population is successful and lives on. And I've lived in Yakutat my whole life, went to college, came back and immediately started working on some of the Beluga research. The beluga whales excite me because they are very much a part of where I am from."

Audio engineer for Jacques and Jean-Michel Cousteau since 1983, Gary has more than 30 years of professional sound and music recording expertise from television and feature film work under his belt. During his stint with Captain Cousteau, Gary developed a technique for capturing underwater hydrophone recordings in true stereo. Cornell University still uses his orca recordings from this time as the definitive hydrophone stereo recordings of this genre. Gary has worked on feature films, such as Ghost and Jerry Maguire, as well as television series, including The X Files and The West Wing. He also produced the CD Wavesliders, featuring world-renowned surfers, which includes the song “Cool Water,” the theme song for the non-profit environmental organization Surfrider Foundation. A native of New Orleans, Gary lives with his wife, Katie, and two of his three daughters in Southern California.

Editor and cameraman Jim Knowlton has helped create films for Ocean Futures Society since 1999. In addition to working as Post Production Supervisor on the Ocean Adventures series, his credits include editor and associate producer on "Sea Ghosts", cameraman and associate producer on "The Gray Whale Obstacle Course", co-editor and associate producer on "America’s Underwater Treasures", and associate producer on "Sharks at Risk". Knowlton previously worked on shark documentaries for the Discovery Channel, including "Sharks of the Deep Blue" (underwater cameraman and editor), "Sharks in a Desert Sea" and "Sharks of the Atlantic" (underwater cameraman).

Lair completed is veterinary degree at the Université de Montréal. This was followed by seven years of specialized training in the field of Zoological Medicine and Wildlife Health. After these years of training he worked as a veterinarian for the University of British Columbia for three years. Since 2001 he is a professor at the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire of the Université de Montréal in Québec, Canada where he has been involved in different research projects on wildlife health and diseases. One of these projects involved the monitoring of the health of the St. Lawrence Beluga whales by conducting full post-mortem examination on beluga whale carcasses founded stranded on the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Stephane on the importance of studying belugas:
"If people understand, usually they will care and if they care it's going to have an effect on policy making and that is actually the bottom line. That is what is important."

Holly is a marine biologist with a degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and has been diving around the world with Jean-Michel Cousteau for over a decade. Holly is apart of the expedition team, serving as a key liaison between the expedition team and scientists and is responsible for confirming the factual accuracy of the content of Ocean Futures Society documentaries. Also a marine educator, Holly has educated thousands of children and adults about the wonders and fragility of the marine environment and the importance to protect them for future generations. Overlooking the Pacific, Holly and her 4 year old son, make their home in Summerland California.

Lucey holds a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont. He began his career working as a natural resource instructor for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department in 1987 and went on to work in salmon research and habitat restoration. Upon graduating he worked as a fisheries extensionist with the Peace Corps in Guatemala. Bill reached Alaska in 1995, working as a federal fish and wildlife biologist, banding birds, tagging salmon, collaring moose and surveying everything form mountain goats to sea lions. He is now working with the local community on a wide variety of sustainable resource issues from commercial fishing to cleaning up marine debris. Bill has been researching the Yakutat beluga whales since 2000 and is now working with acoustic recordings of beluga chirps, whistles and echolocation.

A resident of Honolulu, Jai has been working in Hawaii and abroad on movies, television shows, commercials and documentaries for more than 15 years. His first job, in 1992, involved chasing a single Hawaiian honeycreeper bird named the ‘Akiapola‘au around Mauna Kea volcano at 2,600 metres for three weeks, living out of a tent. When recounting this story, he says that experience pretty much ruined him for any sort of “normal” work.

Robert Michaud's relationship with the whales of the St. Lawrence all started when he was hired to work as a naturalist aboard the first boats that started taking tourists out to see the whales off Tadoussac in the early 1980s. What had started out as a summer job turned into a career. Surrounded by acolytes as passionate as himself, he decided to found the Groupe de recherche et d'èducation sur les mammiferes marins (GREMM) in 1985. His goal: study the whales to better understand and better protect them. He set out to use his newly acquired understanding to feed the public fascination for whales and to heighten awareness of the importance of protecting the marine environment.
In 1987 he co-founded the St. Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology (SLNIE) and is presently in charge of a long term study on the St. Lawrence beluga whale population. He completed a master's degree at Universitè Laval on the distribution of St. Lawrence belugas and has since undertaken a doctoral degree at Dalhousie University to study the social organization of the beluga. Robert also still takes time for those who first helped him make his dreams a reality: field work with the whales and the contact with the public. He continues, with the help of his team, to put together education and public awareness projects like the Whales online web site.

As Ocean Futures Society’s chief diver, Blair’s expert skills have enabled him to lead and supervise diving teams in 45 countries in a vast array of conditions, in environments as remote and unforgiving as the polar regions and the Amazon. He is responsible for training the expedition team in advanced diving techniques, and helps to design, test and maintain a wide variety of critical marine operations equipment. A graduate of Santa Barbara City College’s world-renowned Marine Diving Technologies Program, Blair has logged thousands of hours underwater, including time spent working on the Keiko Project in Iceland. He lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Aime.

A PhD in marine ecology from the University of Southern California, Murphy began working with Jacques and Jean-Michel Cousteau in 1968 and has been involved in projects and expeditions around the globe, including Papua New Guinea, the Fiji Islands, the Caribbean, Indonesia, the Mekong River, the Amazon, the Sea of Cortez, Australia and New Zealand. He has served as chief scientist, photographer, writer, educator and project director, and has created many educational programs for young people in developed and developing countries. His book Coral Reefs: Cities Under the Sea offers a unique and fascinating look at how coral reefs function and what lessons they can teach us in making our own communities more sustainable.

Greg received his Ph.D. on population genetics and animal behavior at University College Dublin, Ireland. He currently heads the Polar Research Program at HBOI-FAU where his research focuses on the use of molecular genetic techniques and satellite-linked telemetry in the study of the behavior,evolution and ecology of polar and sub-polar marine mammals. His team is currently conducting research on beluga whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and several ice seal species. Moving between the lab and remote field camps, he is particularly interested in the interactions between these apex predators and their environment, and the application of his group's research findings to the conservation and management of these species. His research interests extend beyond the marine realm to the evolution of social behavior and mating systems in mammals, and the role of individual fitness in population viability and adaptation. He is also interested in the co-management approach to the management of marine resources and is working on a number of projects relatedt o climate change. With his recent move to Florida, Greg hopes to expand his research interests and into important academic and applied questions in the tropics and subtropics.

Greg on the importance of studying belugas:
"Any changes that are going to happen in terms of climate they are going to happen up here first. And I think belugas will be one of the easier ways for us to measure the effects of change in this ecosystem. We are connected so you know, what happens to belugas today, happens to us tomorrow."

Santee has worked side by side with both Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jacques Cousteau for over three decades. Assuming diverse duties as expedition leader and production manager, he coordinates everything from diving expeditions to film logistics. An underwater photographer for books and magazines, he has also worked on over 26 television documentaries. In addition to acting as the team's medical officer, Santee is also responsible for training the Ocean Futures team on advanced technical dive procedures and working with state-of-the-art closed circuit rebreathers. Santee makes his home in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife Hilary and son Edward.

Pamela Stacey is an Emmy-nominated writer for a variety of film projects, including work as producer and writer of a one-hour ABC network special on dolphins, writer and producer of films for Ocean Futures Society/PBS productions, Cousteau Society/Turner Broadcasting, and IMAX feature films. Pam served as chief editor for the Cousteau Society’s "Dolphin Log" magazine for children and is an author/editor of books about water, coral reefs and ocean protection. Ms. Stacey has written and co-written several episodes of the Ocean Adventures series including "The Gray Whale Obstacle Course", "Sharks at Risk", "America’s Underwater Treasures", and "Return to the Amazon". She resides in Southern California.

Robert Suydam, Ph.D., NORTH SLOPE BOROUGH. Robert received his Ph.D. in fisheries at the University of Washington and a M.S. in wildlife from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We has lived and worked in Barrow, Alaska, since 1990. As a wildlife biologist in Alaska he has studied beluga and bowhead whales, spotted seals, all four eider species (i.e., sea ducks), snow geese, and a variety of other species that are important for subsistence hunters. His research interests include: population monitoring, satellite tracking, breeding biology, ecology, and understanding impacts from a rapidly changing environment. Managing marine resources is also a keen interest of Robert's, especially when strengthening and complementing western science with traditional ecological knowledge.

"My research wouldn't be possible if the hunters weren't supportive. We have developed a really good working relationship where the hunters rely on us for information about the biology of the animals, about management issues that might be going on at the international whaling commission or in Washington D.C. or some place outside of Point Lay; and we depend on the hunters. They give us access to their animals and allow us to collect valuable biological information from the harvested animals. We collect bits of samples of their food, and when I think about having somebody come into my kitchen and sample something out of my refrigerator; I could be concerned about that or I could see how people might be concerned about that, so for the folks here in Point Lay to allow us to sample their animals is really valuable for science and I think really valuable for the management of belugas. The hunter’s ecological knowledge of the Arctic environment and their willingness to give us access to their harvested animals is key to a successful long-term study of the belugas in the far north.”

Creative Director and Editor for the Ocean Adventures series, Thompson is also a writer, producer, and director of feature films and television programs. His editing credits for Ocean Adventures include "Return to the Amazon", "Voyage to Kure" and "Sharks at Risk", as well as co-editing "The Gray Whale Obstacle Course" and "America's Underwater Treasures". His other projects have included the features "Warrior Angels", with Golden Globe winner Rutger Hauer (2002, director and screenplay), and "Stonebrook", with teen choice nominee Seth Green (1998, director and producer).

Trutmann graduated in 2004 from Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelors degree in Motion Picture. Gianny has traveled to all seven continents producing and filming show for Discovery, Animal Planet and private project. Currently Gianny is the main teacher in Los Angeles for the Red Booth camp.

As chief expedition photographer for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Adventures PBS series, Carrie was the first woman to dive Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary on a closed-circuit rebreather and to work with Jean-Michel as both a topside and underwater camera operator. She is also the only expedition member to travel the entire length of the Amazon from the Andes to the Atlantic for Return to the Amazon. Her degrees in French, political science and fine arts from Wittenberg University in Ohio and advanced studies at the Université Rennes 2 in France led to studies at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. Carrie was the photographer and photo editor for Jean-Michel’s award-winning, limited-edition book America’s Underwater Treasures, and her images have been published in DIVER, Worth, Sublime, Santa Barbara Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, Outdoor Enthusiast, Reader’s Digest, SAVEUR and Discover, as well as various international magazines.