Expedition Team

No more experienced polar team exists in travel


Our experienced expedition leader and a team of eight naturalists are your conduit to an extraordinary Arctic experience. And our exclusive National Geographic photographer and Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructor on board, ours exclusively, are there to help you capture the incredible wildlife photo ops. The undersea specialist will reveal the deep, while our wellness specialist helps you benefit from the tonic of wildness. And our video chronicler will record the entire voyage creating a permanent record for you. Count on the Global Perspectives guest speaker to share the voyage and relevant insights with you.


Meet the expedition team for this departure

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  • Ailsa Mainman

    Historian
    English by birth, Ailsa grew up in Canada before returning to England to study archaeology. Most of her career has been spent researching and publishing aspects of the world-famous Viking discoveries made in York, although she has worked on excavations in many different countries and time periods.

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  • Carlos Navarro

    Naturalist
    Carlos J. Navarro is a biochemist specializing in marine biology, a M. Sc. in Environmental Management and a freelance wildlife photographer/author. Carlos has spent most of the last 30 years living along the shores of the Sea of Cortez and participating in numerous scientific, conservation and environmental education projects on the vaquita, marine invertebrates, sea birds, great white sharks, baleen whales, jaguars and crocodiles. Carlos’ six years of jaguar research provided the basis of ONCA MAYA, a non-profit organization dedicated to jaguar conservation based in Cancun, of which he is a founding member and still serves as a scientific advisor. He loves being underwater, either free-diving or using SCUBA gear and have had the chance to explore the underwater realms of Alaska, Mexico, Svalbard, the trans-Atlantic ridge islands, the Caribbean and both coasts of South America from Panama to Chile and Brazil to Argentina. 

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  • Christine West

    Undersea Specialist
    Christine was fortunate to grow up in the Pacific Northwest on the shores of the Puget Sound. After graduating from the University of Washington, she decided to pursue her love of the ocean and exploration. Her passion for marine biology has inspired her through over 4,000 scuba dives around the globe in temperate and cold-water conditions, as well as snorkeling and freediving in extraordinary habitats such as in river beds with spawning salmon, in recently de-glaciated bays and lagoons filled with ice and glacial silt and in deep blue water with large marine animals including humpback whales, hammerhead sharks and pilot whales.

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  • Dana Johnston

    Naturalist
    Dana Johnston is a geology specialist with particular expertise in plate tectonics, volcanism, metamorphism, and mineral deposits. He received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota and was then a professor, department head and dean of the natural sciences division during his 33-year career in the Center for Volcanology at the University of Oregon. Along the way he served as both associate editor and editor of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. He is an author or co-author of 100 scientific publications, many arising from research in the laboratory he ran in which he and his graduate students partially melted rocks at pressures up to nearly 500,000 psi, aiming to elucidate magmatic processes in geologic environments including mid-oceanic spreading ridges, hot spot volcanoes, subduction zones and in thickened continental crust.

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  • Dennis Cornejo

    Naturalist
    Dennis began scuba diving during the mid-1970s as part of a research project. At the time he was a research associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, studying the population of winter hibernating sea turtles.  What began as a scientific study soon became a conservation project that expanded to three species of sea turtles along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.  This project received major funding from the World Wildlife Fund and was eventually taken over directly by that agency with Kim Clifton and Dennis Cornejo as co-principal investigators.

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  • Eric Kruszewski

    Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor
    An editorial photographer and videographer based in Washington, D.C., Eric Kruszewski's multimedia work focuses on reportage and travel. His work is represented by National Geographic Creative, and he is a regular contributor to National Geographic's Image Collection.

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  • James Coyer

    Naturalist/Expedition Diver
    It was Malle and Cousteau’s The Silent World, viewed in a dusty meeting hall on a wintry day in central Wisconsin that forged Jim’s dream and commitment to become a marine biologist. Never mind that he was only 8 at the time and that it would be another 13 years before he finally felt the spray of an ocean on his face.

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  • Karen Velas

    Naturalist
    Karen Velas cares deeply about protecting the environment and its wildlife.  Over the last 15 years, she has been involved with numerous conservation projects, including working as the Lead Project Coordinator on the California Condor Project with The National Audubon Society, managing projects in the flooded rice fields of California’s Central Valley with The Nature Conservancy and surveying the distant cliffs of Iceland to aid in puffin recovery with the South Iceland Research Centre.

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  • Phil Schermeister

    National Geographic Photographer
    During the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment in more than 40 National Parks around the United States and has published six single-photographer books with National Geographic, including Range of Light, Our National Parks and America's Western Edge. Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States. Phil is drawn to high-latitudes, and has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Schermeister seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.

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  • Stefan Thorgeirsson

    Cultural Specialist
    An avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for languages and culture – Stefan is a Viking with a twist. Born in Reykjavik, to a family from the Westfjords of Iceland, Stefan’s upbringing has allowed him to experience the best of both worlds. During most of the wintertime, he lived in Reykjavik and got to know the city. When the summertime came, however, he would go hiking, camping, climbing and fishing in the beautiful nature of Iceland.

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